By itself, inflammation is a very important part of the immune response in the human organism, playing a crucial part in the body’s attempt to heal and defend itself after an injury and repair the damaged tissue. This is what is known as acute inflammation, or the short-term “good” type of inflammation.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation is a long-term condition that can damage the body and is often linked to autoimmune diseases, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, cancer and cardiovascular problems. The possible causes for chronic inflammation range from excessive weight and lack of exercise to chronic stress and environmental pollution, meaning that there is a lot we can do to fight persistent inflammation and help our bodies heal and strengthen.
One good way to start is by eliminating junk food from our diet and increasing the consumption of healthy whole foods. Also, there are many natural antioxidant-rich herbs and spices with potent anti-inflammatory properties that you can add to your plate to curb inflammation and boost your health. Flavoring your meals with these herbs and spices will give you access to their unique medicinal qualities and make your food tastier without adding a single calorie!
Cloves are especially rich with eugenol, a compound which helps block enzymes which cause inflammation and prevents toxicity from environmental pollutants. Recent studies have shown that cloves also provide an unbelievably high amount of antioxidants, which puts them first on the list of most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs. You can buy them fresh or ground and add them to savory dishes and hot drinks.
Oregano contains rosmarinic acid, a strong antioxidant with an exceptional ability to fight inflammation and support immune system health. In fact, oregano is considered to be a better source of dietary antioxidants than most fruits, berries and vegetables. In addition, it also contains beta-caryophyllin, an inflammation-inhibiting substance that offers a plethora of benefits for people with osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis.
This yellow spice is one of the best spices you could use to enhance your health and it’s been used to treat wounds and infections by different cultures for centuries. Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with amazing anti-inflammatory effects that has been shown to reduce the risk of allergies, arthritis and cancer.
Besides being a staple of many Asian cuisines, ginger is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties that have been confirmed by multiple scientific studies. More specifically, the antioxidant effects of ginger have an ability to reduce the risk of osteoarthritis and several types of cancer by inhibiting the formation of inflammatory compounds. Its main active compounds, called gingerols, can help reduce the pain and improve mobility in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Thyme is pretty much a superstar in the world of herbs because of its antimicrobial, antibacterial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Thyme is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, A and B6, riboflavin, iron, manganese and copper. Thymol, the main active compound in thyme, has great antiseptic and anti-cancer properties and has also been found to significantly increase healthy fats throughout the cells.
Cinnamon contains a great amount of compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the risk of cellular damage and chronic disease, as well as alleviate the symptoms of the latter. Consuming it regularly helps lower blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of developing cancer by blocking abnormal cellular growth. In addition, cinnamon has been shown to have strong beneficial effects on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.