By Kelley Herring
When you hear the word “inflammation”, you might imagine stiff joints and sore muscles… or the redness, warmth and swelling that you experience around an injury.
In fact, the word itself comes from the Latin, “inflammatio” – to set on fire. Inflammation is also at work when a fever raises your core body temperature. The inflammatory response can also help your body neutralize and destroy harmful pathogens, damaged cells and other chemical and biological irritants.
Without these forms of “acute” inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal and your survival would be compromised. In other words, inflammation is a perfectly normal process. It is a cornerstone of your immune system and a foundational healing mechanism.
However, there is another kind of inflammation that often slips under the radar…
Inflammation: The Double-Edged Sword
As opposed to acute forms of inflammation, sub-clinical inflammation occurs within your body. And because it does not come with the obvious signs of swelling, heat or fever, this “chronic inflammation” slips silently under the radar.
And if left unchecked, it can cause or worsen nearly every form of disease. In fact, a 2009 study published in the journal, Inflammation Research, presented the case that chronic inflammation can be the root cause of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune illness, thyroid disorders and more.
What are the Causes?
The level of inflammation in your body can vary greatly. And it is influenced by a number of factors, including the amount of sleep you get, your activity level, the degree of stress in your life… and, of course, the foods you eat.
All of these factors add up to create your body’s “burden of inflammation”. And this burden can build up over time.
While eating an ancestral diet and living a healthy, low-stress lifestyle are the basis for controlling inflammation, new research shows there’s something you can add to your meals that makes them tastier… while slashing this “silent killer”!
Powerful Spice Blend Slashes Post-Meal Inflammation
Researchers at Penn State recently evaluated the impact on markers for inflammation when a spice blend was added to either a high-fat or a high-carb meal.
The researchers recruited 12 men between the ages of 40 and 65 who were overweight or obese and with at least one risk factor for heart disease.
Each participant ate three versions of a meal high in fat or high in carbohydrates on three separate days: One with no spices; one with 2 grams of spice and another with six grams of spice blend. The researchers also drew blood samples before and after each meal… and then hourly for four hours after the meal.
The lead researcher on the study said:
“Additionally, we cultured the white blood cells and stimulated them to get the cells to respond to an inflammatory stimulus, similar to what would happen while your body is fighting an infection. We think that’s important because it’s representative of what would happen in the body. Cells would encounter a pathogen and produce inflammatory cytokines.”
After the researchers analyzed the data, they found that inflammatory cytokines were reduced following the meal containing six grams of spices, compared to the meals either containing two grams of spices or no spices.i
Six grams is approximately one teaspoon to one tablespoon, depending on how the spices are dehydrated. In the study, the researchers used a blend of basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, oregano, parsley, red pepper, rosemary, thyme and turmeric.
And while the synergistic effects of the spice blend may be to credit for the anti-inflammatory benefits, researchers have long known that individual herbs and spices – especially turmeric, cinnamon and ginger – have powerful activity against inflammation in the body.ii,iii,iv
Spice Up Your Meals to Slash Inflammation Deliciously
By choosing to eat an ancestral diet – comprised of foods and nutrients that are naturally anti-inflammatory – you can go a long way to decreasing inflammation and its harmful effects in the body.
And to kick up the inflammation-fighting power, simply add more spice to your life!
Sprinkle your favorite spice blend over your meals, marinate your favorite foods and create sauces rich with herbs and spices. Here are a few meal ideas that pack an anti-inflammatory punch:
Pastured Chicken Thigh Curry with Turmeric & Ginger
Spice-Rubbed Grass-Fed T-Bone Steaks with Moroccan Chermoula
Roasted Wild Salmon with Basil Pesto
Wild Shrimp with Red Pepper Remoulade
Mediterranean Roast Lamb with Cinnamon & Cumin
Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Keto Breads – which includes more information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Keto Breads…
i. Connie J Rogers, Penny M Kris-Etherton, Kristina S Petersen, Ester S Oh. Spices in a High-Saturated-Fat, High-Carbohydrate Meal Reduce Postprandial Proinflammatory Cytokine Secretion in Men with Overweight or Obesity: A 3-Period, Crossover, Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa063
ii. Sciberras JN, Galloway SD, Fenech A, et al. The effect of turmeric (Curcumin) supplementation on cytokine and inflammatory marker responses following 2 hours of endurance cycling. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12(1):5. Published 2015 Jan 21. doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0066-3
iii. Gunawardena D, Karunaweera N, Lee S, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon (C. zeylanicum and C. cassia) extracts – identification of E-cinnamaldehyde and o-methoxy cinnamaldehyde as the most potent bioactive compounds. Food Funct. 2015;6(3):910-919. doi:10.1039/c4fo00680a
iv. Akinyemi AJ, Thomé GR, Morsch VM, et al. Effect of Ginger and Turmeric Rhizomes on Inflammatory Cytokines Levels and Enzyme Activities of Cholinergic and Purinergic Systems in Hypertensive Rats. Planta Med. 2016;82(7):612-620. doi:10.1055/s-0042-102062