Most of us think of complicated recipes and exotic ingredients while talking about healthy food. But if we take a look in our kitchens and the commonly available foods there, we will find a number of ingredients that are often ignored. You will be surprised to know that these very common and easily available ingredients are in fact packets of some fantastic health benefits!
These common foods are natural cures to many common ailments and answers to many health queries that you might have in mind. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at some of the most common foods and their health benefits below. We are sure you will be left amazed.
#1. Coconut Oil
If you thought coconut oil could only nourish your hair, you are in for a surprise. Used very frequently in South Indian coastal cooking, here is how it works for your health:
- Coconut oil stimulates the digestive system and metabolism, thus promoting faster utilisation of calories. This is a sure-fire way to aid in faster weight loss.
- It helps to dissolve or breakdown kidney stones, and easily let them pass through urine. This prevents further kidney stone complications and gall bladder diseases.
- The lauric acid present in coconut oil helps increase the HDL cholesterol, which is beneficial for the circulatory system.
- It is a great detoxifying agent. This means it helps to get rid of toxins that are responsible for several diseases and ailments.
A main ingredient in many Oriental medicines and an important part of Ayurvedic remedies, ginger is a wonder food. Here is how:
- Prostaglandins are natural pain-causing compounds. Ginger, when consumed during an illness, helps relieve chronic pain by reducing these compounds.
- In cases of fever, it promotes sweating in the body, which lowers the body temperature and cools the organs as well.
- Ginger contains the vital minerals, chromium, magnesium and zinc, which help in maintaining normal blood circulation. So, when included in green teas or juices, it works very well to promote healing of skin inflammation and sunburns.
Potatoes are known to be abundant in starch- something that probably your health expert warned you against if you were aiming to lose weight. But here is what you were probably not aware of:
- Potatoes contain kukoamines, which are compounds that help lower blood pressure.
- They are rich in vitamin B6. This vitamin has numerous roles to play- build new cells in your body, protect against cardiovascular diseases and produce compounds that are involved in important neurological activities.
The favourite ingredient in most chutneys and garnishes, coriander does much more than simply add a lovely colour to your foods:
- Coriander is great for digestion, and promotes liver function and healthy bowel movements.
- It can be used to treat common ailments such as nausea, diarrhoea and other digestive tract disorders. Simply including the leaves as part of soups or vegetable juices can do the trick.
- The acids present in coriander help to lower bad cholesterol while raising the levels of good cholesterol.
- Coriander seeds help in maintaining regular menstrual flow and soothing pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS).
Apart from adding a distinct flavour to numerous recipes, and leaving you teary-eyed while chopping them, onions have much more to offer to you:
- Onions are high in flavonoids, especially quercetin, which does not get destroyed even on cooking. Quercetin promotes health in multiple ways including balancing blood pressure, reducing physical symptoms of stress and maintaining cardiovascular health.
- They help balance sugar levels in the blood, thus proving beneficial for diabetics.
- Onions aid in maintaining normal respiration in common cold by helping to soothe chest congestion.
Tomatoes are an inseparable part of curries and gravies, and numerous salads. Here is what they do for your health, apart from satisfying your taste buds:
- The lycopene present in tomatoes prevents age-related osteoporosis in women, especially during their menopausal phase.
- Lycopene also plays a huge role in preventing cancers of the lungs, stomach and prostate.
- Tomatoes reduce cholesterol and lower risks of heart-related diseases.
- They are a rich source of potassium. This mineral plays a major role in the transmission of nerve signals in the brain, and maintaining fluid balance in the body.
Yes! The humble ingredient has a much larger role to play than simply bring out the taste in food. Here are the benefits of common salt that not many are aware of:
- The sodium present in common salt helps the nerves to work efficiently, and assists in normal functioning of the muscles.
- It also helps to maintain blood pressure (unless over-consumed!) and blood volume.
- Sodium also helps to maintain the normal pH of the body, which is the basic indicator of good health.