Athletic Herbs

“Nature itself is the best physician” -Hippocrates

 

Most of us are fond of adding herbs and spices to our meals. Whether it’s to season chicken and salmon, or spice up our veggies and pastas, adding these extras is always a great way keep things interesting. They don’t have to be just about flavor, though. Adding herbs and spices to various items during the day has become a popular new trend. Sprinkle them on your coffee, your oatmeal, or even your salads to add an extra boost to your daily routine. Since ancient times, herbs have been used for multitudes of healing properties. They are, in fact, nature’s medicine.

Herbs to benefit the athlete:

Turmeric: This versatile spice acts as an anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in capsule form or sprinkled on a post-workout omelet to aid the muscles you strained that day. It also helps aid in digestion, and is a natural antibiotic. All-around, it’s a great way to maintain healthy muscles and strengthen the immune system. Turmeric is getting so popular that people are even using it to make special Turmeric lattes, which may be the perfect drink for a post-workout coffee date.

Chamomile: A dainty little herb, chamomile has a fragrant bloom that can be found as an ingredient in many teas. It’s known for its calming benefits. A cup of chamomile the night before a big competition is a great way to unwind and improve sleep. It also has a lovely floral flavor, making fresh chamomile blooms a beautiful garnish for a salad.

Ginger: In both its ground and fresh form, ginger is a great addition to any meal, so don’t neglect those strips of ginger on your sushi plate! Ginger is has anti-inflammatory benefits much like turmeric, and as ultra-runners know, also helps reduce nausea. Going out? Bring some ginger pieces to prevent the nausea from sea/car sickness. Migraine sufferers also benefit from the anti-nausea properties of this fabulous little root.

Green Tea: Oh the many benefits of green tea! Let us proclaim it from the highest rooftop! It’s simply one of the greats. This popular tea is full of antioxidants, helps in maintaining a healthy weight, and is good for your skin. Health and beauty benefits – it’s a double win. Green tea is even considered by some to be the healthiest thing you can drink. If you’re not a tea drinker, matcha green tea powder is a great way to obtain the benefits of green tea, making it easy to add to smoothies or yogurt (pro tip: you actually get more of the tea leaf benefits from matcha than tea because with tea, you’re not consuming the leaves, whereas matcha is made up of complete ground leaves).

Books on cooking with herbs are readily available, as well as many online sources. So, find the herbs that will work for you, learn about them, and start adding them to your meals! You’ll be happy you did.