3. Joint Pain
Garlic – a potent anti-inflammatory, garlic is effective inside and out. Add garlic to cooking (or eat it raw, if you can, to get the most benefit). Click here for a few remedies that will warm and soothe painful joints while reducing inflammation.
Green Tea – all true teas (i.e., not herbal) contain anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Green tea has more flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) than other types of tea and it’s this substance that is a major contributor to green tea’s anti-inflammatory effect. (8)
Licorice Root – contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids that inhibit Lyso-PAF-Acetyltransferase, an enzyme that causes inflammation. (9) Licorice root can be taken in a capsule or drunk as tea. To make your own tea (rather than store-bought in a bag), add 1 teaspoon of licorice root powder to hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink. Licorice root is naturally sweet.
Cautions: in large amounts over time, licorice root can contribute to hypertension and low potassium. Pregnant and lactating women should not take licorice root.
With the environmental and food toxins to which we are daily exposed, we need to give ourselves a flush now and then to keep them from building up and causing harm.
Rosemary has antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Antioxidants in rosemary protect the liver from damage and can even promote healing of cirrhosis. (10) The liver is the body’s primary filter and everything you take into your body goes through it. Rosemary prevents damage from free radicals by activating the body’s own defense mechanisms. (11)
In addition to its particular hepatic effects, rosemary protects the brain, improving memory, cognition, and stalling the accumulation of amyloid-beta, a protein that leads to the plaque accumulation in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. (12, 13)
A hardy, aromatic herb, rosemary can be added to soups, stews, grilled proteins and vegetables, or taken as a tea.
5. Immune System Booster
Black pepper – piperine is a substance in black pepper with antioxidant properties. It’s been found to bind to immune cell receptors and increase cell viability. (14) In addition—and maybe more importantly—black pepper increases the bioavailability of other nutrients. The body can readily use many of the nutrients in food just as they are but some are more difficult to absorb. For example, turmeric is a super spice with many health benefits but is poorly metabolized as it is. Black pepper increases the body’s ability to absorb it by 2000%–a perfect pair.
Black pepper can be added as a spice in cooking or added as a finish to foods.
Turmeric – curcumin is the antioxidant pigment in turmeric that gives it the gold color. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that has been found to:
Combine turmeric with black pepper and coconut oil to reap its full benefits. Heat applied while cooking will also release the curcumin and other phytonutrients.
6. Reduce Belly Fat
Cayenne – this spicy spice is thermogenic (so is black pepper), meaning that it produces heat when you eat it. Thermogenic foods increase metabolism (even while at rest) so you burn more calories. Cayenne contains vitamins C, B6, E and minerals manganese and potassium, plus flavonoid antioxidants. (18)
Research at Purdue University found that:
“consuming red pepper [cayenne] can help manage appetite and burn more calories after a meal, especially for individuals who do not consume the spice regularly…Other studies have found that capsaicin, the component that gives chili peppers their heat, can reduce hunger and increase energy expenditure – burning calories.” (19)
Capsaicin is an antioxidant pigment in cayenne that aids in digestion as well. It has been found to stimulate bile and pancreatic enzyme production, heal and prevent gastric ulcers and gallstones, and break down proteins in the small intestine. (20, 21)
Mix ¼ teaspoon of cayenne and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of warm water and drink half an hour before breakfast to kick-start your digestive system and supercharge your metabolism.
Cinnamon – this is another anti-inflammatory super spice that can help with weight loss. It does so by stimulating insulin production to stabilize blood sugar levels, thereby improving cells’ insulin sensitivity so that glucose is absorbed by muscles for energy rather than being stored as fat. Cinnamon also regulates low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
You can find a recipe for a morning cinnamon tonic to assist with weight loss and detoxify your liver at the same time by clicking here.
Nature abounds with colorful, flavorful herbs and spices to make whatever you eat delicious and nutritious, supporting health in the process. The complexity and variety of plant chemistry can be targeted to help with whatever concerns you. You can find all of these ingredients at the local supermarket and all are easy to store in your pantry for whenever you need them. Spices add to the variety of life.