7 Simple Ingredients to Always Have in Your Kitchen

Stock your kitchen with these 7 simple ingredients and enjoy the benefits of nutritious and delicious food.

Keeping a few simple ingredients in your kitchen could help maintain healthy eating patterns and improve your overall wellbeing. Minimise your chances of skipping a meal, ordering takeout or snacking on highly processed and sugar laden snacks; stock your kitchen with these seven simple ingredients and enjoy the benefits of nutritious and delicious food.

1. Lemons

Why:

Lemons are packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, and have many other immune boosting benefits. They aid digestion, support healthy skin, enhance your body’s ability to absorb iron and help fight common colds and flu.

How to use it:

Kick start your metabolism by squeezing the juice of half a lemon into a glass of water first thing in the day. Alternatively, pour some lemon juice over an otherwise bland salad, to enhance flavours, or pair the juice of a lemon with foods that are iron-rich, like spinach, chickpeas or red meat, to maximise your body’s ability to absorb iron.

2. Garlic

Why:

Garlic is a healthy herb that’s rich in flavour. It’s known to support healthy immune function, is alkalising in the body and loaded with nutrients such as zinc that help keep your bones healthy. Recent scientific studies have also shown that an advanced form of garlic, Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) has all the beneficial and enhanced antioxidant effects of raw garlic, but without the garlic odour.  AGE is also shown to have great heart health benefits and can help to reduce soft plaque within our arteries and can lower blood pressure. 

How to use it:

Some say that by chopping, crushing or pressing your garlic before eating it, you could receive more of the herb’s health properties. Whether you use it to spice up a guacamole or roast it with veggies for a rich caramel flavour, you’re guaranteed to get the taste buds excited. Aged Garlic Extract can be taken in supplement form and is gentler on the stomach than its raw counterpart.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Why:

Apple cider vinegar can help lower blood sugar levels and aid digestion. It’s also a good go-to liquid for its skin health benefits, like assisting with age spots or acne.

How to use it:

If you’re interested in incorporating it into your daily beauty regime, try apple cider vinegar as an alternative to your toner. This might not be suitable for all skin types. Keen on the taste rather than a topical treatment, splash some apple cider vinegar over a fresh salad or while cooking your dinner for a bit of extra flavour. It’s a great oil or dressing alternative as it’s not too sweet and not too salty and won’t be packed with preservatives.

4. Turmeric

Why:

Turmeric is a fantastic, bright spice to have in the pantry – packed full of flavour and health benefits, of which, the most widely touted maybe its ability to help reduce inflammation in the body. Turmeric also features an active ingredient called curcumin and while curcumin has been used for medical purposes in India for centuries, modern day scientists are only recently discovering the possible health benefits of this active ingredient. With over 4000 scientific articles to support its benefits like helping to reduce inflammation, aid digestion and other enhanced antioxidant effects.

How to use it:

Turmeric can be added to a morning elixir or your favourite veggie patty recipe. Alternatively, while it’s agreed that ordinary curcumin is not readily absorbed in the body, recent advances in research have enabled the release of a new curcumin formula known as Theracurmin. This can be absorbed into the body at 27 times the normal rate, allowing us to unleash the full potential of this ancient spice.

5. Oils

Why:

While not all oils are equal, most would agree that you can’t go wrong keeping an extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil in the pantry. These sorts of oils are great sources of good fats that our bodies need to stay healthy.

How to use them:

Olive oil is good for low heat frying and preparing a quick warm dish at the end of the day. Avocado oil can be drizzled over a cooked meal, like fish, to add flavour and both can be whisked with citrus juice for a tasty vinaigrette. Coconut oil is also great to cook with and a common oil to use in curries. Alternatively try pouring coconut oil into your favourite bliss ball recipe – you won’t be disappointed.

6. Honey

Why:

While high in sugar, honey is a great natural alternative if you are trying to reduce your intake of refined white sugars and don’t want to skimp on taste. It may also help clean up free radicals in the body and contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Honey has a slightly acidic pH level which is why it can help prevent the growth of bacteria in the body.

How to use it:

Honey is a great natural sweetener to pour over your muesli, add to tea or a lemon water. Some even use honey for the topical treatment of wounds and burns.

7. Nuts

Why:

Nuts are a great bite sized snack bursting with nutritional benefits. They’re a source of omega 3 fatty acids, or ‘good fats’ as well as protein and fibre.

How to use them:

Whether you sprinkle macadamias in your breakfast bowl, ground almonds down to almond meal, add cashews to a hearty pumpkin soup, fry pine nuts and add to a salad, or simply enjoy them raw as a mid-morning snack, nuts are a delicious and nutritious food that would serve you well as another kitchen staple. Keep in mind though, that nuts can be high in calories and to obtain their health benefits you only need to eat a small handful a day.

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