Healing Powers of Your Work Pantry
By Stephanie Osfield. Stephanie is an award-winning freelance health journalist, an advocate of nutritional medicine and specialises in all aspects of health from exercise and disease prevention to stress, depression and women’s health issues.
When you’re busy with work you could do with some powerful medical allies to help you perform at your best. Fill the pantry or office drawer with these simple yet natural ingredients for your ultimate apothecary’s cabinet, right here at work.
Arm yourself with a work pantry or office drawer filled with potent remedies of spices, healthy oils and nutritionally rich plant foods, so next time you feel a cold coming on, or if you’re battling an illness or health condition that interferes with your work, open that pantry and look for the remedy you need. Read our list of star staples for health.
TURMERIC: For the brain, and to reduce inflammation of the joints
Get yourself into the Turmeric Latte craze! It’s the latest healing coffee buzz, a.k.a the “golden milk” because it is so great for your health. Add turmeric to your coffee, tea, or hot milky drinks, to hummus, sprinkled on veggies, and whenever you can in curries, scrambled eggs, scrambled tofu, soups and rice dishes. A little turmeric waiting for you in the office drawer makes sprinkling this ‘spice of life’ easy throughout your day. If you like to bake at home, add turmeric to your muffins, pancakes and oven-roasted chickpeas.
Notes: Turmeric helps reduce the build-up of damaging proteins in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease. Studies suggest turmeric can reduce the spread of breast cancer and joint swelling caused by arthritis. It may also reduce blood vessel growth in fat tissue, possibly halting fat tissue secretions that promote inflammation and further weight gain.
COCONUT OIL: Use for bad breath, pimples and high blood pressure
A combination of daily exercise and coconut oil intake can help reduce high blood pressure. Whether applied directly to skin, swallowed or used in a coconut oil pull (swishing oil around your mouth), coconut oil’s high levels of medium- chain fatty acids can help fight bacterial growth. At home, choose coconut oil for cooking, even when baking bread, oven-roasting vegetables or cooking pancakes, as it has a high smoking point, which means it maintains its health qualities when heated to high temperatures.
APPLE-CIDER VINEGAR: For nasal congestion, reducing appetite & lowering blood glucose levels
Add a tablespoon or two to a small glass of water at meal times at least once a day.
Apple-Cider Vinegar positively impacts the bacteria that live in your gut (belly microbiome). It also helps reduce heartburn, hay fever symptoms and skin problems such as acne and pimples.
HONEY: As a cough suppressant
Choose a good quality, organic raw honey for full medical properties to be received without the compromise of non-organic production. Honey is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and an effective cough suppressant. It can help reduce symptoms of allergy and can bring antibiotic-resistant streptococcus infections under control.
GINGER: To ease muscle pain, reduce asthma symptoms, alleviate arthritis pain
Store your sliced ginger in the fridge at work, and steep in hot water for a ginger tea. At home, add ginger to your smoothies and stir fries for that extra zing.
Benefits: Gingerols – the active component of the stem of the zingiber plant – inhibit an enzyme which causes inflammation. Gingerols block a particular pain receptor in the brain that responds to pain triggers such as heat and acidity. It may also help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.
OLIVE OIL: For boosting good cholesterol
Add a dash of cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil to pasta, dips, soups and salads. Olive oil compared to other oils has a higher satiety effect, keeping you full for longer. The more olive oil you eat, the less wrinkled your skin appears.
Other Benefits: Rich in healthy mono-unsaturated fatty oils, olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol and boosts good HDL cholesterol. It contains an anti-inflammatory compound which works in the same way as ibuprofen, so can be protective against dementia and type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease. These compounds also help to kill off cancer cells. It’s high in antioxidants and protects red blood cells from damage. This may be why olive oil appears to be protective against breast cancer.
SEEDS: Mood boosters, helps you sleep
Keep a range of seeds in a dark, cool cupboard or drawer at work, including flaxseeds, linseeds, pepitas, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Bursting with minerals, seeds can help you produce important neurotransmitters.
For women, rotating seed intake throughout the month helps stabilise oestrogen levels. Consider eating seeds like flaxseeds and pepitas in the first two weeks of your monthly cycle, and sesame and sunflower seeds in the remaining two weeks.
SALT: For infections
Keep salt in your drawer amongst your personals, and take to the bathroom with a glass of warm water to gargle and treat a scratchy, itchy or sore throat or bad breath.
At home, apply a warm homemade saline solution to the nose through a small syringe to help minimise cold symptoms and issues with bacterial build-up in mucus.
Note: Don’t overdo it. If you make the concentration of salt too high, it may cause burning that can worsen or trigger inflammation.