Here are a few of my favourite nutritional pantry items/essentials that I could not survive without especially in my raw recipes, along with some of their important health benefits.
Did you know that almonds are the most nutritious of all nuts? The best way to eat them is in their raw, unblanched state to maintain all of their vital nutrients. Nuts that have been soaked overnight is the best way to consume them as they are brought to life and their anti-nutritive factors (phytates, tannins and enzymes inhibitors) are removed.
- They are high in the ‘good’ monounsaturated fats, which are known to reduce the ‘bad’ cholesterol int he blood which contributes to cardiovascular disease.
- They are high in vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant that supports the brain, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
- Also a great source of magnesium- for healthy muscle and nerve function.
- They’re an excellent source of zinc, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, phytochemicals, biotin, riboflavin, niacin and iron.
Like all nuts, the cashew nut is best consumed raw. I use these quite frequently in my raw cakes. They best consumed after being soaked overnight
- High in monounsaturated ‘good’ fats (oleic acid).
- High in dietary fibre and energy dense- therefore very satisfying (however it’s recommended eating a small handful of nuts a day for this reason).
- Rich source of copper which aids in energy and melanin production.
- Good source of antioxidants which help eliminate free-radicals that can damage cells and contribute to cancer.
Quite often used in raw dessert recipes as a sweetener alternative to refined sugars. The medjool date is high in several vitamins and minerals such as :
- Magnesium- for healthy nerve and muscle function.
- Potassium- which can offset the effects of sodium and associated high blood pressure.
- Manganese- assists in wound healing.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin); B5 (Pantothenic acid)- important for proper metabolism and B6 (pyridoxine)-which assists in healthy red blood cell production.
Many years ago, the cacao bean was considered by the ancient Mayans, ancient Aztecs and Incans as sacred. They have known about the amazing healing properties of the chocolate and they have used them in their daily cultural rituals as well as in their healing habits. The seeds were also used as money as it was considered so scared. Unlike conventional chocolate which is the heat treated and processed, raw cacao is the purest untreated form of chocolate which is known as cocoa. Considered a super food- the benefits from keeping untreated cacao means that valuable nutrients are retained such as:
- Good fatty acids, vitamin C, tryptophan and serotonin (feel good hormones) which help reduce depression and gives a mild sense of euphoria and mood uplifting.
- It is considered as a mild aphrodisiac and has been found to increase one’s sexual appetite after consumption.
- Acts as a natural stimulant- reducing chronic fatigue by boosting energy levels.
- High in antioxidants- cancer protective properties.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding where coconut oil stands in regards to it’s nutritional benefits for it can get a bad wrap-up as it’s known to contain large amounts of saturated fats- 92% to be precise. However, the fats found in coconut oil actually have a beneficial effect in the body as they consist of small and medium chain fatty acids which are easily assimilated. It also provides the following benefits:
- Stimulates the thyroid gland, balancing hormones
- Stimulates the metabolism, increasing weight loss
- Reduces stress on the pancreas, improving insulin secretion and blood sugar levels
- Improves digestion and gut related problems
- Increases immunity with it’s antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal properties
- Prevents kidney and gallbladder disease- dissolves kidney stones and gallstones
- Reduces mental fatigue and stress applied topically on the head
- Improves mineral absorption, thereby helping prevent osteoporosis
The Goji berry is an ancient berry native to China. Common health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, fever and age-related eye disorders have improved with the treatment of this berry. They are classified as a ‘superfood’ due to their powerful antioxidant content and their cancer preventative compounds. Antioxidants help boost immunity, lower cholesterol and slow down the ageing process by protecting cells from free radicals which can damage DNA, causing abnormal cell growth and age related diseases.
- Encouraging weight loss
- Counteracting toxins
- Purifying the liver
- Increasing mental alertness
- Lowering blood cholesterol
- Fighting viral infections
- Treating radiation sickness
- Enhancing blood cell regeneration
- Stabilising blood sugars
- Strengthening the immune and nervous systems
- Removing toxic metals such as lead and mercury from the body
- Improving wound healing