Oregano is a staple herb in multiple cuisines all around the world. It has a strong distinct flavor and a warming nature, along with a touch of sweetness. It is available in various forms: fresh, dried or as an oil. All these forms of Oregano are said to have significant health benefits. Though typically used in small quantities, oregano is packed with some of the most important nutrients. One tsp of dried oregano is capable of fulfilling almost 8% of your daily vitamin K needs.
Oregano is rich in antioxidants, compounds that help fight damage caused by harmful free radicals in the body. The buildup of free radicals has been associated with chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Some studies have found that oregano and its nutrients may also provide protection against some specific viruses. Carvacrol and thymol are two compounds in oregano that have been linked with antiviral properties. In a study, carvacrol inactivated norovirus, a viral infection that is known to cause diarrhea, nausea and stomach pain.
Inflammation is a normal immune response that occurs as a warning of illness or injury. But, chronic inflammation is believed to cause the development of various diseases like heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune conditions. Oregano is an amazing source of antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation. It also contains compounds like carvacrol that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Oregano is rich in antioxidants. These compounds, apart from neutralizing free radical damage, may also be helpful in cancer prevention. Some studies have shown that oregano and its components may help kill carcinogenic cells. One study treated human colon cancer cells with oregano extract and found that it inhibited the growth of carcinogenic cells and killed them.
Though everyone may know its as an excellent topping for pizzas and pasta dishes, this versatile herb can be used in many other ways too. Try mixing whole oregano leaves into other green vegetables for a nutrient-loaded salad. You could also sprinkle the leaves into chili, soups or stews. Oregano is available fresh, dried or as an oil, making it extremely easy to add to your diet.