Foods Dr. Weil Suggests You Have In Your Pantry
Vegetables are the foundation of my Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, and for good reason – fresh produce is the best source of natural, health-promoting nutrients that can help keep your entire body running smoothly. I recommend every healthy kitchen have the following versatile and flavorful favorites on hand:
- Onions: This classic, pungent vegetable adds depth and richness to any meal. Sulfur compounds found in most varieties of onions may be responsible for its health benefits, including the possible lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure. They can also last a few weeks in the pantry before spoiling.
- Garlic: This fragrant bulb contains many of the same phytonutrients as onions, as well as antibiotic and antiviral compounds. It may help boost the immune system, prevent colds, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and fight fungal infections. Like onions, garlic will last in a pantry for quite a while. While the whole bulb versions allow for a more fresh and clean taste, there are pre-packaged and cut options that you can keep in the fridge over a longer period of time.
- Spinach: This dark leafy green (and others like it, such as kale and collards) contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidant carotenoids that may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach is also a source of calcium and folate, a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects. Buy organic spinach, since pesticides are commonly used on conventionally grown varieties. Keep fresh in the refrigerator or freeze to use at a later date.
- Cabbage: This low-cost yet highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable contains nutrients called indoles, which may protect against both breast and prostate cancer. It also provides significant amounts of fiber and vitamin C. Most stores carry pre-cut/shredded options in addition to whole heads. Cabbage is also usually the main ingredient in health fermented foods like krauts and kimchi.
- Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta carotene, these vegetables may help boost the immune system, deliver vitamin C and folate (which may reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent certain birth defects), and are low on the glycemic index and glycemic load charts. This is yet another pantry staple that will last quite a while before spoiling. They also reheat easily, so bake several at the beginning of the week to have a handy side dish or snack available.
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