Two of the most common forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), may produce a chronic low-grade inflammation in the body that can also affect the immune system. While there are medications that control this problem, some NSAIDs and pain medications have side effects that can be equally disruptive to quality of life. If you’re looking for a more natural and flavorful way to keep tissue swelling and arthritis-related discomfort in check, consider the spices discussed below.
A very strong antioxidant, curcumin is the powerful compound in this popular spice that primarily gives it some impressive anti-inflammatory properties. In a study involving RA patients, curcumin was more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug some subjects were taking.
2. Black Pepper
Another popular and well-researched spice, black pepper has both pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. According to one study involving piperine, the ingredient that produces black pepper’s sharp taste, it may be almost as effective for arthritis sufferers as prednisolone, a common arthritis medication.
Tip: Black pepper can help with the absorption of curcumin. Consider using these two spices together on things like roasted veggies and scrambled eggs.
Studies suggest cinnamaldehyde, the active ingredient that gives cinnamon its flavor and pleasant aroma, may disrupt the process that leads to the formation of certain inflammation-related chemicals. Cinnamon also helps maintain the body’s insulin sensitivity, which can keep inflammation levels in check. Because of the versatility of this spice, it can be enjoyed in many different ways, even in your morning cup of coffee.
For inflammation protection with bold flavor, add garlic to your favorite egg and pasta dishes. If you slow roast it, you’ll also be treated to mild sweetness. It’s the sulfur compounds in garlic that keep proteins linked to inflammation from becoming active.
Normally used for upset stomachs, ginger can also help minimize the inflammation associated with arthritis. There’s a study suggesting that polyphenols found in ginger may minimize the pro-inflammatory cytokines the body’s immune system produces in response to inflammation. Honey and lemon can be added to some recipes with ginger included to boost the flavor.
One of the wonderful things about turning to spices for arthritis inflammation management is the many ways they can be incorporated into your diet. Turmeric, for example, can be combined with chopped garlic and lime juice, which also has anti-inflammatory properties, ground cinnamon, and cucumbers to create a healthy and tasty boneless and skinless chicken dish. Complement it with a fresh herb salad and you’ll be upping your intake of nutrients that are also good for your immune system.