7 Health Benefits of Oregano
One of the great herbs for cooking, fresh or dried, is oregano. This perennial plant, also known as Winter Sweet, Winter Marjoram, Pot Marjoram, and Mountain Mint, originated in Northern Europe, but has since found its way into Italian and Hispanic cooking.
Oregano is a flavorful herb packed with a wide range of health benefits. Here’s a look at all oregano has to offer.
Health Benefits of Oregano
Vitamins – Vitamins play a key role in human health and wellness. In addition to vitamins A and C, oregano is also rich in vitamin K. Overlooked by many nutritionists, vitamin K is very important to our cardiovascular system. It helps keep calcium deposits from forming in our arteries, and is a necessary component to helping clot the blood.
Osteoporosis, or low bone density, is at near-epidemic levels in the United States. Vitamin K promotes strong and healthy bones. Many healthy foods, including oregano, are great sources of vitamin k, so don’t be afraid to use this versatile and savory herb in lots of different meals you prepare for your family.
Antibacterial – Did you know that oregano has powerful antibacterial properties? Oregano is rich in two particular antibacterial oils, namely thymol and carvacrol. These two oils are strong bacteria fighters that are effective at treating Giardia.
Giardia is an intestinal bacteria that causes gas, bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, headaches, and loss of appetite. Many users who have tried oregano as an alternative to the prescription drug to treat Giardia, report that oregano is more effective at relieving the symptoms and getting rid of Giardia.
Antioxidants – Oregano, researchers have discovered, is also a potent antioxidant. So, what exactly is an antioxidant? Oxidants cause damage at the cellular level through substances known as free radicals. These free radicals can lead to heart problems as well as diabetes.
Oregano, through its thymol oil and an acid called rosmarinic, provides a powerful defense against free radicals. In fact, it’s been reported that oregano is even more effective at battling free radicals than blueberries, oranges, potatoes, and apples, all very well-known antioxidants.
Minerals – Oregano is an excellent source of valuable minerals that our bodies can put to good use immediately. Oregano is particularly high in iron and manganese. Iron is important to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. It helps with proper clotting, as well as electron and oxygen transport throughout the bloodstream. It also activates many enzymes throughout our bodies. Together with the manganese, proteins and carbohydrates are effectively metabolized, and Vitamin B1 is more effectively put to use. Manganese is also a necessary mineral for healthy joints and their connective tissues.
Fiber – Dietary fiber, sometimes known as roughage, plays an important role in helping our bodies effectively evacuate waste. Fresh oregano can provide one-hundred percent of your daily recommendation for dietary fiber.
Fresh is Best – There’s no question that fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs provide the best nutrition for our bodies. Oregano is no different. Most people overcook their vegetables to the point of near depletion of all nutritional value. Green vegetables and herbs are particularly at risk of delivering very little nutrition to our bodies by being overcooked.
Some great uses for fresh oregano include using it on sandwiches instead of lettuce, or combing it with lettuce or spinach. Also, it’s great in salads and pasta sauces, and can be used fresh in either. You can choose to leave it intact, or can rough-chop of the leaves to help “burst” some of the flavor. However you choose to use oregano, fresh is always best for the most vitamins and minerals possible.
Omega-3 – If you’re a careful shopper and prefer fresh and organic ingredients, then you’ve probably seen more labels and information placards advertising certain products as being a great source of Omega-3.
What exactly is Omega-3? Typically found in marine and plant oils, Omega-3 is a fatty acid. Fatty acids are vital for proper body metabolism. In fact, Omega-3 is critically important because our bodies cannot synthesize this particular fatty acid. This means that unless we’re actually ingesting it as a supplement, say by eating oregano, then we’re not getting any of this important health component.
Oregano is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acid and should be a regular ingredient in your diet.
For some additional nutrition and a finished look to this dish, garnish with fresh oregano leaves. Here’s to your good health. Bon appétit!