Do you cook with spices? I bet you’ll want to after reading this post! Join me as I share what are the best anti-inflammatory spices. With plenty of recipe suggestions along the way.
I don’t think I share this enough but I LOVE traveling. And maybe 80% of this love comes from the opportunity to try new, well-spiced, foods. Luckily the US is catching on to the health benefits of spices (so I’m able to enjoy them more right in the heart of Texas).
And that is a key point I want you to walk away with. Spices not only make food taste more interesting, but they also make it healthier. In a LOT of ways (like helping you live longer) but in this post we’re focusing on how they reduce inflammation.
Yes indeed, spices come bearing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory gifts along with their rich history and flavor.
Naturally, as with anything that’s equally tasty and healthy, we’re going to get obsessed with spices on this blog!
What is inflammation, and why try to reduce it?
Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting itself from toxins and free radicals. However, when it keeps happening, it becomes chronic inflammation which can lead to more serious diseases. Heart problems, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression, are just some of the diseases that chronic inflammation has been shown to cause.
So in this post, I’m rounding up the best anti-inflammatory spices and more ways to add them to your diet. Yehaw!
How Do Spices Help Inflammation?
Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, spices are powerful in reducing inflammation. Seriously, they’re like a double-edged spoon of nothing but plain AWESOMENESS.
Along with boosting flavor, they elevate the anti-inflammatory factor of your meal. Here’s how: A promising study shows that using at least one teaspoon to one tablespoon of spices helps reduce inflammatory cytokines (the bad stuff) in a high-fat or high-carb meal.
A burst of flavor with inflammation damage control? Nature knows what she’s doing!
Does Turmeric Reduce Inflammation?
Dressed in a striking yellow, turmeric is the most popular anti-inflammatory and medicinal spice. It’s been used in India and ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Curcumin, its main active ingredient, carries most of the amazing benefits. We’re talking major good stuff for the brain and body.
Aside from turmeric’s anti-inflammatory prowess, it also has antioxidant, antibacterial, anticancer, and antiviral properties. Whew!
Want to know more about this golden spice of awesomeness? Here are 10 more reasons why you should be using more of it.
How Can I Use More Spices In Cooking?
It’s easier than you think! There’s an abundance of recipes (I’ll be sharing my fave ones below) that use a good mix of spices. But here are a few tips to start using more of them:
- Explore cooking more dishes from around the world: Try more recipes of Mediterranean, Mexican, Indian, Cajun, Italian, and Middle Eastern decent. You’ll naturally be using more spices.
- Use spice blends: I make a MEAN and CLEAN taco seasoning that includes at least 9 spices (it’s also great for stroganoff and fajitas). I suggest making your own blends. Store-bought ones contain lots of MSG, preservatives, and other unhealthy stuff you’re better off without.
- Buy In Bulk: This might come a little later when you’re more familiar with spices, but buying in bulk will save you $$ in the long run. This is a bonus on top of the fact that spices are generally quite affordable.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Experiement: A little chili powder sauteed in olive oil with your morning eggs? Do it! Cinnamon in your morning coffee creamer? Oh heck yes!
What Are The Best Anti-Inflammatory Spices?
In a world full of amazing spices, it was difficult to choose! But here are 7 of the healthiest, most anti-inflammatory, and also accessible spices you can start using more of. Most of them are probably already in your kitchen…
With such a color you know it’s got to be good. This golden spice is power-packed with anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, and even antifungal benefits! You’re bringing out the big guns with turmeric if you ask me. Studies prove it’s amazing for brain, heart, joints, and mental health too. A very relevant spice for us today.
What’s also relevent today? This 5-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan! I bring it up because it features our friend, turmeric, in the chickpea and kale buddha bowl. Eat this and feel better.
Another anti-inflammatory powerhouse, ginger, has widely been used for its medicinal properties. It helps lower blood sugar, reduce period pains, soothe sore muscles, and much more! You can buy it in powdered form or as a fresh root.
I cannot (just CANNOT) imagine a world without garlic. Can you!? Not only is it packed with anti-inflammatory properties but also essential nutrients with medicinal benefits. Boosted immunity, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol? Check.
Now, let’s talk about this Feta Burger with Garlic Aioli. Imagine a marriage between the creamy feta cheese with spinach and juicy beef. Top that off with zesty garlic aioli and it will make you wonder…where has this been all your life?
Cinnamon rules. And it’s more than just an addition to pumpkin spice lattes and fluffy amazing rolls. It comes in hot with anti-inflammatory properties. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be on this list! Practically magical spice dust that reminds you of snuggling up to your favorite couch. Ahhh.
If you’re looking for a healthy dessert that’s so good you’ll never forget…listen to me say these words: Healthy Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Greek Yogurt Glaze. I hope I had you at Maple Greek Yogurt Glaze.
Wherever you are, a taste of these cinnamon rolls brings you right back home. Warm, cozy, and happy home.
5. Black Pepper
This is a spice you likely use so much you might forget it’s actually a spice! Known as the “King of Spices”, thank you very much, black pepper is one of the most widely used and versatile spices. Piperine, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound in ground black pepper, may help reduce free radical damage.
Always a key ingredient in steak, pepper shines in this Creamy Balsamic Mushroom Sauce Over Grilled Steak.
Let’s get a little herby. Rosemary, an evergreen shrub, is a powerful antioxidant with high levels of vitamin B6, calcium, and iron. It’s best known to help in boosting the immune system, improving brain health, and blood circulation.
Rosemary pairs well with proteins like fish, steak, lamb, and chicken.
Uhhh, for your sake, please try this Rosemary Goat Cheese Pasta. The sauce is made with goat cheese, garlic, rosemary, and greek yogurt. It’s good good.
Cloves are great for spicing up baked goods, teas (hello chai), hearty soups, and savory stews. They have one of the highest antioxidant properties among spices, which will treat you well when it comes to reducing inflammation.
What Are Some Healthy Recipes With These Spices?
I hope this post helped inspire you to spice up your (kitchen) life! Here’s a few more well-spiced recipes to get you going:
- Tandoori Chicken | Healthy, Spicy, and Very Tender
- Quinoa Taco Bowl | Perfect For Meal Prep
- Sweet Potato Smoothie | With Cinnamon & Nutmeg
- Marinated Mushrooms | Bite-Sized Savory Goodness
- Flank Steak With Chimichurri Sauce | Fresh Herbs And Flavor
- Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce
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