How to Fight the Fire of Inflammation with Spices
If you're alive and breathing, it's likely you have some level of chronic inflammation going on in your body. We live in a world filled with inflammatory assaults on our bodies:
- Processed foods
- Artificial ingredients
- Polyunsaturated oils (corn, soybean, canola, safflower, sunflower, etc.)
Add lack of sleep, too much stress, not enough fruits and veggies, and you soon have a chronic smoldering fire within. When unchecked, low-lying chronic inflammation can erupt into any number of diseases.
I'm going to show you how spices can help.
Chronic inflammation is a complex condition involving multiple biological pathways in your body.
One very important pathway is NfKb, a protein in your cellular membranes. When it is activated by inflammatory foods, toxins or even stress, NfKB signals your genes to produce pro-inflammatory compounds.
Some inflammatory pathways can have both protective and destructive functions, such as COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. While these enzymes form pro-inflammatory compounds including prostaglandins and thromboxanes, they are also critical to healthy digestive and blood clotting processes
Drugs such as NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) and COX-2 inhibitors target these pathways. They often have bad side effects when they inhibit beneficial as well as destructive functions of these enzymes.
Spices are special, as they are loaded with compounds that reduce inflammation safely.
They work their magic by blocking multiple molecular pathways of inflammation in your cells and genes, whereas most drugs target only single pathways.
Unlike anti-inflammatory drugs, they work in harmony with your biochemistry, providing many side benefits rather than dangerous side effects.
Spices also function as powerful antioxidants, stimulating your body’s production of antioxidant enzymes and mopping up free radical damage unleashed by inflammation.
No drug ever invented in a lab is capable of this dual benefit – antioxidant AND anti-inflammatory -- certainly not NSAIDs or other pharmaceuticals. This is the genius of plants and nature.
How much spice do you need to promote a healthy inflammatory response?
Researchers at the University of FL in Gainesville and Penn State conducted an experiment to find out if a culinary amount of spices in food would have an anti-inflammatory effect.
While spices show amazing antioxidant activities in test tube studies, they wanted to know if and how they work when actually eaten.
They set out to determine the bioavailability -- whether the active ingredients in spices and herbs are effectively absorbed in the body – using practical quantities of that people might eat on a regular basis.
To do so, they tested 10 groups of people eating 10 types of spices for seven days.
Michael Gregor, M.D. of Nutritionfacts.org reviews this research:
At the end of a week, they drew blood from the people eating the different spices. They subjected the blood to an inflammatory insult and measured the amount of TNF the white blood cells produced in response.
TNF, or tumor necrosis factor, is a pro-inflammatory molecule called a cytokine made by your body. It can be used as a measure of inflammation in the body.
Elevated TNF is associated with a number of inflammatory conditions including insulin resistance, obesity, cardiovascular disease, Crohn's disease, and cancer.
They found that turmeric, ginger, clove and rosemary significantly stifled TNF in the blood of spice eaters. Compounds absorbed from these spices were able to protect white blood cells from inflammatory injury.
In fact, as little as 300 mg of turmeric, taken daily for a week, improved blood markers for inflammation.
You can get this amount of turmeric daily from one serving of Golden Goddess® Turmeric Chai or Turmeric Chocolate Elixirs.
In addition, there are hundreds of other studies examining the effectiveness of compounds found in spices, such as curcumin extracted from turmeric and gingeroals extracted from ginger.
These concentrated spice compounds – in far higher amounts than you would get from diet alone – are successfully shown to relieve a wide range of chronic inflammatory conditions. I'll cover some of these in later posts.
But for now, rest assured that the amount of spices in each serving of Spice Pharm Golden Goddess elixirs has proven physiological benefits. Enjoy a daily dose!