5 Spices for Autoimmune Health
Ginger, Sporty, Posh, Scary, and Baby may have been the most popular “spices” on the pop music scene in the late 1990s, but they’ve got nothing on Ginger, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Garlic, and Black Pepper — the spice stars of the autoimmune world.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE SPICES?
Spices are the dried aromatic parts of plants, including the root, bud, seed, bark, berry, or stigma, that are often ground by hand or by machine. Used in cooking to add flavor and depth to dishes, some are mild and some are pungent. Some are tasty alone, while others work best when combined in a medley. The list of available spices is extensive and everyone has their favorites (and least favorites, too).
WHY SPICES FOR AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE?
Chronic inflammation plays a major role in autoimmune disease, as either the cause or a symptom, and sometimes even both. To reduce symptoms and alleviate flare-ups, we need to manage and reduce inflammation through improved stress management, sleep quality, toxic burden, hydration, daily movement, and diet.
When it comes to that last one — diet — much has been written about what we should and should not eat to manage our symptoms. The AIP Diet goes into great detail about how food can be either healing or harmful to our bodies, and even our minds, as my fellow Autoimmune Sister, Kate Buckley, recently explained. But (the right) food isn’t the only non-prescription remedy you can find in your kitchen. Various spices boast both culinary prowess and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a great addition to many bio-specific AIP-sensitive diets.
WHICH SPICES ARE BEST FOR AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE?
Various studies have shown that spices not only add flavor and taste to food, but also offer a host of health benefits. For autoimmune sisters and warriors, spices with anti-inflammatory properties are the most beneficial to our healing and regularly incorporating a variety of anti-inflammatory spices into your diet will provide the greatest health benefit.
A recent Healthline article details the top 9 herbs and spices that contain active compounds shown to reduce inflammatory markers and, therefore, reduce inflammation, but these are my Top 5:
- Ginger (great in a stir-fry)
- Turmeric (most beneficial when combined with black pepper)
- Cinnamon (sprinkle in oatmeal, on gluten-free toast, or atop any roasted squash, pumpkin or sweet potato)
- Garlic (it’s not just for Italian dishes!)
- Black Pepper (universally tasty on just about anything)
Living with an autoimmune disease isn’t always easy and it often feels restrictive, especially when it comes to food. But it doesn’t have to be bland, too. Spice things up in the kitchen and live your best life yet. I shared my top 5 preferences, “so tell me what you want, what you really, really want, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really, really, really, wanna” (know) … Which autoimmune spice girl are you?!