If you have ever experienced pain in your joints – especially your knees, wrists, and fingers – they are most likely inflamed. The pain may range from very mild to almost debilitating and occur once in a while to every single day. Either way, finding pain relief can often be challenging but there are some specifics spices that reduce inflammation.
A person’s joints may become inflamed for a variety of reasons – arthritis and past injuries being the most common. I, personally, tend to be slightly accident-prone and hurt myself on a regular basis.
My most severe injury was when I dislocated my left ankle and broke it in three places. I, inevitably, needed to have surgery and required 8 titanium screws and 1 plate to put it all back together. That was over ten years ago and I find that there are days where I can barely put weight on it.
I started taking painkillers like naproxen or ibuprofen but found that they were extremely hard on my stomach. I knew I had to find some natural alternatives to alleviate the inflammation and pain and luckily, with a little bit of research I found some things that are extremely easy to incorporate in my diet.
I would like to share some of my findings with you in hopes that you can have some relief as well.
Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of a tree. It contains cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, both of which have antioxidant properties that can help with painful joints. It inhibits further cell damage from arthritic pain. Not only can it help to alleviate the pain, but cinnamon also is great for regulating blood sugar levels if you are managing diabetes naturally.
It is very easily incorporated into your diet. I add it to my oatmeal every single morning. You can also try it in smoothies, yogurt, baked goods or even swirl it into your ice cream! It is also very tasty in a hot cup of tea. Cinnamon also comes in supplements at most local pharmacies.
Garlic. For me, it goes into almost everything I cook and the mere smell of garlic cooking reminds me of my grandmother. She swore by it for almost every ailment she had. You had a cold – eat garlic. You had a wound – eat garlic. Your blood pressure was high – eat garlic.
The woman was smart, as garlic can also help reduce the pain in your joints. It suppresses the formation of nitrous oxide and prostaglandins which are behind the inflammation and pain.
I am a firm believer that fresher is better and that our bodies can process real, unprocessed food. Therefore, I invested in a quality garlic press that enables me to mince it quickly and with little effort.
Garlic is great with almost any meat, especially beef. Try an old trick from my father – when cooking a beef roast, make small incisions into the raw meat. Insert whole cloves of garlic directly inside. It adds great flavor and you can also reap the benefits.
Roasted garlic is also simple to do – cut the top off the head so the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and a bit of coarse salt and roast it for about 45 minutes at 275F in the oven until soft. The garlic becomes sweet and is amazing all on its own.
If you are not one that likes the flavor of garlic (hmmmmmm, not sure we can be friends), you can always take it as a supplement. There are odorless varieties as large amounts of garlic tend to come through your pores especially if you sweat.
Ginger has been used as an Asian medicine for centuries and for good reason. It has anti-inflammatory properties that are especially good for arthritic pain. It is among the foods that are beneficial to your immune system to keep you in overall good health.
Ginger is a naturally occurring root that has a slightly spicy component to it. It can be used in its ground form in your cooking or in tea.
Many people may find the fresh version slightly intimidating. I have learned to throw it in the freezer in a freezer bag. When I am ready to use it, I simply grate it on the fine side of the grater. There is no need to peel it or anything. It comes out fine and is lovely in a beef stir fry or to a cup of lemon tea for added benefits.
Cloves are a spice made from the flower bud of a tree called – you guessed it – a clove tree. They contain eugenol which helps to block an enzyme that causes inflammation. Consequently, they are one of the best spices to reduce inflammation.
Cloves are generally used in baking and fruit chutneys and jams. You can also poke them into a baked ham to alter the flavor. Another tasty addition I picked up from a South Sudanese friend of mine is to put two or three whole cloves in the bottom of your teacup. Add a bit of honey and you have an amazingly aromatic hot beverage.
#5. Cayenne Pepper
For those of you who like to spice things up a bit or even a lot, you want to be reaching for cayenne pepper. It can be used in its dried form or as a fresh pepper for that extra spicy punch. It contains capsaicin which has proved effective in treating inflammatory pain.
Not only can it be added to your diet, but the capsaicin from the cayenne pepper is also used in a skin cream. Because this can be applied directly to the skin, the effects can be more readily had and localized. Be cautious though – the cream should never be applied to broken skin or open wounds.
#6. Turmeric and Black Pepper
Pain relief is one of the health benefits of combining turmeric and black pepper. I use it every single daily because I do find it works best for me. I take turmeric in supplement form alongside a couple of fresh black peppercorns. It is essential that to gain the benefits of turmeric, you must combine it with the black pepper.
They can also be a part of your cooking but it takes a fairly large amount of turmeric to be beneficial and it can be an accustomed flavor for people. Try adding it to chicken soup, curries, or even making turmeric tea. It really is easy to reap the benefits of these two spices that reduce inflammation in your body.
Living with inflammation of the joints and pain can be difficult and often intruding in your life. Medications may be needed but may not always be the best choice because of the variety of side effects. Luckily, Mother Nature has provided us with some natural alternatives to alleviate that pain so we can get on with our day.