Often, when preparing a meal, the main priority is the food, and spices come second. But it’s crucial to remember the advantages of some spices while seasoning your meals when on an anti-inflammatory diet.
Anti-inflammatory Spice Basics
When you have arthritis, your joints and occasionally other parts of your body become inflamed. Several inflammatory pathways in the body are inhibited by various spices. A little bit of cinnamon may not seem like much, but when used consistently throughout the day, spices have a powerful effect.
“It can definitely have an additive effect,” says Beth McDonald, a nutritionist at The Centre for Health and Healing in the Department of Integrative Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. “If you do a sprinkle of cinnamon in muesli or a smoothie, have some ginger tea mid-morning and something with pepper and garlic for lunch and dinner, it can certainly have an additive effect.” Try experimenting with new recipes, and add an anti-inflammatory spice to each meal, she says!
“With that in mind, here are some anti-inflammatory spices to consider the next time you are in the kitchen.”
Avala: Amla has anti-inflammatory properties: Amla helps in reducing arthritis-related pain. Amla can be consumed fresh and uncooked or as a dried snack. Both are effective.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha may act as a pain reliever, preventing pain signals from traveling along the central nervous system. It may also have some anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, some research has shown it to be effective in treating forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Garlic: Almost any savoury recipe benefits from the wonderful presence of garlic. It includes diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory substance that reduces the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines, just like onions and leeks do. Garlic can therefore aid in the battle against inflammation and may even prevent arthritis-related cartilage degradation.
Turmeric: The substance that makes turmeric root active is called curcumin, and it inhibits two inflammatory pathways’ cytokines, and enzymes. Numerous human studies have demonstrated an anti-inflammatory benefit, which can result in less joint discomfort and swelling. The yellow spice is widely used in Indian curries and other foods.
Ginger: The compounds in ginger known as gingerol and shogaol suppress inflammatory pathways in the body. Although other research has not found this benefit, other studies have suggested that ginger, in addition to having anti-inflammatory qualities, can also alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Cinnamon: Both cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, which are present in cinnamon, have antioxidant capabilities that help prevent the cellular damage brought on by free radicals. Studies indicate that additional research is necessary before explicit recommendations concerning its use can be made.
Basic Advice for Using Spices.
Start with a modest amount of a new spice and add more once you’ve given your food a taste test. With the exception of cayenne, which should be used with a quarter teaspoon or less, most spices can be used anywhere from a half teaspoon to a whole teaspoon. “Fresh is best” is a wise maxim when it comes to spices. But experts assert that spices in bottles can also be potent. “Spices are already dehydrated, so the antioxidants are concentrated in a small, powerful amount,” says Larson.
Keep in mind the numerous foods you can spice up. They taste great on roasted or steamed vegetables, in soups and stews, and mixed with pasta, potatoes, rice, couscous, and quinoa.