Stop ignoring some kitchen staples that have been stocked up for ages in your pantry. They may be the key to achieving a thriving and well-nourished body.
Some kitchen staples are really good as superfoods that can provide you with vast health benefits in the long run. Hence, adding these ten common kitchen staples to your diet will limit your junk food and unhealthy food choices, allowing you to improve your overall physical and mental health.
The following kitchen staples are just as healthy as superfoods:
Whole grains are always one of the top healthy foods to eat! They are versatile food options that you can either eat at breakfast or simply add to your snack cookies. Among the best kinds of whole grains are oats which are delicious, full of soluble fiber and heart-healthy.
In fact, research suggests that eating a high amount of whole grains may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease by 21 percent compared to people who eat them less . Another research through meta-analysis found that consuming oats may help reduce blood sugar significantly after eating a meal .
Moreover, oats are loaded with complex carbohydrates and rich in important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folate and iron . You can also get protein, iron, potassium and magnesium when adding oats to your diet regularly.
Eating steel-cut or rolled oats is advisable to get the most benefits rather than instant oatmeal, as they are more processed and have a slightly higher glycemic index. Making homemade granola using rolled oats paired with dried fruits, nuts and seeds is also a good way to eat oats.
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are other kitchen staples perfect for boosting your overall health. Some examples are unsalted almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds and cashews.
Particularly, nuts have essential minerals, including magnesium, copper, iron, selenium and zinc, which all play significant roles in proper cell growth and development. Consuming a handful of nuts daily is known to boost everyday energy. .
Research suggests that you may reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease  and coronary heart disease  when you eat nuts and seeds. Aside from bettering heart health, nuts and seeds can also help with gut health as they prevent metabolic syndrome and manage weight . Also, as nuts and seeds have tons of healthy fats, they can help in regulating cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation.
3. Healthy oils
When thinking about cooking oils, some may think about fats and cholesterol. However, there are healthy oils that are good for the body. Some are olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil, which can ultimately provide you with additional essential nutrients and unique flavor when used in meals.
Olive oil is known to improve cardiovascular health and prevent diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help slow aging .
Meanwhile, coconut oil may help burn fats, reduce hunger and boost skin health. It is also associated with oral health and antimicrobial effects. Avocado oil is found helpful in improving joint inflammation, absorbing nutrients from other foods and instilling positive effects on cardiovascular health .
Yogurt is an accessible, affordable and convenient kitchen staple that can shift your overall health for the better. This superfood is an excellent source of calcium, protein, vitamin B12 and probiotics.
Actually, yogurt comes from milk pasteurized and fermented with live bacteria, making it great for aiding in digestion, managing irritable bowel disease and diversifying the gut microbiome. Plus, yogurt is good for bone health as it can prevent osteoporosis.
In choosing which yogurt to eat, you should opt for plain or Greek yogurt with simpler ingredients and no added sugars or sweeteners . You can use yogurt as an alternative cream in sauces, curries and soups.
Here’s the most common of them all – the egg! This superfood is primarily rich in protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, phosphorus, vitamins B2 and vitamin B5. Eggs can help with weight management as they can keep you full for longer hours, making the body maintain or lose weight .
If you are concerned about getting your cholesterol levels high, research suggests that eating one egg a day may not hurt your heart health or cause stroke in healthy adults . However, eating more than seven eggs every week has been linked to increased risk, especially for those with diabetes.
There are endless choices on how you would eat eggs. For instance, you can eat them boiled, baked, poached, steamed or scrambled. Many people eat eggs for breakfast on salads and sandwiches.
You can prepare and cook a range of delicious recipes using pasta in your pantry. Although some types of pasta are stripped of nutrients during the refining process, pasta generally has folate, iron, fiber and vitamin B that can still enhance your overall health. Hence, you must choose the right and healthy pasta to stock in your kitchen.
- Whole-grain pasta – you may want to eat refined-free pasta or whole-grain pasta to satiate you for long hours and provide you with beneficial fiber. Not to mention, whole-grain pasta can be stored for years!
- Vegetable pasta – choosing vegetable-based pasta is a good choice as well, as it contains carrots and sweet corn aside from wheat. In terms of its nutritional content, a 2-ounce serving usually contains 200 calories, 41g of carbs, 8g of protein and 4g of fiber.
7. Beans and lentils
With their affordability, highly nutritious content and long shelf life, beans and lentils are one of the most common and greatest kitchen staples. As types of legumes, beans and lentils are rich in fiber, magnesium, potassium, protein, iron, copper, B vitamins, zinc and phosphorus.
Moreover, research shows that high legume intake may help in preventing diabetes and hypertension, managing your weight and lowering cholesterol . You can experiment in the kitchen and add beans and lentils when cooking your favorite recipes. For example, you sprinkle beans or lentils in burritos, salads, pasta sauces or quesadillas.
8. Spices and herbs
Of course, your kitchen won’t be complete without spices and herbs, which are known to be superfoods as well! They surely add flavor and depth to every meal and provide some medicinal properties. Some examples of spices and herbs are sage, oregano, ginger, cinnamon, peppermint, black pepper and turmeric.
- Black pepper – adding black pepper to your meals may provide positive effects on blood sugar levels.
- Cinnamon – refers to an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that contributes to preventing diabetes .
- Ginger – is known to be an effective help in treating nausea and lowering blood sugar levels.
- Oregano – contains antifungal and antibacterial properties, which can act as an anti-inflammatory in the body.
- Onions – refer to a versatile and delicious herb that provides many health benefits. Onions are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are linked to improving heart health, boosting immune function, regulating blood sugar levels, lowering inflammation and preventing certain types of cancer.
- Garlic – adding garlic to your meals can improve their taste and smell. Aside from turning your meals more appetizing, garlic has many health benefits as well. For instance, garlic is known to reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels, improve heart health by protecting against cell damage and lower blood pressure. Additionally, garlic can help with digestive issues as it aids in digestion.
Honey is a perfect alternative to unhealthy refined sugar. It provides amino acids, protein, enzymes, essential minerals and vitamins and polyphenols.
Research suggests that honey helps protect the body against diabetes, hypolipidemia, hypotension and obesity . But, too much sugar intake can still have inflammatory properties resulting in high glucose levels, so it is advisable to consume honey in its proper amount.
Sure, a little sugar intake in your diet is fine, and honey is a nutritious option. You can add honey to smoothies or milkshakes as an alternative to sugar.
10. Canned fish
Canned fish is the go-to food for many of us when we get busy or lazy cooking meals. Why? Because of its convenience and delicious taste, and perhaps, which you may not know, canned fish is very nutritious, too. Some common canned fish in the kitchen is made in tuna, salmon, anchovies, trout and sardines.
Generally, canned fish contains vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that are associated with preventing heart disease and relieving inflammation . It keeps your blood vessels healthy and lowers blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
In terms of shelf life, you can just put canned fish in the pantry, unlike the fresh fish you bought in the market. When cooking, the best ways to eat them are by poaching and steaming them to make them still healthy. Canned fish is also perfect for lunch salads, sandwiches and sushi. To avoid mercury exposure in canned fish, you may want to limit eating canned fish made of swordfish, orange roughy, shark, marlin, bigeye tuna and king mackerel.