Spicing Things Up to Combat Inflammation
By Stephen R. Farris
Early worldly explorers searched the shores of foreign lands in hopes of bringing back vast treasures such as gold and silver. However, that "gold and silver" sometimes came in the form of simple food ingredients that we use every day. For instance, peppercorn (black pepper) was once considered more valuable than gold, as was cinnamon, and even today, saffron is considered the same in its value.
Besides the fact that certain types of spices hold a higher monetary value, they were also sought after for their healing and/or recovery powers.
Many cultures from the Mayans, Incas, Aztecs, ancient Chinese, Hindu, and Caribbean have used spices for thousands of years to treat certain ailments, diseases, and injuries. Take, for instance, the Caribbean culture and the many spices they use to reduce the effects of inflammation.
One of the older and most commonly used spices produced in the Caribbean that is used around the world is cocoa and dark chocolate. Both of these contain flavanol, which contain anti-inflammatory properties in the form of antioxidants. Flavanol can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, and also help protect your blood vessels. Other spices from the Caribbean that help combat inflammation include:
West Indian cherry - West Indian Cherry is also known as acerola, which is known for its high levels of ascorbic acid -- also known as Vitamin C. It's also full of other anti-inflammatory compounds.
Pimento pepper - If you're like me, you probably have never heard of this spice. Pimento pepper is a cousin of sorts to the habanero pepper, but with less heat. Pimento pepper has been used in animal studies regarding inflammation, meeting with good success in the form of combating pro-inflammatory by reducing how much is released in obese rats. More human study is needed, but pimento pepper does contain flavonoids such as capsaicinoids, alkanoids, and others that could be linked to reducing inflammation.
Curcumin - Curcumin, commonly known as turmeric, is a spice used in Caribbean and Indian cooking for centuries. While more study is needed, curcumin (turmeric) is considered as an aid in combating inflammation and helping fight against diabetes, obesity, heart disease, bowel disease, and certain other types of diseases.
While we concentrated more on what the Caribbean has to offer, the point is that there are natural ways -- through spices and cooking with them -- you can try when it comes to fighting inflammation. There are many, many different types of spices available from around the world that can aid in protecting your health and well-being.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sugar Hill, Ga.