The One Herb This Naturopathic Doctor Says Turns Your Meals Into "Super Recipes"

mbg Editorial Assistant By Jamie Schneider
mbg Editorial Assistant
Jamie Schneider is the Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen with a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan. She's previously written for Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
rosemary turns your meals into super recipes

Herbs and spices do way more than give your meals a touch more pizzazz. They can certainly enhance the flavor, yes, but they also have their fair share of health benefits—a pinch of spice here and there can heighten not just the aroma but the nutritional value as well. And according to naturopathic doctor and functional medicine expert Kara Fitzgerald, N.D., one particular garnish reigns supreme: "You can make 'super recipes' by adding rosemary to everything," she shares on the mindbodygreen podcast

Why rosemary?

Rosemary has a host of health benefits—namely, it's been shown to promote a healthy gut microbiome, manage blood sugar, and stave off free radicals. It's also been associated with enhanced memory performance and lower anxiety levels.* Needless to say, it's a powerful herb that deserves way more credit than a delicious garnish for potatoes. But for Fitzgerald, there's another reason rosemary is the star of her spice rack: It's a methylation adaptogen

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Methylation is a biochemical process that naturally happens in our bodies (read up on the methylation cycle here), and the end goal is to create the amino acid homocysteine. However, too much homocysteine in the body is a risk factor for heart disease and blood clots—that's why at the end of the methylation cycle, the amino acids that create homocysteine are recycled, and the entire process starts anew. When this methylation cycle is imbalanced, however, you can accumulate an excess of homocysteine and face the aforementioned health risks. 

So now, back to rosemary: Fitzgerald notes that the herb is incredible for balancing the methylation cycle. Specifically, it's the compound in rosemary called rosmarinic acid that makes it so suberb. "Rosmarinic acid is a brilliant [methylation adaptogen]," she notes. It makes sense the compound would have such an effect at the cellular level, as multiple studies have highlighted rosmarinic acid's antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. And according to Fitzgerald, all it takes is garnishing your recipes or sipping some straight rosemary tea to reap the benefits. 

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The takeaway.

You may already regard rosemary as a powerful herb, but add a balanced methylation cycle to its impressive résumé. As Fitzgerald notes, a sprinkle of rosemary can transform your meals into super-nutritious recipes. Best part? It gives said meals a tasty, comforting flavor, to boot.

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