The Healthy East Asian Pantry

Many of my recipes are inspired by Asian cuisines, mainly for two reasons. First, I tend to favor both the simplicity of homecooked Asian meal as well as the cuisines’ bold, fragrant flavors. And second, I am a raving fan of these cuisines, when homecooked especially, for containing so many immune boosting ingredients with health promoting benefits. So, naturally, my fridge and pantry often contain these essentials:

Bok choy – A powerhouse of vitamins C and E as well as immune building selenium, this vegetable is considered one of the most nutrient dense vegetables with extremely high anti-inflammatory properties.

Cinnamon – Its active compound, cinnamaldehyde has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. This versatile spice can reduce triglycerides and blood sugar level.Cloves – A commonly used spice in Chinese, Indian and Indonesian cuisine, they are anti-microbial. Also, they help to aid digestion and prevent systemic inflammation in the body.

Coconut oil – Rich in lauric acid, this oil is anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

Coriander leaves (aka cilantro) – Known as Chinese parsley, this herb is excellent for detoxifying the body of heavy metals. An anti-inflammatory herb, it can lower blood sugar level and cholesterol.

Coriander seeds – Very popular in Southeast Asian cuisines, their phytonutrients help to regulate blood sugar level, alleviate bacterial infections’ effects, soothe skin issues and enhance the digestive process.

Chives – Its active compound allicin is extremely powerful in lowering the risk of cancer in the digestive system as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Cumin – Very common in the Indian cuisine, this spice helps to enhance digestion and can also help to protect against some food borne illnesses.

Daikon – A white Asian radish, it is extremely high in vitamin C and is anti-microbial. When its juices are eaten raw (grated), it can help expel excessive mucus caused by respiratory illnesses.

Garlic – When ingested regularly, it can help to combat common cold infections, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and detoxify the body of heavy metals.

Ginger – Its whole host of anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants can help to combat nausea, common colds, and for some cancers, slow their growth.

Kai lan – Known as Chinese kale, kai lan is an excellent source of immune building vitamins A, C, and K.

Lemongrass – Its chemical, citral enhances the body’s ability to utilize immune building vitamin A. Having rubefacient properties, it helps to promote blood circulation.

Mint – An excellent compliment to basil and coriander in Asian dishes, mint has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that can help curb risks / symptoms of common colds and flus. It also aids digestion and eliminations of mucus.

Miso – A fermented soy paste commonly used in Japanese cuisine, it can help aid digestion and fill our gut health with friendly gut bacteria.

Rice vinegar – Essentially fermented rice, its high acidity level is antiseptic helping to eliminate pathogens. Also, it serves as a digestive aid helping the body to better absorb nutrients.

Seasme oil – Its active compound sesamin helps to lower cholesterol and detoxify the body of free radicals. Best to purchase it as cold pressed to ensure all nutrients are intact and not lost through processing.

Shitake mushrooms – Traditionally used as a Chinese medicine, these mushrooms help to regulate the immune system. It kickstarts our immunity in the face of pathogen invasions. And it can also regulate our immunity to not over-react to otherwise harmless allergens – conditions that can lead to allergies.

Star anise – A widely used spice in Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Indian cusines, this spice is anti-viral and anti-bacterial. In numerous clinical researches, it has shown to be effective in helping the body to fight against respiratory viral infections.

Turmeric – A little dash of this powerful spice goes a long way. Consumed regularly, its anti-inflammatory compound curcumin helps to curb pathogens and decrease risk of cancer, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Asian Spices & Ingredients

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Cecilia’s 5-Day Immune Boost Challenge was just what our family needed — and I didn’t even know we needed it. Our diet was already healthy, and built on organic, unprocessed and clean foods. However, I appreciated learning more about the...

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Cecilia is amazingly generous with her information and provides easy and brilliant tips in how to boost you and your family’s immunity through cooking. Cannot recommend her enough! – Andrea Sill, mother of toddler and elementary school child

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I just went for a cooking class focused with education on how to reduce inflammation. It was excellent… both the teaching part of it and the cooking class. Delicious and healthy. – Kristin Ann, mother of a toddler

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