In honour of Clinique’s inspirational #StartBetter campaign, nutritionist Karen Cummings-Palmer tells us what 10 ingredients we need to stock up with
If you’re looking to make some positive some changes this 2015, a great place to #StartBetter is by giving your nutrition a happy, healthy makeover. However, before you put your culinary skills to the test, you need to ensure you’ve got the essential ingredients that make up the foundations of our favourite hearty foods.
We reached out to GTG expert and nutritionist Karen Cummings-Palmer , to get her advice on the top ten cooking cupboard essentials everybody needs to stock for creating wholesome dishes. So, whether you’re looking to start the year better or even just the day, these must-have items will all ensure you start 2015 with your best foot forward.
1. Matcha green tea
Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of matcha green tea because it contains roughly fifteen times the amount of antioxidant levels than regular green tea does. Smooth, slightly sweet and frothy, this drink should raise your energy levels and your metabolism and is a perfect alternative for people who love the ritual of a cappuccino.
The humble egg is a wonderful super food. Even the best quality are relatively inexpensive and fairly long lasting, so I always have organic eggs in my fridge. Packed with bio-available protein, rich in skin boosting vitamin A, bone boosting vitamin D and energy boosting vitamin B, eggs are utterly essential. They’ve had some bad press because of the cholesterol they contain, but eating one or two a day is in fact highly unlikely to raise the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood and may raise the good (HDL) instead, working to boost both your brains and your beauty.
3. Apple cider vinegar with 'Mother'
Rich in acetic acid, this drink lowers blood sugar levels and, although the science is a little sketchy, it does seem to help curb appetite and aid weight loss. It’s also great for sore throats and sinus infections. I mix a couple of teaspoons with hot water for a warming evening drink or it can make a great 'jus' when cooking with fish or chicken.
Rich in the powerful anti-inflammatory curcumin, this bright yellow spice may protect against cancer and Alzheimer's. I add a teaspoon into my apple cider vinegar for a daily super health tonic or use it in curries and stews.
5. Coconut oil
What’s great about coconut oil is that you can use it to cook at high temperatures without worrying about the carcinogens that many other oils can produce. High in health boosting fatty acids, coconut oil is one of my favourite super foods. Add a spoonful to a smoothie, use it to sauté or apply it to eczema or dry hair to heal and nourish.
6. Raw Cacao
Unlike a bar of Dairy Milk, raw Cacao is packed with delicious nutrition, crammed full of antioxidants and rich in phenylethylamine - the feel good chemical that we release when we fall in love.
7. Manuka honey
Honey is still a sweetener and should therefore be consumed in moderation. However, good quality Manuka honey UMF 15+ has antiviral and antibacterial qualities that are invaluable during the cold season.
Like our skin, mushrooms are able to make vitamin D from the sun's rays. So, aim to buy vitamin D rich mushrooms or leave them out in the (occasional) morning sunshine for an hour and you'll absorb a much needed dose of bone and mood boosting vitamins with you omelette.
Antiviral, rich in vitamin C and surprisingly alkalising - I always have lemons in my kitchen. Add the juice of half a lemon to warm water in the mornings or take a little raw if you are fighting a cold. Lemons also bring out the flavour in food, so they’re great for people trying to reduce salt intake - simple use a little less salt and a little more juice.
Anti bacterial, warming and full of flavour, ginger can be chopped, sliced and juiced into almost anything for a spicy immunity boost.
What are your favourite healthy ingredients to cook with? Send us a picture or tell us your foodie plans on Twitter or Instagram .
This feature was written in partnership with Clinique. #StartBetter.