Whether we’re eating them, bathing in them, strolling through them, or just breathing the oxygen they create, plants make our lives better. And aside from their deliciousness, our culinary herbs and spices can help to significantly increase our nutrient absorption by simply improving our digestion.
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What is Nutrient Absorption?
Nutrient absorption is our ability to absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat. While it might sound simple (ie. eat nutritious food, then magically absorb nutrients), there’re many factors that play into nutrient absorption.
First and foremost, we have to be able to digest our food properly.
And digestion, the process of breaking down the food we eat into nutrients that our body can use, is quite an ordeal. There are many factors, including organs, hormones, enzymes, bacteria, and more that all have to be present and do their jobs efficiently in order for us to properly digest our food.
Factors That Prevent Nutrient Absorption
Unfortunately, there are many things that negatively affect our digestion, preventing us from absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat.
Some of these factors include:
- excessive alcohol consumption
- excessive consumption of foods or drinks high in tannins (like coffee and tea)
- gastrointestinal issues (like IBS, Chron’s disease, and celiac disease)
- stress and anxiety
- prolonged use of antibiotics
How Herbs & Spices Can Help
In the face of all the challenges of living in today’s world, digestion can be a tricky business. Luckily, we have the plants, the many amazing and delicious herbs and spices to help us out.
One of the most amazing medicinal qualities of our culinary herbs and spices is their carminative properties. Carminative herbs help to stimulate our digestion to work properly.
It’s an incredibly fortunate thing that one of the easiest ways to incorporate more herbs and spices into our every day is by adding them to the foods and drinks we’re already consuming.
It’s an essential part of our health!
I’m talking about healthy digestion & I’m low-key obsessed. Digestive discomfort & disease have gone rampant! Luckily, we have the herbs for support. Learn more about how bitter herbs can help:
The Beginner’s Guide to Herbal Digestive Bitters
For more plant magic & herbal wellness in your life, be sure to follow along on ➡️ Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, & snag my herbal 📚 eBooks Nourishing Herbal Gifts & Holiday Pies from the (Un)Bakery. 🌿 And please don’t forget to tag me in your snaps 📸 @_botanyculture_. I love to see all the plant magic you make happen!
5 Easy Ways to Eat More Herbs & Spices for Better Health
Here are 5 easy ways to consume more herbs and spices every day that will ultimately help increase your nutrient absorption:
#1. Add Nutritive Herbs & Spices to Basic Pantry Items You’re Already Using
At least once a day, most of us are sprinkling salt onto our food. We’re using oils to cook with and make our salad dressing. And we’re drizzling honey into our tea or over our oatmeal and toast. Many of these basic pantry items, like honey, salt, and oil, are easily enhanced with nutritive herbs and spices. Many herbal salts, herbal honey, and more can be made in as little as 5 minutes using items you likely already have in your kitchen.
>> For more ideas & recipes, check out my ebook Nourishing Herbal Gifts where you’ll learn how to make herbal salts, sugars, honeys, oils, vinegars, & more.
#2. Infuse Your Hydration Routine
Drink more herbal teas and infused waters. Tea drinking is such a beautiful ritual in and of itself. A cup of tea is a great tool to invite a quiet moment into your day.
It can be a break from the to-do list and a space to regain ground to move forward. It’s also a great way to get more beneficial herbs and spices into your day. If you’re already a tea drinker, consider adding in some herbal teas to your routine. It’s so easy to create your own herbal tea blends that you can customize to your taste and health needs.
Or consider herbal waters! Slip a sprig of mint, lavender, lemon balm, fresh rose or calendula petals, or any number of other fresh herbs and edible flowers into your water bottle.
As the water infuses, with each sip you’ll be drinking in more vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds. Keep the plants in your bottle throughout the day as you refill it. Compost them at the end of the day and start fresh the next day.
#3. Make Medicinal Veggie Broths a Kitchen Regular
Medicinal veggies broths are one of my favorite all-purpose kitchen items. Not only are they incredibly economical to make, but there are also so many ways to use them. For example, consider using a nutritive veggie broth made with lots of herbs and spices in place of water when cooking grains or legumes.
This simple switch is an easy way to get the carminative benefits that will help you digest your food properly so that your body can absorb as many nutrients as possible.
#4. Challenge Yourself to Add at Least One Fresh Herb or Spice to Every Meal
This is an easy one. We’re all familiar with the responsibility to add something green to our plate at every meal, and this is no different. Just look at your plate and ask yourself how you might be able to add a fresh herb or spice to it. The ways are endless.
Here are some tricks to help:
- Try to keep fresh herbs on hand at all times. You can cook with them or add them to your plate as a garnish. (Just make sure you eat that garnish!)
- Add more fresh herbs to your salads. Salads can be so much more than lettuce! Add fresh basil, parsley, oregano, cilantro, chives, or dill to your salads.
- Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs on buttered toast with a crack of sea salt and black pepper. And if you’re feelin’ extra, go for the avocado too!
#5. Try Something New!
Even as someone who typically cooks most of my meals at home, I tend to get in an herb and spice rut quite often. Oftentimes, I find myself reaching for the same herbs and spices over and over, because let’s face it, I’m busy. We’re all busy! Aren’t we?!
But the fact is that our bodies and overall health are so much more resilient when we provide them with a wide variety of foods (and nutrients).
Nature works best in the community and the same goes for inside our bodies. Each food we eat has its own unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial phytochemicals that work together in synergistic ways to increase nutrient absorption and support overall health.
Try switching up your herb and spice routine. The more variety, the better.
Visiting ethnic groceries is always a fun way to find new herbs and spices. Or instead of a completely new herb or spice, try using an herb or spice that’s already in your repertoire in a new way. Challenge yourself to try something new as often as it works for your life.
The Bottom Line: It’s All About Digestion!
When it all boils down, herbs and spices simply help us to better absorb nutrients from the food we eat because they help to improve our overall digestive health.
I hope you find these 5 tips helpful. While the benefits of inviting plants into our lives are many, regularly consuming nutritive herbs and spices is a profound way to benefit our total health and well-being.
Plus, herbs and spices make everything more delicious. It’s a win-win.
For other ways to support your digestive health, try these recipes:
Dandelion, Mugwort, & Ginger Cordial
Hibiscus Fire Cider with Habanero & Rosehips
Lavender, Hibiscus, & Chamomile Bitters
Cacao & Coffee Bitters
Carmelite Water (Lemon Balm Infused Wine)
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If you enjoyed this content, please help spread the magic & medicine of the plants by sharing this post with your friends! And don’t forget to tag me in your snaps @_botanyculture_ and hashtag it #botanyculture.
DISCLAIMER: The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking any prescription medications.