Putting together a quick nutritious meal is easy when your cabinets are stocked with healthy staples. That’s why we took to HuffPost Healthy Living's Facebook page to ask: what is the one healthy ingredient you always keep around?
With so many great responses, we somehow managed to whittle the list to 15 essential, wholesome and versatile kitchen must-haves. Do any of these look familiar to you?
And tell us in the comments: what healthy items do you have stocked at home?
Used as a substitute for salad dressings or as a marinade, vinegar is a natural<a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622103820.htm"> fat fighter </a>according to the <em>Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry</em>.
Used in wraps, salads or as a side dish, Quinoa is a powerhouse seed that's high in <a href="http://missclasses.com/mp3s/Prize%20CD%202010/Whole%20grains/quinoa.pdf">protein, calcium and iron. </a>
Spices are helpful in the kitchen, but turmeric in particular is a health staple for its <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/turmeric-health-have-a-happy-new-year_b_798328.html">metabolism boosting, antibacterial</a> ways.
Pair it with rice for a whole protein. The possible health benefits of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/16/beans-health-benefits_n_1792504.html">beans</a> include lower blood pressure and decreased cholesterol levels. They are also known to regulate digestion.
A versatile ingredient,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/10/spices-health_n_1085099.html#s461530&title=Cinnamon"> cinnamon</a> (in small doses!) could reduce symptoms of headaches, boost memory and regulate blood sugar.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/23/tea-health-benefits-cancer-heart-disease_n_1826138.html">Tea</a> rehydrates, boosts immunity and is linked to anti-cancer activity.
Great as a healthy snack or part of a meal, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/03/health-boosting-nuts-you-should-be-eating_n_1252756.html">nuts</a> are worth keeping in your cabinet since they have been linked to decreased dementia risk, lower cholesterol, a boost in brainpower and more.
Used medicinally for health and beauty purposes, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/honey-health-benefits_n_1749243.html">honey</a> is a home essential. Research shows it may treat acne, aid digestion and provide relief from mosquito bites.
A nutritional powerhouse, wheat germ is a rich source of <a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5743/2">folic acid </a> that works well in granola, cereal, and as a flour replacement in many recipes.
Full of <a href="http://www.fitsugar.com/Health-Benefits-Flaxseed-8415863">omega 3s and antioxidants</a>, flax seeds can be incorporated into many dessert and bread recipes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Rich in potassium, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/shannon-kadlovski/boost-metabolism-food_b_873851.html">apple cider vinegar</a> is one ingredient you’ll be glad you have at your disposal -- it can even clear up skin conditions.
The ultimate seasoning, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leo-galland-md/health-benefits-garlic_b_900784.html">garlic </a>(and garlic extract!) might help strengthen the body’s defenses against allergies.
A significant source of dietary fiber, <a href="http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54">oats</a> contain hundreds of plant chemicals. Storing them at home means you always have a healthy breakfast at your fingertips.
Used for beauty maintenance and food preparation, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/coconut-oil-benefits_b_821453.html">coconut oil</a> offers a multitude of possible health benefits, including weight loss and a boost in healing bruises.
Perfect for everything from cooking stir-fry to taming tangled hair, olive oil is a kitchen must-have. It contains monounsaturated fatty acids that that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/02/heart-health-month-healthy-foods_n_1248169.html#s656554&title=Olive_Oil">promote good cholesterol. </a>