Firstly, this blog isn’t meant to be a scare tactic or guilt people into buying organic food. I am passionate about health & wellness and being the best version of yourself as you can be, for as long as you can. I’m not too concerned about what age I live to, rather than, how good I feel as I get older.
As I have read and learnt about various health topics I have gradually changed my lifestyle, diet, the way I shop, the way I cook and the movement I engage in. Sharing this information with others is a way for me to hopefully help others who share this passion and journey of living a healthy life, making us feel happier and healthier! I aim for these articles to be short and sweet. Easy to read bite-sized bits of info that spark your interest and maybe inspire you to find out more from the experts.
So this week's topic is all about herbs and spices. When we think about eating organic, we normally focus on choosing organic fruits, vegetables and meat products, however, there are a number of reasons why choosing organic herbs and spices is just as important.
Most herbs and spices are great for providing antioxidants to our bodies, reducing inflammation and making our food taste flavoursome and delish! However, they are also very prone to spoiling and this can have a negative impact on our health. Today, I want to chat about the benefits for choosing organic herbs and spices to stock your pantry as well as highlight the risks associated with eating conventional herbs and spices and how to store them to prevent them from spoiling.
1. Growing: herbs and spices are derived from plants and are exposed to pests and bacteria and contaminants when they’re grown. Conventional growers therefore use pesticides in their farming practices. This becomes the same issue as with other conventionally grown food and crops and purchasing organic herbs and spices is the only way to be sure to avoid unnecessary pesticides, chemicals and toxins.
2. Processing: during the processing of conventional herbs and spices manufacturers use toxic chemicals as part of sterilsation to eliminate contaminants. These particular chemicals have been associated with central nervous system effects and cancer. Not nice! Herbs and spices also undergo a process which uses radiation to eliminate potential contaminants. This can cause carcinogenic by-products. Irradiation may also destroy some of the antioxidant and health benefit of herbs and spices. Organic companies use processes such as steaming, freezing and sun-drying to naturally eliminate bacteria.
3. Avoid Preservatives: some herbs and spices, especially mixed blends, can contain preservatives, fillers and preservatives. Purchasing organic reassures you are not getting exposed to any of these nasties.
4. Mold Toxins: herbs and spices are prone to developing mold toxins, occurring either during processing or storage. Mold toxins are mostly invisible in our food but can cause a range of health problems such as fatigue, brain fog, emotional instability and chronic sinus infections. As we know, herbs and spices naturally have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, meaning the species of mold that grow on them are usually the most nasty and aggressive at forming toxins.
5. Storage: even if you buy the best, high quality, organic herbs and spices, they can still spoil once you get them home. Follow these tips to keep them fresh and to maintain their health improving properties. Unopened herbs and spices will last up to 2-3 years, however, once opened they will last 6-9 months. It is worth going through your collection and getting rid of those herbs and jars at the back of the shelf and starting fresh!
- Obviously you want your herbs and spices to be close to your cooking area for convenience, however, you want to keep them away as far as possible from heat, light and steam. Often the most common place to keep them is above the range-hood, however, think of all the rising steam they are exposed to every time you cook on the stove. Steam creates moisture and an environment which mold toxins thrive in. Try keeping them in a draw or cupboard below your cooking area.
- Close the lid tightly as soon as you are finished
- Use a dry spoon to avoid moisture getting into your herbs and spices
- Don’t shake your herbs over a steaming pot- use a spoon or add them at the beginning of cooking.
- If you have bought a larger quantity of herbs or spices and do not think you will use it within the next 6 months, try freezing a portion and refill as needed.
If you have looked through your herb and spice collection and feel it is time for an update, click here to shop our range of organic herbs and spices.