"Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
These foods are basically magic. Not only do they have the power to take the pleasure of your dining experience into the next dimension, they also contain antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins and phytosterols, along with many other powerful nutrients, making them the medicine that nature has provided.
We’ve chosen 6 cheap options to add to your meals that can turn the most basic food into incredible dishes with deep, complex flavours, and are all famous for their long culinary histories and health benefits!
Celery contains close to zero calories, and yet it has the ability to reduce the appetite. This phenomenon is no secret to those seeking a healthy weight loss solution, with many weight-droppers swearing by their pre-dinner celery snacks.
Celery is a great addition to salads and stews, but drinking celery juice is one of the best ways to unleash its potent potential.
This heart-healthy vegetable contains phthalides, which are compounds known to promote the dilation of the artery muscles and blood vessels, as well as suppress the release of stress hormones, making celery extra beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
Both the stem and the leaves contain a high concentration of alkaline elements, which can prevent the formation of kidney stones and problems associated with the gall bladder.
Due to its powerful antispasmodic properties, celery has been used as an aid in the treatment of respiratory issues, such as asthma, bronchitis and tuberculosis - but its medicinal powers do not end there!
Celery is an excellent source of iron and magnesium, which are vital to the health of our blood cells.
Turmeric is the key to a delicious curry, and is one of the latest latte trends, but of most significance is its health boosting properties!
Turmeric may be of benefit to diabetics looking to lower blood sugar levels, and can help fight cold, flu and other viral and bacterial infections.
Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties and can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, helping reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The active ingredient in turmeric is an antioxidant called curcumin, and studies show it has some powerful health benefits.
Curcumin can also improve digestion, reducing bloating and gas, as well as stimulating the gallbladder to produce bile, which can assist in healthy weight management.
Ginger is most commonly known for it’s anti-nausea effects when chewed or consumed as a tea. It can help with motion sickness. The phenolic compounds in ginger can help prevent constipation and colon cancer by improving digestion.
Ginger is a diaphoretic, which means it warms the body from the inside and promotes sweating - making it another great, natural remedy for a cold or flu, which is especially soothing when consumed as a tea, with added lemon juice.
It’s anti-inflammatory properties have been used to treat many inflammatory conditions, but ginger is also a great herb for people who workout, as it can help reduce exercise-induced muscle pain, in addition to lessening the pain some women experience with menstruation.
Basil has such distinct flavour, so it doesn’t taste amazing in every dish - but when it does work, it’s seriously lit.
Whenever the opportunity to add basil to your meal arises - make sure you do, because this herb provides 60% of our daily requirement for Vitamin K, which is essential for strong bones, as well as a strong heart.
Just one handful of basil also supplies us with 18% of our daily requirement for iron, which is an important mineral for helping our red blood cells move oxygen through the body.
This nutritious herb also takes care of our eyes, as it contains high levels of Zeaxanthin to protects our eyes from harmful UV rays, while its high Vitamin A content supports good eyesight.
Basil also contains many oils, which protect our delicate internal ecosystem by wiping out bad bacteria.
Parsley is much more than just a tasty garnish. This powerful plant can play a part in strengthening the immune system, reducing inflammation and cleansing the liver.
It also contains chlorophyll, which gives it antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is high in calcium and folic acid, making it an effective treatment for osteoporosis, as well as assisting in maintaining good bone health.
Parsley contains a compound called phenylpropane, which has anti-carcinogenic properties, and anti-inflammatory compounds such as Vitamin C and Betacarotene, which may have potential benefits in controlling rheumatoid arthritis.
Parsley makes you pee - it’s a diuretic, which has been used in treating urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and excessive fluid retention.
Last, but definitely not least - parsley has a positive impact on blood sugar levels, making it an important herb for diabetics.
Garlic is well known for its ability to protect us from viral illnesses, such as colds, as well as allergies and other airborne infections, but it also has many other health benefits.
Garlic contains a compound called Allicin, which is not only responsible for its distinct smell, but can also get the credit for many of this food’s potent medicinal properties.
Nutritionally speaking, garlic contains at least a little bit of almost everything we need. However, it is particularly high in manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and selenium.
Furthermore, the antioxidants in garlic fight the damage caused by free radicals which contribute to the ageing process, while the anti-fatigue properties of this smelly, but tasty herb, may enhance exercise performance.
Long story short, adding these foods to your diet promotes longevity by supporting your body’s in-built ability to protect itself from chronic disease.
Since these foods are so affordable, easy to find, and have such an enhancing effect on the flavour of our food, we simply have no excuse not to enjoy them on a daily basis - so take the advice of Hippocrates and get healthy with these wholesome affordable foods!