It seems like everyone is trying to eat healthier today, which is a great trend to bring into your life. The problem is that it’s hard to tell the fads from the real thing when it comes to alternative ingredients to use you in your meals.
When you’re stuck between wondering what to use and what to leave out, here is a quick and easy rundown of 10 of the most amazing alternative health ingredients that you should be using daily and how they can change your life.
Healthy Alternative Ingredients for Your Diet
It’s an all-in-one powerful spice that is found in everything from your lattes to the pumpkin pie you love. But not only does it have a great flavor that enhances just about every food, but it also has excellent health benefits.
Cinnamon’s medicinal properties come from the cinnamaldehyde in it, which, while it doesn’t sound too healthy, is actually what makes it so impressive. This potent spice is an antioxidant that is commonly used as a natural way to lower blood sugar levels. It slows the breakdown of carbs and improves insulin sensitivity.
This mega spice also helps to fight inflammation, lower cholesterol, and improve triglyceride levels.
2. Valerian root
A lot of our mental tension comes from our physical bodies, and valerian root is a natural herb that helps reduce anxiety, hysteria, and over-excitability. The valepotriates and isovaleric acid are the reason for the calming sedative effect in the valerian root.
With all of these relaxing properties, it’s no wonder that this root is often used to help with insomnia. It also regulates the nervous system, though, so it can help with spasms that trigger pain from tension. Valerian root is used to calm period cramps and migraines, too.
3. Peppermint oil
From the gum you chew to the oils you burn, adding peppermint into your day is a remedy that has been used for millennia. But peppermint oil itself is used to improve pain that stems from irritable bowel syndrome, a chronic condition that millions of people all over the world suffer from.
Peppermint oil relaxes the muscles in your colon and reduces abdominal bloat. Other studies show that just the aroma of peppermint can be used to relieve nausea and chewing peppermint gum or candy can enhance your alertness.
If you eat a lot of Indian food, you’ve probably already got this spice in your diet. It’s commonly used in curry to create the yellow color, but more importantly, the curcumin in it is an incredible antioxidant. It’s used to fight damage to your body caused by free radicals, boosts your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, and reduces the signs of aging.
Curcumin is also used as an anti-inflammatory, so taking turmeric daily can help your body fight against many diseases. It is thought to improve brain function and fight Alzheimer’s, too.
Another excellent anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory herb is ginger. It’s commonly used in many foods, including salad dressing. Studies have shown that it can help reduce nausea if it is ingested early enough, so it’s a strong natural remedy for everything from morning sickness to chemotherapy. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties are also used to treat arthritis.
The health benefits of garlic are extensive and still being discovered, even though it has been used for hundreds of years as a medicine. While it’s definitely not good for use in toothpaste due to the allicin in it that gives it its smell, it does have a lot of other benefits, including its great taste.
Garlic is used to help improve the immune system and fight the common cold. It’s also used as a supplement to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
7. Cayenne pepper
Often used in spicy foods like chili, cayenne pepper has an ingredient called capsaicin in it. Capsaicin is used to reduce appetite and increase fat burn, so it is found in a lot of weight loss supplements. It’s thought to work best in people who don’t generally eat spicy foods, though.
Capsaicin in cream form is often used to reduce joint and muscle pain, lower back pain, and nerve pain.
Sage has been used as far back as records have been kept for its incredible healing properties. Today, it is thought to have the ability to improve brain function, helping avoid the cognitive memory decline that comes with diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Many studies have also shown that sage can be used as a supplement to help strengthen weakened bones due to osteoporosis. It’s also used to improve the quality of sleep, lower bad cholesterol levels, and reduce blood sugar levels.
Go ahead and add berries to every meal without guilt. These incredible antioxidants are a superfood that can neutralize free radicals that damage cells and lead to many chronic diseases. Your body loses its ability to make antioxidants as you age, so supplementing with spices that have antioxidant properties in them, vitamins, and foods like berries that are rich in these powerful ingredients can help you live your best life and fight aging.
10. Dark, leafy greens
Adding dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach to your diet is an easy way to get a load of vitamins, minerals, and more than your body needs. These superfoods contain a mixture of vitamin C, magnesium, folate, iron, antioxidants, and so much more. There’s a reason they’re called superfoods!
The great thing is that you can mix many of the herbs and spices into your leafy greens and make a healthy meal simply by replacing basic iceberg lettuce and other, not quite as healthy choices with these darker counterparts.
Live Your Healthiest Life Yet
You can pick and choose the ingredients you want to incorporate into your meals or add them all – either way, your body will thank you! Avoid processed and junk food, chemicals, and synthetic coloring, and use these amazing alternative ingredients to take your body to its optimal health today.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.