You may not realize it, but most households have a wealth of health-promoting items inside their kitchen.  The spice rack and refrigerator just might contain more helpful items than a first aid kit or medicine cabinet.

The Uncommon Properties of Common Ingredients

Food and spices have been valued by cultures around the world for their potent healing properties.  In fact, many of the most widely used culinary herbs double as medicinal remedies.  Historians believe that one of the reasons kitchen spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, parsley, and sage have endured in popularity is because they were once known to have valuable healing properties in addition to their use in the kitchen.

The Spice Cupboard

Ginger is a spice that comes from a root.  Used for centuries in China for cooking and for medicine, ginger is said to help with digestion; it is often included in teas meant to soothe indigestion.  Chewing ginger candy can also relieve motion sickness.  Parsley is another herb known to relieve indigestion.  Try chewing a little fresh parsley after a meal.

There is some evidence that celery salt helps relieve pain.  Just sprinkle a little bit of this humble seasoning into your favorite soup or salad.

Garlic is sometimes called a “super food” because of its many uses and nutritional benefits.  It is a natural antibiotic.  Many people take it to give their immune system a boost during cold and flu season.

Did You Know?

Your refrigerator also has a wealth of items that can act as both food and medicine.  Food is a concern of many people; we’re always being told what to eat, how much, and when.  Food should be simple!  Once you understand some of the basic health benefits that common food items have, it becomes easier to make informed choices about what you eat each day.

The produce drawer in your refrigerator probably contains a couple onions, tomatoes, some mushrooms, and fruit.  The same drawer also contains antibiotics, immune boosters, vitamin supplements, memory boosters, and pain killers!

Onions are pungent bulbs packed full of fiber and vitamins.  They’re a valued cooking ingredient because of their ability to lend an aromatic element to soup, stir fry, and casserole dishes.  In addition, onions also contain allicin, a naturally occurring antibiotic.  Allicin helps protect the body’s circulatory system.   

Tomatoes are the tricksters of the produce department.  Even though they are referred to as vegetables for culinary purposes, technically speaking tomatoes are fruit.  Large and small, sweet or acidic, all tomatoes contain lycopene, a nutrient that has been linked to the prevention of prostate cancer.

While some people dislike the texture and flavor of mushrooms, the many varieties of mushrooms means that there are many different ways to enjoy them.  Mushrooms bring a warm, earthy flavor to all kinds of dishes; while they can be enjoyed raw, most people prefer to cook them.  Mushrooms are also great because they’re packed with an antioxidant known as ergothioneine, which helps the body fight off the germs that cause the common cold.

There are hundreds of different types of fruit enjoyed all over the world and each of them has health and nutritional benefits.  Bananas contain potassium, an essential mineral.  Fresh pineapple contains enzymes that reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis pain, effectively acting as a natural painkiller.  Even the tiny blueberry packs a punch.  A study from Tufts University suggests that eating half a cup may delay dementia-related forgetfulness.

Your kitchen is filled with wonderful food – and that food is filled with wonderful medicine!