Whether you’re planting an entire garden, a few containers, or even just a couple small pots in a sunny window, you can make a difference in your health and cuisine this summer. Herbs are easy to grow and have potent nutrients. Here are 4 herbs to grow this summer and 1 delicious energizing green basil smoothie recipe.
Why take the time to grow your own herbs?
First, it is much more cost-effective to grow than buy fresh herbs. Second, herbs contain amazing antioxidants and phytochemicals that impact your health – and you can add them every day. Third, food and drink recipes are taken to the next level of flavor with fresh herbs.
This summer, get your hands dirty, enjoy all the health benefits of gardening, and delight your taste buds and whole-body health with these herbs.
Energizing Green Basil Keto Smoothie
- 8 ounces brewed green tea OR 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (canned, full fat)
- 1/2-1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 lemon, zested & juiced
- 1/4 cup blueberries (or any kind berries)
- Erythritol or stevia, to taste
- Water and Ice as needed for desired consistency (water needed
- Optional: 1 scoop MCT Oil Powder
- Optional: 1 scoop hydrolyzed collagen
- Optional: 1 scoop green fermented supremefood
Place all ingredients except erythritol/stevia, water, and ice in a blender. Process until smooth. Add sweetener to taste. Add ice and process until at desired consistency. Enjoy the energy!
Nutrition Info without optional supplemental powders for an Energizing Snack: 115 calories, 10 gm fat, 4 gm net carbs (6 grams carbs, 2 gm fiber), 2 gm protein (78% calories from fat)
Nutrition Info WITH optional supplemental powders for an Energizing Meal: 299 calories, 23 gm fat, 4 gm net carbs (11 grams carbs, 7 gm fiber), 19 gm protein (69% calories from fat)
Energizing Green Smoothie Nutrients
How is this smoothie energizing?
It’s no secret that caffeine, even small amounts, can boost energy. It boosts your brain’s function, your physical strength and reaction time, and your perception of fatigue.
In this smoothie, the caffeine comes from green tea. Green tea is packed with amazing nutrients and antioxidants. They can:
- Inhibit the growth of cancer cells in lab studies. High consumption of the drink has been associated with a 90% reduced risk of breast cancer in women.
- Repair and protecting cells, especially in the brain. In fact, in mice induced with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, it helped to protect brain cells from dying, as well as ‘rescuing’ already damaged neurons in the brain, a phenomenon called neurorescue or neurorestoration.
- Provide antibacterial properties that promote oral health.
- Exhibit protective effects on eye cels for up to 20 hours after consumption. This has led many experts to believe it may have a role in reducing diseases of the eye and glaucoma.
- Help our bodies oxidize and burn fat. Multiple studies have shown an increase in metabolic rates, weight loss, decreased waistline and fat loss with consistent green tea ingestion.
Read all about the amazing benefits of green tea here.
4 Herbs to Grow This Summer
Beyond green tea, this smoothie gains great nutrition and flavor from basil. It’s one of our four herbs to grow this summer. While many other herbs are also great for health, try these to start:
1. Basil for Great Health
First, basil is a superstar of nutrition among herbs. It:
- Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress: Basil’s flavonoids, especially orientin and vicenin, are phytonutrients that protect cell structures from radiation and oxygen-based damage (free radicals/oxidative stress). And eugenol, one of basil’s volatile oils, works to block the inflammatory activity of an enzyme (cyclooxygenase) in the body.
- Improves blood flow: Basil’s vitamin A and magnesium can improve blood flow. Leafy greens like basil keep your artery walls strong and clear of plagues. Then, the magnesium in basil prompts muscles and blood vessels to relax, which improves blood flow out of the heart and throughout the body. All of your organs and tissues, including skin need good blood flow to function their best.
2. Oregano, a Potent Antibacterial Agent and Medicinal
Oregano is actually part of the mint family. It can also impact health in many ways. It:
- Has antibacterial properties. Its phytochemicals, thymol, and carvacrol fight infections and bacteria. Meanwhile, its antioxidants help reduce and prevent cell damage.
- Is a potent medicinal when used as an essential oil. It is considered a “hot oil,” and must be diluted correctly for topical use. When used, it’s known to fight sore throats, poor digestion, nasal congestion and colds, herpes cold sores, and potentially joint pain. Cilantro
3. Cilantro for Brain and Blood Sugar Health
Known as a wonderful flavor agent when added to Mexican, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Indian cuisines, cilantro is versatile and great for your body. Interestingly, the seeds of cilantro are known as coriander, and the leaves are called cilantro.
How can it affect your health? Cilantro is one of four herbs to grow this summer because it can:
- Reduce high blood sugars and the risk of type 2 diabetes: Amazingly, cilantro has been shown to increase an enzyme in the body that removes sugar from the blood. It’s so potent that those taking blood sugar medication, or those who are at risk of low blood sugars, need to use some caution when eating it (1, 2).
- Promote brain health: Brain ailments associated with inflammation may also benefit from cilantro intake. One animal study found that coriander extract exhibited protection against damage to nerve cells following seizures. Another concluded that it may improve memory in those suffering from degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s (3, 4).
4. Peppermint in Folk Medicine and Aromatherapy
For centuries, peppermint has been used in folk medicine and aromatherapy. It has been shown to:
- Improve pain management associated with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS: It works by relaxing the smooth muscles in the colon, which relieves pain. It may also reduce bloating and other digestive symptoms (5, 6, 7).
- When used in aromatherapy, peppermint may help fight nausea.
- Lastly, it’s known to fight oral bacteria and bad breath.
What about the Optional Add-ons?
As you know, MCT oil powder, hydrolyzed collagen, and fermented greens contain very important nutrients for health in the Keto Zone. Their healthy fats, proteins, and vegetables promote health and support immune function.
However, we also know it’s a very difficult time for many readers financially. We are dedicated to offering great, nourishing recipes and great health information whether or not you can buy these ingredients at this time.
If you have them or can get them, yes, add them in for full benefits.
And if not, keep going strong! We are here for you. You can use many healthy foods and even free immune-boosting habits to stay healthy.
Ready for a flavorful, savory, energizing green smoothie? We know you are! Try our recipe, and consider growing your own herbs this summer.
And let us know, did you enjoy the smoothie? What are your favorite herbs to grow this summer?