Food is nutritious because of the ingredients present in it. It has been proved from research that there is a link between the functional components of food, and health.(1)
However, the ingredients which are present in our food recipes also make a great difference when we talk about the health benefits that come from the ingredients. In this article we will talk about some of the kitchen ingredients that come with great health benefits.
These 14 Kitchen Ingredients Come With Great Health Benefits:
Picking the appropriate healthy food and ingredients can be challenging; however, there are many healthier options present in our kitchen ingredients which can be incorporated to our meals while cooking and that can actually help in developing our overall health and well being. Let us see more about these kitchen ingredients.
One of the most popular kitchen ingredients that come with great health benefits is the turmeric. Turmeric is the most popular spice in South East Asia and it has been used for thousands of years as an excellent medicinal herb too. It contains some compounds containing medicinal properties, and the most important one is Curcumin.(2)
Curcumin contain potential anti-inflammatory as well as anti-arthritic properties. It also contains antioxidant properties in it. These properties help in treating skin conditions quite effectively. This might help in speeding up the wound healing, reduce acne and acne scarring, and even in soothing psoriasis flares.
Curcumin is also known to be essential for managing pain, managing chronic digestive conditions like Irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It is even known to reduce symptoms of arthritis.
It must be however, noted that people taking any medication must consult with doctor before using turmeric as it might interfere with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs and anticoagulants too.
Garlic is used to add delicious flavor to our meals. However, it also contains some real great health benefits and the medicinal properties of garlic, is quite known since ancient times. It contains a compound known as Allicin, which is the compound that gives punget smell to garlic. This compound also helps in offering health benefits.
Garlic supplement is known well to combat sickness, including common cold.(3, 4) Apart from this, garlic supplementation is even known to enhance the function of our immune system and regular garlic extract supplementation might even reduce the number and duration of colds and even re-occurrence of flu.
Some studies also found that garlic supplementation can get a positive impact on reducing high blood pressure in those having hypertension. Moreover, garlic also contains anti-fungal and anti-viral properties and thus it is used for improving candida infections. Garlic oil is applied to nails or skin for treating fungal infections.
One more kitchen ingredient that come with great health benefits is the ginger. Ginger is also known to be used as a traditional alternative medicine for treating indigestion, reducing symptoms of nausea and also to fight influenza and colds. Ginger appears in a lot of forms, such as fresh, pickled, dried, preserves and also powdered.
Ginger contains strong anti-inflammatory properties in it, which can aid with pain management.(5) Ginger has analgesic properties which make it quite beneficial for reducing pain and joint swelling. A combination of ginger, cinnamon, mastic, and sesame oil, can help in reducing pain as well as stiffness in case of patients with osteoarthritis, when topically applied.
Gingeerol, one of the natural oils found in ginger is the primary bio-active compound that is responsible for the medicinal properties of ginger. Ginger also helps in alleviating symptoms of vomiting and nausea, because of its carminative and antispasmodic properties.
Ginger is mostly recommended to prevent morning sickness, seasickness, occurring during pregnancy and it might even relieve nausea as well as vomiting that follow after undergoing chemotherapy or surgery.
One more kitchen ingredient that comes with great health benefits is honey. Pure honey is known to enhance immunity and it helps in providing several other health benefits too. Polyphenol as well as flavonoid compounds are found in honey, in fact the pure honey which is quite powerful antioxidants and they help in preventing cell damage as well as protect you from several disorders and also cancer. Honey prevents one from several allergies and it contains special healing properties, thus making the cells of the body more healthy and active.
You need to take 1 teaspoon of honey daily in the morning so as to keep the digestive system quite healthy and to enhance your immune system functions.
There is another kitchen ingredient that comes with great health benefits; and it is the black pepper. This is known to be a healthy spice that helps in stimulating the digestive enzymes of our pancreas, which helps in enhancing the absorption of food.
Apart from this, black pepper is also helpful in protecting against oxidative damage by the free radicals, because of its antioxidant properties.
You need to grind black pepper and use it to add depth to your salads, soups, grain dishes, meat and many more.
Oregano is one of the best kitchen ingredients that come with great health benefits. It contains a lot of nutrients including vitamins like vitamin A, C, vitamin E, and vitamin K, and also a little amount of fiber, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6. Oregano is also loaded with antioxidants and it has been known for its anti-inflammatory as well as anti-microbial properties. Oregano as well as oregano oil has also been associated with cancer-fighting qualities.
For making use of oregano you need to add half a spoon of it to soup or make a salad dressing.
