If your supplement stocks are running low as the lockdown drags on, you might need to turn to your pantry cupboard for possible alternatives.

There are numerous common food ingredients and culinary products that might offer an additional benefit. Various herbs and spices may help to improve your health and may assist in maintaining your conditioning, while potentially boosting your metabolism or even enhancing your immunity.

Consider these common culinary ingredients and cooking products if you need an extra lockdown boost:

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains a host of beneficial compounds, such as acetic acid, which reportedly kills bacteria and lowers serum cholesterol.

It also contains a variety of antioxidants in the form of catechin, gallic acid, caffeic and chlorogenic acid, which offer a variety of health benefits.

Additional (unproven) claims suggest that ACV can aid and ease digestive maladies, treat acid reflux, reduce inflammation, regulate pH balance, alleviate allergy symptoms, ease nausea and heartburn, and detox the body.

What science has confirmed is that ACV can aid nutrient absorption from the food you eat and that that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and lower a person’s blood sugar response during and after meals, as well as lower fasting glucose levels, which may aid weight loss.

Black pepper

Black pepper can improve the oral bioavailability of various nutrients from whole foods, supplements and other herbs and spices, thanks to its piperine content. Black pepper may also help to regulate blood pressure and ease cold and flu symptoms.


Cayenne is used as a natural fat burner as it can boost thermogenesis to increase your metabolism.

It is capsaicin that gives the pepper its heat and studies suggest that it can raise your metabolic rate.

It may also improve circulation, boost the immune system and aid digestion. Cayenne pepper is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.


Cinnamon extremely versatile spice not only transforms the flavour profile of many dishes, but also delivers numerous benefits – it can help to regulate blood glucose levels, reduce inflammation, and also provides your body with iron, fibre and calcium.


This herb is often used in traditional medicine to manage diabetes. Animal studies confirm its effects on insulin and it also stimulates enzyme activity that helps to remove circulating glucose.

A study conducted on rats also found that the seeds helped to lower cholesterol, resulting in lowered total cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased high-density lipoproteins (HDL) levels.

Coriander is also a potent antioxidant that demonstrates immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects, and is also rich in dietary fibre and vitamin C.


Used traditionally to provide immediate relief from respiratory conditions, cumin has antiseptic and anti-mucosal properties. Cumin also helps to stimulate enzyme secretion in the pancreas, which in turn aids nutrient absorption and can aid natural liver detoxification.


Fennel purportedly aids digestion and may improve nutrient absorption because some of the essential oils contained in fennel seeds can stimulate various digestive and gastric processes.


Garlic is another potent ingredient revered for its many medicinal properties. Used extensively in cooking for its taste, it contains a multitude of potent compounds that impart health-promoting benefits.

It is also rich in nutrients, such as manganese, vitamins B6, B1 and C, selenium, iron, phosphorus and fibre.


Revered for gingerol’s medicinal properties, ginger has been used for thousands of years to reduce nausea, improve glucose metabolism and enhance circulation. It may also help to reduce inflammation, with potential applications in reducing muscle soreness and pain.


A fiery spice made from various peppers from the capsicum family. Paprika can elevate your metabolism, while also providing digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits. It contains iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.


This versatile, strong and full-flavoured herb is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can increase your metabolism. Rosemary may even help to fight off a cold or flu by boosting your immune system.


The main active ingredient in this superfood is curcumin, a bioactive compound that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is a potent antioxidant.

Turmeric may also slow muscle loss by inhibiting the conversion of amino acids into glucose, improve fat metabolism and glucose regulation, and may even offer pain relief.