There are some essential ingredients you should have in your pantry to not only help you cook amazingly delicious food but contribute to over-all good health. Some ingredients help combat inflammation, some help reduce it. Some have many benefits above and beyond inflammation. But for the purpose of my blog I’ll be writing mainly about the benefits of these ingredients to help reduce or eliminate inflammation.
***I am not a doctor nor a health professional. Obviously you have to cater your meal according to any dietary restrictions or needs and above all else talk to your doctor about any changes in your diet. You don’t want to be consuming food that works against you or any medication you are taking.
Finally, listen to your body! If you don’t feel good stop doing it!!
Sesame Oil – It is a fairly inexpensive oil to buy and very versatile. It’s easy to extract the oil from the seeds and has many benefits other than being anti-inflammatory. It’s great for your skin, hair, heart, bone growth, managing depression and anxiety, prevention of cancer and much more. This tiny little seed is full of minerals and vitamins which is why they are so powerful. Not only can it be used internally but also externally through massage and oil pulling. You can cook with it, finish food with it, add it to salad dressings. Careful not to use too much, because a little goes a long way and you don’t want it to be overpowering in every dish but rather a complement to the other ingredients. It does however thin blood and lowers blood-pressure so talk to your Doctor before using.
Sunflower Oil – This is a non-volatile oil good for cooking and frying. Like sesame oil it can be used both internally and externally, helps reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases, prevents heart disease, treats skin issues, rich in vitamins, antioxidans, helps with muscle spasms, prevents asthma, helps with insomnia and much more.
Coconut Oil – Not only can this be used externally for your hair and skin it also has wonderful health benefits when cooking with it. It provides food with a lovely unique flavour, and yes I use it for cooking veggies and more. When we get candida, excessive and uncontrolled yeast in the stomach, coconut oil treats the inflammation from candida. It can heal infections, keeps organs healthy, treating disease, relieving stress, controlling blood sugar levels, helps our bodies to absorb minerals, boosts energy, an excellent carrier for essential oils and improves digestion.
Olive Oil – An oil that’s been around as long as man has been, well almost. It assists in treating diseases including arthritis – which is linked to inflammation – lowering cholesterol, increasing metabolism, aiding in digestion and can be used both internally and even externally for skin and hair. It’s an excellent ingredient for salad dressings, roasting and sautéing food, finishing dishes or adding to soups or smoothies. It’s delicious and delicate. Look for Cold-pressed oil and store long term in glass containers. Because of its delicate nature it isn’t the best for frying or high-temp cooking.
NUTS AND SEEDS
NUTS like almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, pine nuts and cashews are all excellent for a healthy diet full of healthy fats and oils and in managing inflammation. Each nut is unique and has it’s own nutritional benefits, ingredients and properties, including vitamins, minerals and protein. They help to reduce inflammation, improve your immunity, optimize digestion, healthy heart, strengthens bones, prevents chronic disease, increases cognitive abilities, lowers diabetes risk.
SEEDS that you should have in your pantry are Squash, Sunflower, Sesame, Pumpkin, Chia, Flax and Hemp. All of them have incredible nutrients and combat an abundance of ailments but specific to this blog is they all play a role in combating inflammation.
Red Peppers – They have the highest amount of vitamin c, bioflavonoids, luteolin and more that, fights against inflammation.
Beets – Beets contain many phytochemicals which are powerful antioxidants. These ingredients also fights against inflammation, plaque buildup in arteries, lowering blood pressure and fighting against type 2 diabetes.
Broccoli – This veg has jammed packed in it glucosinolate which fights against inflammation on a genetic level.
Tomatoes – There’s been a lot of controversy over whether or not they create or fight inflammation. However, they are a great source of lycopene which is an antioxidant that protects the brain and fights depression-causing inflammation. Great either cooked or raw, their skin is full of lycopene, which in my opinion is also where the most flavour exists in a tomato.
Spinach – This leafy veggie is rich in carotenoids, vitamins C, E, K amongst other key ingredients. It’s also an alkaline, which helps to balance out the acid in our body, thus reducing inflammation.
Garlic – I love cooking with garlic and I put it in almost everything. Despite it giving us bad breathe the health benefits outweigh the smell. Of course there is garlic supplements that work really well but for me fresh is always my preference. The crushed garlic contains allicin… Not only does it fight against inflammation by supressing inflammation markers but it also stimulates anti-inflammatory proteins.
Ginger – This root is easy to keep (can be stored in the freezer) easy to peel (just scrape off peel with a spoon) It can be cooked with, steeped for tea, grated or minced. Eaten in a raw form or cooked with, it has compounds that inhibit joint swelling and inflammation.
Blueberries – They contain an ingredient called anthocyanins that fight against inflammation. Blueberries are at the top of the list containing this major fighter.
Pineapple – Pineapples contain bromelain which helps to alleviate symptoms that cause inflammation. The most amount of bromelain is found in the stem, which we most often cut off. But by blending it up with the flesh will make it much easier to digest and will be very flavourful. It would make for an excellent drink first thing in the morning.
Apples – The lovely, delicious, versatile fruit contains many nutrients including fibre and pectin which is found in the peel which promotes to a healthy stomach. In addition to this is quercetin, which is an energy boosting, anti-inflammatory antioxidant.
Turmeric – There are many compounds in turmeric that makes it an invaluable spice. The most noteworthy ingredient is curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can be bought on its own in capsule form. However, since turmeric is a spice that’s quite versatile you can easily add it to many dishes and drinks to help aid in battling inflammation.
Rosemary – A terrific herb that has a wonderful taste and aroma. It’s amazing to flavour many dishes with, not to mention this beautiful herb contains many key ingredients that aids in battling inflammation and cancer and aids in improving memory.
Salmon – Low in carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty oils, high in B-Vitamins, good source of potassium, great source of protein and also contains ingredients to fight inflammation.
Canned Light White Tuna – Very high in protein, contains omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, and again has those key ingredients to fight inflammation. Light white tuna that has been canned contains less Mercury than tuna steaks or sushi.
Bone Broth – This is a fairly new ingredient to me, although I’ve long heard of it. By slowly cooking bones for many hours it breaks down the collagen and nutrients, like glucosamine from the tendons and cartilage. The gelatin helps to rebuild the stomach’s lining to help fight off inflammation inside the stomach’s microbes.
Eggs – Of course they are extremely versatile and useful for all sorts of cooking and baking. They are high in protein, which is found mostly in the white of the egg. Eggs also contain vitamin B2, B6, B12, Vit D selenium, zinc, iron and copper.
So far this is my list of essentials in my pantry. As I learn about more ingredients I’ll add them to my list.