Cumin is another kitchen ingredient that comes with great health benefits. This spice can be used is several types of cuisines. According to a study of overweight individuals who were given cumin capsules, drug Orlistat for weight loss, or the placebo group for about 8 weeks, those individuals who were given cumin had changes in their weight and BMI comparable to the group that took Orlistat, and also improved insulin response when it was compared to the drug orlistat as well as the placebo group.(6)
Cumin is also believed to be helpful in managing conditions such as cancer and diabetes. The medicinal properties of cumin come from phenols and the flavanols found in it. You can try adding this spice in stews, soups or just sprinkle over roasted vegetables.
Cloves are also known to be the kitchen ingredients that come with great health benefits. Clove can be used to add flavor to roasts and stews. Clove is used in traditional medicine because of its tremendous medicinal properties, including antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic as well as analgesic. Clove essential oil is also known for its antimicrobial properties, that stop the growth of and kills the common bacterial types and also promotes the oral health.
Clove is very much beneficial in alleviating toothache. Clove tea is known to prevent colds as well as flu and also improve the symptoms of sore throat, and also alleviates stomach problems, vomiting, gas as well as diarrhea, by relaxing the muscles and gut lining.
Clove oil is also used for reducing arthritic as well as rheumatic pain.
Cinnamon is a sweet spice which not only tastes good but is also loaded with a lot of protective antioxidant compounds having powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Cinnamon oil and its extract can be used for treating chronic pain, such as arthritis and migraines, as cinnamon promotes circulation of blood, which aids in stimulating and pushing circulation to the joints and the nerves.
Presence of an active compound called as Cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon makes it a great spice with medicinal properties.(7)
Cinnamon is also known to help in managing levels of blood sugar by improving insulin resistance. The spice directly works on the muscle cells, thus forcing them to remove the excess sugar from the bloodstream, where it gets converted into energy.
Apart from this, cinnamon is also known to fight viral, fungal and bacterial elements in foods and it is also used for improving problems of lung congestion, as it assists in clearing up the mucus and encourage blood circulation.
Curry powder is a blend of some spices and herbs that belongs to turmeric containing curcumin with potential anti-inflammatory properties.
Two tablespoons of the curry powder can be used along with garlic cloves, onions, to prepare vegetable curries and get the essential health benefits of the ingredients.
Paprika is another kitchen ingredient that comes with great health benefits. It is a part of the Capsicum family of pepper. Paprika contains a lot of antioxidant properties. It must also be noted that one teaspoon of paprika contain 37% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, and also some amount of iron in it.
You can add this healthy spice to your stems and soups or use it in a marinade.
Nutmeg is a spice that has got a hint of sweetness. However, it might be used to prevent cavities. Nutmeg fights the germs in mouth with its antibacterial compounds.
Macelignan is the chief antibacterial compound present in nutmeg which is known to reduce the formation of plaques and also the microbes that produce cavities.
Moreover, the spice is also packed with protective anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce the risk of cancer.
For using nutmeg, you need to add 1/4th teaspoon of the spice to coffee.
Ginseng is another kitchen ingredient that comes with great health benefits. In Chinese medicine, ginseng has been used since ages as it is thought to be a general tonic used for the promotion of health, vitality, and longevity.
Ginsenosides are the primary active ingredients found in ginseng which are responsible for their medicinal properties, which have got anti-inflammatory effects which target the pathways in immune system that is known to reduce inflammation.
Ginseng is also known for stimulating the nervous system and for improving concentration and focus. The rich amount of antioxidant compounds found in the herb might help in reducing the plaque accumulation and free radicals in the brain, which can actually reduce the risk of developing cognitive disorders.
There are few studies which suggest that ginseng can also be used to manage diabetes, as ginsenosides might help in stabilizing levels of blood glucose by affecting the production of insulin in the pancreas and by improving insulin resistance.
NOTE: It is always essential to exert caution while taking supplements of high doses of the root extracts of ginseng, as it can interact with medications of heart diseases and diabetes and might also increase the bleeding risk while taking blood thinners. So, it is always important for you to consult your physician before using it while taking other medications.
Probiotic foods or the probiotics are popularly used for some good reasons. Foods such as fermented vegetables, pickles, water kefir, and kombucha are known to be very much essential for optimal digestion. However, the medicinal properties of probiotics go much beyond that. Probiotics might help in treating or preventing several conditions that have their primary causes in poor gut health; and these conditions include chronic fatigue, thyroid imbalances, joint pain, anxiety, depression, skin ailments, and food allergies.
Probiotic foods are also known to have their health benefits for skin, and they improve conditions such as healing of wound and scar, atopic eczema, and skin structure, when taken orally or applied topically.
So, above we talked about some of the kitchen ingredients that come with great health benefits. By this it is clear that ingredients in food make a great difference when we talk about health benefits offered by our food. Thus, it is recommended to make use of a set of healthy kitchen ingredient which can help you stay healthy and fit for long.
NOTE: In case you have any medical condition or taking any medication, it is always a strict advice to consult with your doctor before using any ingredient or supplements.