Looking to foster good gut health and reduce inflammation? The answer may be as close as your kitchen cabinet.
Ancient Ayurvedic practitioners were well-versed in using certain herbs and spices for their medicinal health merits. And now, modern medical researchers have proven their value in countless studies.
Here, we take a closer look at six herbs and spices that gut health experts swear by. Spoiler Alert: We’ve also included some links to recipes featuring a few of these flavorful gut health friends. So, keep reading because it’s time to get spicy!
When it comes to anti-inflammatory bragging rights, turmeric is a leader. This bright yellow spice is commonly used in Indian cuisine. Many of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits are attributed to curcumin, a polyphenol. Research shows it may reduce inflammation in the gut by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines. Want a beverage that’s brimming with this colorful spice? Head to our Gut-Loving Golden Milk Latte recipe.
Did your mom ever serve up ginger ale when you had a tummy ache? Turns out she was on to something. Ginger has long been used to alleviate nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness. It all comes down to ginger’s bioactive compounds and their anti-inflammatory properties. It may also reduce gas and bloating by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes. That’s why we included ginger in our top-selling Digestive Enzymes supplement. Or if you’re looking for an easy dish that’s rich with ginger, look no further than our One Pot Ginger Chicken Rice recipe. Hint: This recipe also has garlic, another gut-loving spice.
Who doesn’t love a dash of cinnamon? This warm and comforting spice may support the production of digestive enzymes, which can, in turn, reduce bloating, gas, and indigestion. According to EatingWell.com, cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which can help counteract inflammation, regulate blood sugar, and has antimicrobial properties that may help improve your gut microbiome.
Just smelling this herb can help you relax. Peppermint has got real cred when it comes to soothing digestive issues. In fact, one study found its main compound, menthol, may reduce markers of gut inflammation in people with irritable bowel syndrome. Gut health experts say peppermint may ease abdominal pain and spasms by affecting contractions of smooth muscle in the gut.
A Mediterranean dish feels naked without a dash of this fragrant herb. Next time you’re gobbling up that spaghetti or pizza sauce, you can feel good knowing that it’s been shown to support respiratory, gut, and urinary tract function. A growing body of research shows that oregano oil supports a healthy microbiome, helps balance blood sugar, and offers antioxidant protection.
Did you know that in many parts of the world, it’s common to chew on a bit of fennel after a meal to aid with digestion and relieve gassiness? That’s right, fennel has been shown to help with digestion by reducing inflammation in the bowels and decreasing bacteria that cause gassiness. Fennel seeds give a sweet licorice-like taste to curries, stews, bread, desserts, and beverages. To make tea with fennel seeds, you’ll only need about 1 teaspoon. Simply crush or grind before adding to tea water.
Adding these herbs and spices to your diet can help promote gut health and reduce inflammation. But don’t stop there!
It’s important to eat a variety of fruits and veggies, limit ultra-processed foods and added sugar, manage stress, and get enough sleep. Head to our blog page for more information about food, finding balance, holistic hacks, and more.
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4 Molecules. 2021 Jan 8;26(2):283. doi: 10.3390/molecules26020283. PMID: 33429991; PMCID: PMC7827761.