Thyme is an amazingly versatile herb, used in numerous meals, especially those originating in the Mediterranean regions. Thyme possesses a strong, characteristic odor which bears a slight similarity with mint, and can be used either dried or fresh. Thyme is a nutritionally dense spice, which trumps many others and warrants inclusion in your diet based on its nutritional profile as well as for the presence of various Phytochemicals beneficial to health.
Thyme comes in numerous verities, but regardless of which you are able to get (based on your geographic location) they are all worth a shot by including thyme in your meals; their health benefits make it so much more important.
Interested to know what these benefits are? Let’s explore them:
1. Thyme Can Help Keep You Safe From Food Poisoning
Food prepared with thyme have been observed to take longer to go bad, compared to those not made with thyme. More interestingly, is the fact that thyme can even take food that is about to go bad and actively kill the bacteria that begins to fester and can cause food poisoning. Food poisoning is associated with vomiting, diarrhea and even fever and can result in severe dehydration if not properly addressed. This is a major issue in African countries with lack of exposure to decent sanitation. This is even more important if you consume raw, uncooked food such as salad veggies, which may have salmonella contamination with you being aware. You can either rinse the raw foods in a thyme solution or include it as part of your mix.
2. Thyme Improves Mood And Well Being
Thyme consists of numerous compounds, with one named carvacrol being among them. This compound was found to have positive effects on improving mood if consumed consistently for just 7 days. It does this by increasing levels of both serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters involved with regulating motivation, drive and overall mood. Though precise amounts that need to be consumed are not fully known, eating a little in food every day is likely to be very safe and smart if you wish to preserve your mental health.
3. Thyme Consumption May Reduce Cancer Risk
It is well known that various essential oils have cancer combating properties, but in thyme carvacrol is once again the compound that does this. Carvacrol could help prevent the occurrence of cancers or tumor growth, since it inhibits both the proliferation and movement of cancer cells to other parts of the body. This spread of cancer is one of the worst outcomes for a cancer patient, since it becomes exponentially harder to treat when this occurs. Thyme may be useful in reducing risk, and can help positive outcomes if the cancer is already present. This effect seems to be especially pronounced when dealing with colon cancer.
4. Thyme Is A Natural Anti-fungal
Not only is thyme effective at killing bacteria, it is also a useful anti-fungal agent. Thyme is able to treat symptoms of the candida infections, whether they occur as yeast infections, skin rashes or thrush in your mouth. Try consuming Thyme as often as possible in the foods you eat, or if you prefer drinking a drop or two of the essential oil known as thymol. Keeping your fungal load under control is also beneficial to the health of your probiotic bacterial colonies, which fortifies your overall and immune system health. Thyme can be made into a topical solution and applies locally to affected areas of the skin as well to offer additional support for treating fungal conditions.
5. Reduces Inflammation And Pain
When we suffer an injury of some sort, it needs to be mediated by chemical compounds in order for our brains to perceive this pain. One of the main chemical mediators is an enzyme named cyclooxygenase that facilitates localized inflammation in an attempt to quarantine the area of origin. However, this results in immense pain and is a popular mechanism by which pain medication work.
Thyme is also able to suppress the level of this enzyme (abbreviated as COX) by as much as 80%, greatly reducing the pain and tenderness we feel.
Thyme can either be consumed, or made in a topical application and used on the area where you are feeling the pain. This concoction may also be useful for everyday aches and pains, such as muscular and joint pain.
6. Supports The Health Of Your Brain
Our brains are subject to degradation and breakdown like any other part of the body as we age, even though there are many other factors at play. Among them is oxidation, which can cause adverse changes to the brain at speeds that should be reserved for those much older. Which is where thyme comes into play; loaded with anti-oxidants, thyme can help preserve brain health for many years. In a study conducted on rodents, those administered a thyme supplement had a much healthier brain, resembling those of much younger mice. Thyme also appears to have a protective effect of important fats such as omega-3, known to preserve mental wellbeing and our cognitive function well into old age.
7. Thyme Improves Respiratory Function
Well-functioning lungs are essential to our good health, as ultimately all cells in the body need oxygen supplied in abundant quantities. Thyme has been used traditionally as an aide to proper lung function, helping reduce symptoms of respiratory deficiency bronchitis. Bronchitis is a condition resulting in inflammation of tiny structures within the lungs known as bronchioles, which makes breathing deep and labored. Thyme exerts anti-inflammatory effects in the lungs, helps thin mucus secretions and also fights microbes which may be the cause of an underlying infection. Thyme possesses anti-bacterial effect as well, so it should be used by anyone suffering from respiratory disorders.
8. Helps Promote Wellbeing Of Your Digestive Tract
We often take our digestive tracts for granted, even though they really are one of our body’s primary defense systems. As such, it is not uncommon for things to go wrong, ranging from diarrhea, to bloating and even vomiting. Luckily, thyme is there to offer support to our digestive system in “thymes” of need. For one, the essential oil names thymol found in thyme helps promote digestion and peristaltic muscle movements so that food is not held in the stomach for prolonged periods of time. It also reduces bloating from malabsorption, and can relieve painful and uncomfortable stomach cramps. Either eat more of it in your daily meals, or try a drop or two of the essential oils when necessary to help with digestion.
9. Thyme Functions As A Diuretic
Under normal conditions, the body takes care of balancing the body’s water and electrolyte levels so that we do not retain too much fluid, or lose too much and become dehydrated. However, there are time that we need increased diuresis- or urination, such as when suffering from high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. Promoting regular diuresis is also essential to maintaining kidney function, as holding your bladder for long periods of time can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Thyme is a mild natural diuretic that gently promotes the release of urine and can help balance your fluid and electrolyte levels when appropriate. Diuresis is also helpful for losing excess water weight, more so when competing in various fitness events.