If you’re living with arthritis, you may want to add some spices when you’re cooking your next meal. Why? Because spices can help with reducing chronic inflammation.
As part of a holistic treatment plan that includes physical therapy, medication, and stem cell therapy, an anti-inflammatory diet can be a powerful way to improve arthritis-related pain and joint stiffness.
The Arthritis-Inflammation Connection — And How Food Helps
There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions that doctors have identified, but by far the most common is osteoarthritis. This type is caused by an age-related breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your joints. When cartilage wears out, it results in bone-on-bone friction between the joints — and inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, disease, infection, or other types of stress. No matter what type of arthritis you have, the condition as a whole is characterized by joint inflammation, which can become chronic. Although there is currently no cure for arthritis, reducing chronic inflammation can help you improve the aches, stiffness, and pain that come with it.
While anti-inflammatory medications are a common treatment for arthritis, certain foods can also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Conversely, some foods can promote inflammation in the body. This is why doctors recommend avoiding processed sugars, saturated fats, alcohol, red meat, and fried foods if you have been diagnosed with arthritis.
Along with anti-inflammatory staples such as berries, leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, avocados, and olive oil, researchers have identified many herbs and spices that can also help fight inflammation if you are dealing with arthritis.
The 7 Best Natural Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices
Whether you use it as a cooking ingredient, a seasoning for an already cooked meal, or even as a supplement, these herbs and spices can be a powerful addition to your anti-inflammatory diet:
1. Black Pepper
Starting with one of the most common spices that is usually found in every kitchen and table, black pepper actually has significant anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to antioxidant properties, a key component of black pepper called piperine is also associated with reducing inflammation. Black pepper can be particularly effective when combined with turmeric and ginger, two other anti-inflammatory herbs we’ll discuss more below.
Whether you are sprinkling it on your meal or adding a little spice to nearly any recipe, you can’t go wrong with black pepper.
Garlic is a great and tasty way to flavor almost any meal, but garlic and its cousins the onion and the leek also contain diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound that can keep your painful symptoms in check and also slow down the progression of your condition.
Turmeric is one of the most beneficial spices to add to your food or take on its own because it contains the active chemical curcumin, which can help block cytokines and other inflammatory enzymes. Turmeric is often found in Indian dishes, but it is also yummy in soups, stews, and chilis. As noted before, researchers have found that it is especially potent when combined with black pepper and ginger.
Like garlic and turmeric, ginger helps to reduce the body’s inflammatory response. Use ginger in both sweet and savory dishes, and if possible use it in its fresh form. Ginger tea is also especially beneficial and good for digestion.
For centuries, clove has been a common ingredient in natural remedies for everything from stomach aches to chest congestion — but it may also be an anti-inflammatory. Research is still ongoing, but there is good preliminary evidence that clove may help fight inflammation. Along with adding a rich and unique flavor to roasts, baked goods, and stews, clove can also be added to cider and tea.
6. Cayenne and Other Chili Peppers
Hot peppers are chock full of natural compounds called capsaicinoids. These compounds are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Add them to kick your sauces, marinades, and dry rubs up a bit. Make sure to start slowly if you don’t have a high tolerance for heat!
Cinnamon is also thought to have some anti-inflammatory benefits, but these benefits are not fully understood for those living with osteoarthritis.
Adding spices can also benefit individuals living with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions, but not all spices are good for all conditions. For example, those living with lupus should avoid garlic because it can amp up the body’s immune response.
When adding spices to your food, fresh is best if available. Don’t be afraid to season your favorite sauces, soups, and other dishes and see if your joints benefited.
Contact Innovations Medical to Learn About Treatment for Arthritis Symptoms
If you’re looking to fight arthritis-related inflammation, Innovations Medical is here for you with state-of-the-art stem cell therapy. Our skilled professionals help you decide which treatment is best for you – keeping you informed and confident in the next steps. We’ve been helping our patients look and feel their best since 2005, and even our most advanced procedures are often minimally invasive.