6 Healthy Cooking Ingredients You Should Have in Your Kitchen

Make sure to stock your kitchen with a few of these cooking ingredients to get on the path to a better diet.

Dec 30, 2018

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As the saying goes, you are what you eat. Cooking with the right ingredients can have many major health benefits, and the proof is in the pudding: researchers found that eating healthy foods prevents everything from heart disease and stroke to diabetes and cancer. It goes to show that cooking with the right ingredients not only adds more flavor but also has huge advantages for feeling great. In fact, some medical schools are even teaching cooking as a part of their curriculum to promote health and better eating habits. So make sure to stock your kitchen with a few of these cooking ingredients to get on the path to a better diet.

1. Garlic

For a long time, Ancient Chinese and Indian cultures already figured out the health benefits of garlic for things like aiding digestion and even for treating leprosy. Modern medicine now proves the advantages of consuming this pungent herb. Garlic promotes health in all kinds of ways, from lowering cholesterol to preventing and treating the common cold. Studies have also linked the bulbous plant to reduce the risk for different types of cancers. So who cares if you have smelly breath when you feel that great?

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2. Turmeric

Many Asian foods use this orange spice to flavor foods and color cosmetics, but also for its medicinal purposes. Turmeric contains curcumin, a chemical that improves metabolism, eases arthritis, and aids degenerative eye conditions. Because of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties, the spice can even ease chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, cancer, allergies, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, depression, and fatigue. Better stock up!

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3. Onion

If you’re going to be cooking with turmeric, you might as well throw in some onions, too. A 2006 study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology revealed that combining onion with turmeric reduces the size of precancerous cells in the intestines, thus lowering the risk of colon cancer. Onions have a few more bonus benefits like lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of diabetes. While they may make your breath smell, they actually can strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay. So actually, an onion a day keeps the doctor away!

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4. Mint

The family of plants known as the mentha, or mint, refers to a species about 20 plants that includes peppermint, spearmint, pennyroyal, and apple mint. Throw some mint in your salad or tea to reduce allergies, prevent catching a cold, or ease a sore throat. Research shows that if you suffer from stomach aches or heartburn, mint could help to relieve an upset tummy, reduce acid reflux, prevent stomach ulcers, and treat irritable bowel syndrome. It also naturally freshens your breath!

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5. Ginger

It seems that the cultures of Asia were on to something when they started incorporating ginger into so many of their dishes thousands of years ago. The anticancer properties of ginger are well-documented, and the spicy root has been shown to prevent colon, ovarian, gastric, and liver cancer. Because ginger relieves pain, consuming it before exercise can help reduce muscle soreness. If that wasn’t enough, ginger also helps ease nausea, promote heart health, and soothe a cold or flu.

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6. Parsley

Parsley is far more than just a garnish. According to doctors, this versatile leafy herb contains a chemical compound called apigenin that fights against breast cancer. If you get UTIs often, consuming parsley can also help relieve urinary tract infections. On top of that, the plant prevents kidney stones, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, constipation, diabetes, cough, asthma, and high blood pressure. A few sprigs go a long way.

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ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.