We often find ourselves indulging in the sorts of goodies that we should really stay away from.  We also convince ourselves that there is a good reason to go overboard: family socials, elaborate Christmas dinners, year-end work functions, and so on.  Waking up the next morning with a sore tummy or swollen joints, however, is the painful reminder that you really should not have had that extra slice of pie.

How do you ensure that your body does not suffer permanent damage?

The first is to ensure you still maintain your healthy diet.  You need to take your vitamins & supplements daily and regularly.  Then you can ask yourself, “What additional ingredients can I add to my diet to help me naturally?”

The image shows a table of various food and snack platters, commonly served at social gatherings.
Cartoon image of a person with an injured knee.

Yes, I am speaking of natural remedies.  How do they help?  First, let’s take a look at what they are most commonly used for:

  • Indigestion;
  • Pain relief; and
  • Anti-inflammatory uses.

What is inflammation exactly?  It’s the body’s way of protecting itself after an injury or irritation.  Have you ever walked past a table and bumped your thigh?  It swells and turns red, and later turns blue.

This is inflammation, like swelling, and it’s the body’s way of starting the healing process.  The area around will be sensitive and inflamed (swollen).  This is an example of acute inflammation.

But there is also chronic inflammation.  This is a symptom of long-term diseases like osteoarthritis, asthma, sinusitis, and fibromyalgia.  Certain areas of your body remain in an inflamed state for long periods of time, often years.

Eating a diet that includes natural anti-inflammatories may help you manage your inflammation issues to live a more comfortable life.

How does an anti-inflammatory work?  They block the enzymes that cause pain and inflammation.  In other words, they help the body to switch on it’s own natural anti-inflammatory response.  There are many natural anti-inflammatory ingredients that you can use to enhance your well-being.

Turmeric ( Curcumin)

Turmeric is the powered yellow spice that is usually found in the spice isle at the grocery store.  In its raw state, it looks like a ginger root.  It is widely used by Indians to flavor their curries, and often to just add color to their many other dishes.  It is also used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines.  The yellow pigment in Turmeric is called Curcumin.  Curcumin is the natural anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.

The image shows tablespoon servings of ground turmeric and ginger.

Add a little turmeric to your rice as it is boiling, it changes the color to yellow.  Add a piece of the raw turmeric to your health shakes.  This is great for cancer prevention.  Turmeric powder is also used to stop bleeding on an open cut.

An interesting bit of trivia: when Hindus get married they have a Hurdhree Ceremony (hurdhree is the Hindu name for turmeric).  A paste is made with sandalwood oil, raw turmeric (ground), and rose water.  This paste is then applied to the bride’s body.  It is known as a cleansing ceremony and gives the bride a beautiful glow.

The image shows a small pile of ginger supplement capsules.

Ginger

Ginger is another spice that can be used to treat a variety of pain and inflammation issues.  It’s use in herbal medicine dates back centuries.  Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties have been scientifically studied for nearly 50 years.  Ginger can be ground and added to your curries and soups, and many other dishes likes stews and stir-fries.  It is great for nausea, vomiting, and safe enough to use during pregnancy.  It is very effective in reducing osteoarthritis-related pain and inflammation.

Another great way to include ginger in your diet is to make it as a tea or add a small piece to your rooibos (African caffeine-free tea).  Ginger tea is safe for bloated tummies and you will find a quick response and immediate relief.  Ginger milk has also been used as a flu remedy for many years.

Black Pepper

These little black beads are power-packed!  Usually used as a seasoning on roasts, marinates, and salads, black pepper is filled with anti-inflammatory goodness.  Black pepper is also good in conjunction with other natural anti-inflammatories as it increases the bio-availability of these other agents.  The flavor of the black pepper comes from the chemical piperine, which is also responsible for the anti-inflammatory property.  Black pepper has been praised for its ability to reduce inflammation, and suppress pain and arthritis symptoms.

These are just three of the most common and easy to find spices that are used as anti-inflammatories.

The image shows a wooden crafted pestle and mortar, with black peppercorns and crushed pepper in the foreground.

You may ask, “If I add these to my diet, can I stop taking medications?”  Maybe, but it’s always best to check with your health care provider.  You might still have to use them in conjunction with your supplements and vitamins.

Now, you might be wondering why you would take a nutritional supplement, rather than just using the ingredients when preparing food, or even just eating the raw ingredients on their own.  I guess you could do that, but you will not be guaranteed of the quantities and potency of the ingredients because you cannot guarantee their concentrations.  By all means, use the ingredients as much as possible when preparing your food, but also include a nutritional supplement from a reputable supplier.

Taking a nutritional supplement daily ensures that your body receives the required vitamins and nutrients on a regular basis.

P.S. now when you wake up the morning after overindulging and you have a sore tummy, a hot ginger tea may be just what you need.