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Using Spices to Heal
Spices bring heat to a dish but can decrease heat and inflammation in the body. People who suffer from chronic inflammation, either from injury or illness, may find some benefit in including these anti-inflammatory spices in their meals or even as supplements. We’ve put together a list of spices known for their anti-inflammatory abilities.
Turmeric – Most commonly found in Indian cuisine, Turmeric is a root and contains the compound curcumin, known to reduce inflammation in the body. Turmeric is a spice in the grocery store but is also available in a supplement variety. Supplement turmeric is more effective if paired with black pepper. Interestingly you can grow turmeric in your own home and have it fresh!
Ginger – Most everyone knows ginger soothes an upset stomach. Like turmeric, it is actually the root of a ginger plant. You can grow this one at home too! It can be used powdered, chopped, ground, fresh, dried… even candied. It’s been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation.
Cinnamon – From the bark of cinnamon trees, cinnamon is not just an anti-inflammatory but also an antioxidant, antidiabetic, and antimicrobial and can lower your lipids in your cholesterol. It’s also great in most foods, not just cookies, cakes, and muffins.
Garlic – Garlic is not just delicious but anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Roast garlic with a little olive oil and the flavor becomes sweeter and more mellow. Add garlic to almost any dish for a most healthy experience.
Cayenne – Peppers have a compound called capsaicin that is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Capsaicin is the same compound that gives a pepper its heat, and it even helps with digestion. All chili peppers will provide this same benefit for these same reasons – capsaicin is a great tool for reducing inflammation. Warning: I suggest not using anti-inflammatory creams with capsaicin if you are fair-skinned.
Black Pepper – Black pepper doesn’t come from peppers but an Asian flowering vine. Peppercorn flowers leave behind a seed pod that can be dried up into peppercorns. These peppercorns are ground into black pepper. This ‘King of the Spices’ has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory and is especially effective in the early, acute stages of inflammatory issues.