Welcome to Beauty Is Wellness, a column about the link between nutrition, lifestyle and beauty based on my health coaching practice of the same name. I’m thrilled to share information about my favorite beauty foods, original recipes for beautiful skin, hair and nails and nutritional tips for beautifying from the inside out in the months to come. If you have specific questions about the beauty and nutrition connection that you’d like to have answered in this column, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re like me, the sight of budding leaves and blooming flowers gets you excited to plant something of your own. It’s almost summer, and there’s no better moment to put some plants in the dirt and watch them grow. While you’re at it, why not make them fresh herbs that you can use to boost the beauty in your diet for the next several months? Whether you have an expansive lawn or a small, sunny windowsill, you can—and should—try your hand at a beautifying herb garden this year. I’m obsessed with herbs for beauty; they’re easy to grow (for the most part- check out my last pick, below), packed with beauty nutrients, and inexpensive. They multiply the flavor and beauty benefits of your meals without a load of calories, sugar, or sodium. I bet you already love one or more of the beauty herbs in my list below.
I cook with fresh herbs all year, but I’m always a little frustrated when I pay top dollar for a few sprigs of wilting herbs at the grocery store in the fall and winter, since I grow more than I can handle from June to October. All the more reason to fill up on these herbs while you can! Below, you’ll find my top picks for the most beautifying herbs to plant in your garden this summer. Since you really can’t go wrong with the health and beauty benefits of herbs, you should absolutely add your own favorites as well.
Top Beautifying Herbs for Your Garden:
- Oregano. Surprisingly one of my favorite herbs for beauty! This bacteria-fighting herb boosts immunity (oregano oil is a popular cold-fighter) and is incredibly high in antioxidants that defend against aging free radical damage. It’s also a good source of beauty minerals and vitamin C. I like to dry leftover oregano in the fall to use in recipes all winter long.
- Mint. Last year I missed out on growing mint and I regretted it all summer. Mint leaves are for more than just cocktail muddling—steep a few large springs in boiling water and you have the incredibly fresh mint tea that tastes even better iced. Mint helps with digestion, reduces bloating, and promotes natural detox, so add a few springs to smoothies and some fresh leaves to salads as well.
- Parsley. This herb makes it into my green smoothies every day, so it saves me tons of money when I grow it fresh. Parsley is packed with iron and chlorophyll, and actually helps freshen your breath.
- Basil. Even if you aren’t planning to eat fresh pesto straight into fall, basil’s a must! It’s a major anti-aging herb that reduces inflammation, has antibacterial properties, and protects cells and chromosomes from UV damage. I love using handfuls of basil to make Frosty Basil Lemonade every summer.
- Rosemary. The energizing scent of this herb boosts mood and enhances memory, and it’s thought to help remove excess estrogens from the body and balance hormones. You’ll use it for roasting veggies and grilling fish.
- Cilantro. Cilantro is a fabulous digestion booster that also detoxifies heavy metals from the body. That said, it’s pretty tricky to grow! I’ve never been able to keep mine alive very long before it turns to seed, so I’ll try again this year, and buy bunches of fresh cilantro if I fail. Keys to growing healthy cilantro are just barely damp soil and lots of light (but not direct sunlight), as well as frequent cutting.
For more beauty nutrition news and recipes, check out beautyiswellness.com. Text and photo ©2013 Jolene Hart. All rights reserved.
Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP is a Philadelphia-based writer and founder of Beauty Is Wellness, a natural beauty and health coaching practice. She teaches women to use nutrition and lifestyle choices to look and feel their best from the inside out.