“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”- Hippocrates
Go ahead and sprinkle anti-inflammatories over your dinner. While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Motrin, Aleve) are associated with gastric bleeding and kidney damage, anti-inflammatory spices have been associated with excellent cuisine for thousands of years. Turmeric, red pepper, cloves, ginger, anise, fennel, cumin, basil, rosemary, and garlic, are anti-inflammatory spices that decrease the harmful effects of inflammation and oxidative stress.
Every cell in the human body is damaged by unhealthy foods/chemicals, radiation, pollution, and carcinogens that cause inflammation. This damage is most evident when it is expressed as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, allergy, arthritis, asthma, psoriasis, osteoporosis, etc. While these diseases develop over years, other symptoms, such as malaise and aches/pains, are earlier signs of exuberant inflammation.
Certain spices (researchers call them phytochemicals) suppress NF-kB, the chemical link between inflammation and disease. Even when subjected to cooking temperatures, these spices maintain a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.
There are many ways to incorporate these anti-inflammatory spices into your diet. For example, turmeric can be added to sautéed vegetables or stir-fry dishes, fresh basil can be added to a green salad or to tomato sauce (along with garlic), or to tomato soup. Rosemary works great with roasted potatoes or chicken, and can also be added to an oil & vinegar dressing.
Until more scientific research informs doctors about using these phytochemicals in prescription doses, go ahead and spice your food liberally. Combining a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean meats with the above discussed spices is a major step in preventing the effects of inflammation.