Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices for a Longer and Healthier Life

Inflammation is a popular topic when discussion turns to health problems. Some inflammation is a good thing as it is a major part of the way our bodies respond to and fight off infections from bacteria and viruses. Sometimes, however, our body's own natural defenses go overboard and trigger an inflammatory response when there is nothing foreign for it to attack. This is the defining characteristic of what are known as autoimmune diseases. Some types of arthritis are one of the most common diseases attributed to our own immune systems malfunctioning and inflaming our own healthy tissues.

Herbs and Spices

Mother Nature to the Rescue

Those who wish to live a healthy and long life frequently try to incorporate foods with anti-inflammatory properties into their diet. Luckily, Mother Nature provides us with an impressive arsenal of herbs and spices that help keep inflammation in check. Seven of the most powerful anti-inflammatory spices and herbs are:

  • Ginger – It can be purchased as a root or in powdered form, and it has been used in traditional medicine to deal with conditions such as headaches, infections and upset stomach.
  • Cinnamon - With some healthy foods, it seems half the battle is getting people to eat them. Cinnamon has the advantage of being a particularly delicious spice that many of us like to add to baked goods. Studies have shown it to have anti-inflammatory properties and to reduce swelling.
  • Cayenne - For those who like their food both healthy and hot, cayenne is the perfect spice. It has long been used to help with digestive issues, and in keeping with its anti-inflammatory properties, it has now been shown to ease pain from headaches and arthritis. If Cayenne pepper is a little too hot for your tastes, you can substitute black pepper, which has some similar properties.
  • Garlic - Garlic is a powerhouse when it comes to its medicinal uses. Beyond just anti-inflammatory attributes, garlic is known to combat sickness in general, including the common cold, and it contains compounds that can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. It is so tasty that it is easy to incorporate into almost any meal, and it's such a potent medicinal food that Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, prescribed it for a variety of medical conditions.
  • Cloves - They contain a compound that is even more powerful than those in cinnamon when it comes to fighting inflammation. It works by targeting the same inflammation causing enzyme that is targeted by NSAIDS, and cloves are extremely abundant in antioxidants, which makes them a very healthy food overall.
  • Rosemary – This is great to use for flavoring roasted meats and vegetables. While enjoying the flavor, you can also relish in the fact that it stimulates superoxide dismutase activity, which is an enzyme that fights superoxide. This is a free radical that is linked with chronic inflammation.
  • Turmeric - When it comes to saving the best for last, no herb or spice may be more deserving of that than turmeric. Curcumin is the compound in Turmeric that is mainly credited with its medicinal properties. It is so effective that it's used as the main ingredient in many all-natural pain relievers. This food is so incredible that, in addition to it being an extraordinary anti-inflammatory, numerous scientific studies over decades have confirmed that it is a powerful antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and even anticancer compound.


Why You Need to Incorporate Anti-inflammatory Foods in Your Diet

Inflammation is a major problem for many people as our Western diet is loaded with sugars, carbohydrates and other things that are thought to exacerbate an inflammatory response in our bodies. In addition to the specific condition of arthritis, inflammation is sometimes the cause of fever, chills, fatigue, headaches and muscle stiffness. It also harms the gut and is linked to heart disease and a higher risk of cancer. There have also been findings that pregnant women should try to reduce inflammation for optimal health and development of the child. Of course, even if you are considering domestic infant adoption, it is important to eat healthy in order to be there for your child as long as possible.

You should make an effort to incorporate these herbs and spices into your diet by integrating them into meal preparation. Whenever you are eating Italian food, be sure to have garlic bread, and don't be sparing when adding the garlic. French toast may not be the healthiest thing in the morning, but if you find yourself enjoying some anyway, load it up with cinnamon. With minimal attention to meal preparation, you can keep yourself and your family healthier and active for a longer and more enjoyable life.

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