When it comes to making sure my health is in tip-top shape, I try to take the natural route as often as possible. Drinking tea and simply getting enough sleep are my tried and true ways of staying healthy, but I also love cooking with fresh herbs. They add flavor and a health boost to my meals — and new research reveals that thyme and oregano (my favorite herbs!) actually have anti-cancer properties.
A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences closely looked at the compounds within these herbs to better understand their nutritional value. Researchers and scientists studied each herb’s enzymes, DNA, and terpenes (compounds that contribute to the way plants smell). They ultimately found that both herbs contain natural substances called thymol and carvacrol.
Thymol is mainly extracted from thyme. It’s able to inhibit the activity and growth of cancer cells because it acts as an antioxidant to rid illness-causing free radicals from the body. Whereas, oregano contains higher levels of carvacrol than thyme. This substance has been shown to reduce inflammation and essentially lower the effect that tumors have on cancer cells.
Obviously, these amazing anti-cancer effects don’t happen overnight. But, over time the health perks of these tasty add-ins will become more apparent as they can also boost your immune health and help you melt belly fat. Together these two herbs (fresh or dried) should become your new favorite herbs to use for whipping everyday dishes with a nutritional kick!
Ways to Add More Oregano and Thyme to Your Diet
While they contain the same anti-cancer properties, you’ll notice that they’re vastly different in flavor. Oregano’s bold, earthy taste makes it perfect for sprinkling over pizza, adding to tomato sauce, or a homemade salad vinaigrette. Thyme, on the other hand, has a slight minty flavor that works well if you’re roasting a chicken, cooking a hearty soup, or a comforting Mac and cheese.
However, these two herbs complement each other in recipes for marinades and roasted veggies. These are just some of the mouthwatering ways to incorporate herbs with anti-cancer properties into your diet daily!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.