Everyone has their own list of kitchen staples. Foods that we turn to when we need to whip something up really quick, or just grab-n-go can make or break our health, not to mention our waistline. The next time you walk into your kitchen, take inventory of what’s in your cabinet or refrigerator. Do any of the 12 foods below make the list?
Each of these foods has something really special about them that make them amazing for your body. They’re also pretty easy to find in just about every grocery store. Print this list the next time you go shopping.
Acidic in nature, lemons actually help to alkalize our blood. Coffee, fried food and sugar can make our blood too acidic. Lemons help to balance this out. They’re also a great source of vitamin C. Did you know that the rind and pulp of the lemon can help to fight inflammation and lower bad cholesterol levels? Not sure how to use the rind? Check out this recipe for my Ruby Red Detox Smoothie that uses the whole lemon.
- Coconut Oil
Remember when we were told that we needed to stay away from all tropical oils? Now it appears science is telling is to do a 180 on that position. If you’re not jumping all over coconut oil yet, here are a couple reasons you should. Coconut oil is full of medium chain triglyceride. Considered the “athlete’s oil,” coconut oil gets metabolized and used for energy faster than any other fat. Coconut oil is also a good source of lauric acid, a known bacteria and virus-fighter. Stay healthy and put a little coconut oil on something everyday. Add to roasted or steamed vegetables, in oatmeal, or just about any baked good.
Did you know that one avocado has about 10 grams of fiber? But that’s not the only reason this fruit makes the list. Avocado is a great source of oleic acid, which is incredibly beneficial for better heart health. Avocados are also a great source of potassium, as well as vitamins K and E. Don’t you worry one little bit about the fat, my friend! A reasonable amount of healthy fat won’t make you fat…only beautiful. Enjoy morning, noon or night. Omelets, salads and chopped up in salsa are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy them.
Maybe I’m biased because I’ve always loved carrots, but this vegetable is high in fiber, affordable year around, great raw or cooked and incredibly portable – eliminating just about every excuse for why you can’t eat healthier. Carrots are also a very good source of beta carotene, a phytonutrient that helps keep our vision in check. An amazing anti-oxidant food, carrots help keep you feeling young inside and out.
More to do with versatility than Popeye’s biceps, spinach makes the list partially because it’s easily added to stir fries, salads, smoothies, omelets, soups and everything in between. Spinach is full of an array of vitamins, including A, K, E, B6, B2 and C. Your hair, skin and bones reap the benefits. Take advantage of this leafy green, fresh or frozen!
The whole egg is where it’s at! Like other healthy dietary fats, eggs are good for you and will have no impact on serum cholesterol levels, which are different from cholesterol in foods. Eggs are great for snacks and as a part of any meal. I always keep eggs hard boiled in the refrigerator so I can grab one if I’m ever hungry. Research has shown that eating eggs in the morning helps keep you satisfied longer throughout the day, leading to improved weight control.
A little bit of fresh garlic goes a long way…especially when it comes to detoxifying our bodies. What’s more, garlic is one of nature’s most potent antibiotics. It’s antiviral and antibacterial properties make it very easy for you to literally eat yourself healthier. The Belly Burn Plan is full of garlic-loaded recipes, including my amazing Cleanse dressing (yum!).
Need help controlling sugar cravings? Load up on cinnamon and use it liberally! Let’s face it, we’re hit with a barrage of refined, fast-digesting sugary foods each and every day. We need all the help we can get to keep our insulin (aka fat-storage hormone) where it needs to be. Cinnamon not only helps type 2 diabetics control their blood sugar levels, but also helps reach more optimal cholesterol levels, too. Add cinnamon to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, on top of fresh fruit or in herbal tea.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Like lemons, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is thought of as being harshly acidic…and technically, when it’s outside our body, it is! But after ACV is in our body, it has the amazing ability to alkalize our blood. Like garlic, ACV has strong antibacterial properties. ACV also happens to help aid in weight loss and maintain better blood sugar levels. I like to take a couple tablespoons of ACV in the morning before breakfast. It’s also a great complement to salad dressings.
- Olive Oil
No kitchen should be without a really good bottle of olive oil. Olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat, and, like avocados, a great source of oleic acid. Oleic acid helps to control blood pressure, protect your body from free radicals that can cause damage (aka: making you look and feel older), and helps your brain function a little better! Never bake or fry with olive oil. Because it’s not a saturated fat, like coconut oil, it oxidizes at high heat. Instead, use olive oil to sauté, make salad dressings or cook up to medium heat.
A good source of omega 3 fatty acids, walnuts have been much touted for their ability to fend off cancer cells, improve blood sugar levels as well as brain function. The best way to eat walnuts is in their raw form. I like to add a small handful of walnuts to my morning oats, in smoothies or on top of salads. They’re a handy snack to have around if you feel hunger coming on, too!
What good would this list be without something sweet? Honey has impressive antifungal and antibacterial properties. A teaspoon in the morning along with a tablespoon of ACV can go a long way! I use honey in many of the 65 recipes in The Belly Burn Plan. Honey is a great prebiotic, meaning it helps to feed to good bacteria in our gut! A little goes a long way. If you’re using honey, start with a tablespoon and go from there.
Need a little more help figuring out what’s right to eat for your body? The Belly Burn Plan has a nutrition plan, not a diet, that’s right for your body type! The book starts with a simple, short cleanse and moves into a combination fitness and meal plan. You can pick it up here.