Any nutritionist would encourage you to eat anti-inflammatory foods. Take a look at The Food Medic podcast, the Delicious Ways to Feel Better podcast, Doctor's Kitchen, or even the Belgian podcast ladies of Zonder Zever. They are all talking about how food is THE medicine for a healthy body and mind. In our western diets and lifestyle, we like to take supplements or pills, but the number one best thing we can do for our health is to eat the right food next to exercise, a good night's sleep, and avoiding stress.
What does this have to do with anti-inflammatory foods? Our body naturally produces free radicals in our cells. If our immune system can't fight them, they turn into chronic inflammation. When we're young, our body can fight off these free radicals by its own. The more years we have under our belt, however, the more our immune system can use a little help. That's where anti-inflammatory foods come in. That includes lots of fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs and spices, including green tea and matcha. It's herbs and spices that we want to touch upon in this article.
Before we dive into the specific foods or nutrients, here's a quick explanation of what anti-inflammatory means. Anti-inflammatory foods are foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants. As a result, they have a high nutritional value and positive impact on the immune system, cardiovascular system, and our bodies and brains in general.
Oh, and these foods don't only carry hundreds of benefits, they are also delicious.
Let's start with one of the most anti-inflammatory spices out there: Turmeric. Turmeric, and most specifically the active compound curcumin, is a proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Not only is it a strong anti-inflammatory, but some studies have found links with improved brain function, reduced risk of heart disease, and even fighting Alzheimer's. Preferably buy it organic, chop it and add it to your tea, or make golden lattes.
You can also buy it in powder and add it to curries and stews. Disclaimer: We're not responsible for the orange stains on your fingers 👀
Tip: Always add some pepper to your turmeric dish. Curcumin needs pepper to be absorbed properly in the body.
If you're holding something in the supermarket that looks like turmeric, but it's not, then it's probably ginger or some really old carrot. Ginger is a peppery spice used in many cuisines, especially in Asia and the Middle East.
It's well-known for its positive effects on our digestion and to treat stomach aches, nausea, and even pain and infections. It's unquestionably a proper immunity booster, and the good news is: Matcha Boutique's Matshots include ginger. Just like turmeric, you can buy it as a fresh root or in powder. If it stings in your throat, it's good quality.
Clove is a spice that, just like matcha, is delicious in a latté. Clove has been used in Asian medicine for decades.
They are not only antibacterial and full of minerals and vitamins that regulate your blood levels, they also have a lot of fiber in them. Cloves treat diarrhea, nausea, hernia, bad breath and help with coughs. Add it to smoothies, rice, tea, and desserts.
We've made it to our green gold. You might think we're exaggerating by calling it green gold, but trust us, we're not. Including matcha in your daily diet increases your antioxidant intake, which can help prevent cell damage and even lowers your risk of various chronic diseases. In addition, it improves brain function, prevents various cancers, contributes to heart health, protects the liver, and detoxes the body. Besides, it's delicious.
In the audio fragment below Servaas Bingé, a general practitioner and sports doctor from Belgium, explains (in Dutch) why matcha is such a powerful herb and why you should include it in your morning routine.
Unlike green tea, when you drink matcha, you consume the entire leaf, which has essential nutritional implications, as nothing from the plant goes to waste.
Tip: Always look at the color of your matcha leaves. It has to be as green as freshly watered grass. If it has a dull color, then the matcha is not qualitative, meaning that the health benefits will also be more limited.
Cinnamon is not only a delicious baking essential, it also lowers our blood sugar. In addition, cinnamon possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can ease swelling, treat or ease illnesses such as inflammation, diabetes type 2, and it can even lower cholesterol. What's not to like?
Beware: if you eat cinnamon often (which we would recommend, I mean did you read the benefits?), it's best to get Ceylon cinnamon as regular cinnamon can be poisonous in high amounts.
Other foods and spices full of antioxidants that deserve mention are oregano, coriander, cumin, parsley, and garlic.
If you eat a healthy, whole foods diet, it's likely that you are already consuming many of the foods mentioned in this article. But, if you're not, it might inspire you to add more power to your food.
Disclaimer: If you feel unwell or have an illness, always consult your doctor. Do not use herbs and spices as your only treatment without consulting a specialist.