ROsemary is an easy, tasty herb to have on hand all times — you can use it as a garnish for herbal recipes, sprinkle it in marinades or on top of grilled vegetables, or put it in a hot cup of tea, such as chamomile. As it is extremely versatile and can be used fresh or dried, rosemary is a flawless key ingredient in the cupboard: It goes well with everything from citrus fruits to poultry, fish, bread and broth.
But in addition to the wonderful taste of rosemary, it is also an herb rich in health benefits: It has been shown to help boost the immune system, cognitive health, memory and focus, as well as your sleep. Many of the above –especially the latter — is largely due to the rich apigenin content of rosemary.
What is apigenin?
“Apigenin is a form of flavonoid – a type of plant compound – often found in many herbs,” says dietitian Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD. “Flavonoids are phytochemicals, which are chemical compounds produced by plants. “Once consumed, phytochemicals are able to provide protection against disease as well as many other health benefits.”
According to Best, rosemary is one of the richest food sources of apigenin. When consuming foods with rosemary, its high content of apigenin is able to offer antioxidant benefits: Think about fighting free radicals and inflammation in the body, which helps prevent chronic diseases, supports your immune system and boosts your mood. “Other top sources of apigenin include oregano, parsley, celery, artichokes and chamomile,” adds Best. “The good news is that all of these foods taste good with rosemary, so you can easily double or triple your apigenin intake by combining rosemary with another of these all-star ingredients when cooking.”
The health benefits of apigenin
While more research is needed to fully explain the link between apigenin content and improvements in health and wellness, emerging research shows great potential. “The world of nutrition science is rapidly learning more about the effect that apigenin can have on chronic diseases and overall health,” says Best.
There are several studies, performed on both animals and humans, that show many promising results regarding the relationship between apigenin content and improved brain health and cognitive function. “Rosemary has been shown to help protect brain cells from damage and death, thereby improving brain health,” says Best. Even its aroma can stimulate alertness, focus and memory, for better productivity and work skills, as shown in recent research. “Rosemary is a well-known natural cognitive stimulant, which means it can help boost alertness and improve your mood.”
Finally, anti-cancer benefits can also be added to the list of apigenin benefits, with the help of research, in a timely manner. “The impact of apigenin on cellular health has been shown to help slow and reverse damage, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes,” he added. Apigenin may also play a role in slowing down and preventing tumor growth at the cellular level, according to a 2017 study.
The apigenin content of rosemary can also help you sleep better
“Some studies have shown that rosemary can have a secondary side effect on improving sleep, which is mainly due to the effect that rosemary has on stress and anxiety,” says Best.
According to Best, new research suggests an association between apigenin content and improved relaxation and well-being, which may mean that apigenin has anti-stress and other holistic, therapeutic benefits that improve sleep quality and duration. “Rosemary can improve stress by reducing the body’s production of cortisol, the stress hormone, and potentially – albeit mildly – slowing your heart rate,” says Best. “These two effects could lead to better sleep, although more research is needed to validate these findings.”
4 delicious recipes with rosemary filled with apigenin that stimulates the brain
There are many delicious ways to incorporate rosemary into your diet: Consider meals, snacks, cookies and pastries. Here are some ways rich in apigenin and rosemary to start cooking.
1. Rutabaga and Rosemary bread
You can enjoy this wonderful savory bread recipe as part of a protein-rich breakfast, lunch or dinner. We like that it fits into a variety of allergen-free meal plans: It doesn’t even have added sugar. Try spreading avocado or almond butter on top or making a sandwich with turkey or chicken and other high-fiber vegetables as a filling.
Find the recipe: Rutabaga and rosemary bread
2. Soup with rosemary chicken noodles
Chicken noodle soup is our favorite form of immune boosting: What can not repel a bowl of these things? It is also easy to cook in bulk as part of your weekly meal preparation and has a fairly long shelf life (especially when frozen). “This soup provides the added antimicrobial and antiviral benefits of rosemary to make you feel better quickly,” says Best. BTW, rosemary has a delicious taste when injected into the broth.
Find the recipe: Soup with rosemary chicken noodles
Roasted garlic mashed cauliflower
This recipe for mashed cauliflower is a simple side dish full of fiber and antioxidants that are healthy for the heart. It is flexible and offers additional benefits for the immune system, thanks to the use of aromatic garlic, which provides anti-inflammatory properties to keep you healthy and strong.
Find the recipe: Roasted garlic mashed cauliflower
4. Rosemary and lemon herbal tea
Enjoy a hot cup of this citrus herbal tea at bedtime or when you feel stressed and need to relax. Try adding a little sweetness in the form of raw honey, which is antimicrobial in nature, and so can further help improve immunity and overall health. In addition, especially for the benefits of sleep, a warm and comfortable cup of this tea before bed is the ideal bedtime ritual to induce drowsiness to help you fall asleep faster.
Find the recipe: Herbal tea with rosemary and lemon
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