Certain foods containing natural anti inflammatory compounds can fight inflammation in your body and relieve pain, all without the use of drugs. Even better, many anti inflammatory foods make delicious additions to your meals, livening up your diet and healing your body all in one fell swoop.
The mother of all anti inflammatory foods is actually a spice called turmeric. Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange colored spice that is frequently used in Indian curries. It has a warm, peppery flavor that is slightly bitter. Turmeric has been used as a healing spice in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine systems throughout history due to its powerful effects on the body, which go far beyond just pain relief.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
While turmeric may best be known for its natural anti inflammatory compound curcumin that’s responsible for reducing muscle and joint pain, the bright yellow root has many other physical benefits. Turmeric is a powerful detoxifier and anti oxidant food. During one study, rats fed turmeric showed a dramatic increase in two liver detoxifying enzymes, suggesting that daily ingestion of turmeric may help mitigate the effects of dietary carcinogens (like pesticides, residue from plastic, and preservatives).
Turmeric has also shown promise in slowing the progression of neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, although researchers aren’t sure how the anti inflammatory spice functions in this regard. And turmeric has an additional litany of health benefits, from lowering cholesterol to cardiovascular protection.
With anti inflammatory effects comparable to over the counter drugs such as Motrin and none of the unsafe side effects, it makes sense to include turmeric as an integral part of your diet.
Tasty Ways to Eat Turmeric
Turmeric is perhaps most delicious when cooked up in a savory curry. Just make sure you use pure turmeric powder to make your curry as tests done on curry spice blends have shown that their content of turmeric is minimal, so you won’t get the full benefit.
Sprinkle turmeric on egg dishes, use it when sauteing vegetables, mix it into a homemade salad dressing or veggie dip. You can also use fresh turmeric root, which looks a lot like ginger root and is available at many health food stores, in vegetable juice in place of or in addition to ginger.
When I started drinking green veggie juices chock full of ginger, another powerful anti inflammatory food, and turmeric, I noticed pain relief within three days. Consuming fresh turmeric has the added benefit of keeping all the delicate enzymes intact, the full function of which we don’t fully understand yet. I have noticed that consuming whole foods in their raw, unadulterated form usually yields the most potent results.
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