Five health boosting staples that should be in everyone's kitchen cupboards during lockdown and beyond
Within your cupboards and fridges lie some amazing medicines. This week I thought I’d discuss my favourite larder essentials that have some amazing health benefits and should definitely be kept in stock during lockdown.
In no particular order…
Legend has it that vampires warded off by garlic. I can’t prove the former but scientific studies have shown this incredible root to be effective against viral, bacterial and parasitic infections amongst some. Its active substances include allicin (anti-viral/bacterial/parasitic), sulphur (for detoxification) and bioflavonoids like quercetin (natures antihistamine) and cyanidin (antioxidant and ant inflammatory). The bad news is that to get the most from garlic it needs to be raw and crushed. The good news is that we are still in lockdown so other than breathing all over your loved ones, you can chomp away!
Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has been shown in studies to be antibacterial and antimicrobial. Rumour has it that researchers in the Philipines are even looking to study virgin coconut oil as a potential treatment for COVID-19!! It is amazingly versatile and can be used in cooking, baking, as a cleanser, moisturiser – heck you can even clean your teeth with it! Definitely an ingredient to go nuts about.
Pizza and pasta sauce are the first things that come to mind when you mention oregano but this wonder herb and its primary active component, carvacrol have been shown to be antiviral too! Whether you buy it dried, fresh or as an essential oil, oregano is definitely an ingredient to be adding to recipes when experimenting in the kitchen. Any excuse for an Italian night in!
Apple Cider Vinegar
This kitchen staple isn’t just kept for salad dressings…
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the sugar from apples. This turns them into acetic acid which is the active ingredient believed to be partly responsible for its health benefits. Unfiltered ACV also contains a mucky substance called ‘mother’ which is essentially a bundle of protein, enzymes and friendly bacteria. This makes it a great pre-meal digestive aid.
Although not antiviral, ACV is antibacterial and antifungal. It works as a great disinfectant, window cleaner, facewash/toner and food preservative. It can be used for cleaning, washing hair, preserving food, improving skin tone. Studies have shown that consuming vinegar along with a high carb meal increased feeling of fullness and consumed after a meal can improve insulin sensitivity. If you’re keen to start incorporating ACV into your diet, start small. At the end of the day ACV is an acid and too much could leave you feeling a little nauseous.
This amazing spice has been used in India for thousands of years for its medicinal properties.
The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory effects which could be especially useful in supporting low-level, chronic inflammation such as heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer’s. In order to see the full effect of turmeric, a higher dose supplement would be advised however that’s not to say that we can’t use it in cooking to take advantage of its health benefits. Turmeric is fat soluble so is best taken with a fat containing meal and a crack of black pepper as piperine, its active ingredient, can support the absorption of curcumin by 2000%!
Why not take advantage of this wonder spice in a Turmeric Latte?
Turmeric Latte Recipe
250ml Coconut Milk
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coconut oil
Grind of black pepper
Pop all the ingredients into a blender and whizz.
Pour into a mug and enjoy!