Ginger has been used for centuries to aid digestion, ease nausea and combat cold and flu symptoms.
Its main bioactive compound is gingerol, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. According to a study published in the National Institutes of Health, it “is known to exhibit a variety of biological activities including anticancer, anti-inflammation, and anti-oxidation.”
An analysis of 16 studies in 1,010 participants found that taking 1,000–3,000 mg of ginger daily over 4–12 weeks significantly reduced markers of inflammation compared with a placebo.
Ginger can be taken as a supplement, or you can add it to numerous dishes.
People have used garlic in traditional medicine for thousands of years, the dieticians wrote, to treat arthritis, coughs, constipation, infections, toothaches and more.
Most of garlic’s health benefits come from its sulfur compounds, which appear to have anti-inflammatory properties.
An analysis of 17 studies found that people who took garlic supplements experienced significantly reduced blood levels of the inflammatory marker CRP. Aged garlic extract was found to be more effective and reduced blood levels of both CRP and TNF-α.
You can add garlic to many dishes, or buy supplements online if you’re not crazy about the taste.
Turmeric has been popular in Indian cuisine since ancient times, the dieticians wrote.
Although turmeric has more than 300 active compounds, the main one is an antioxidant called curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
The downside, the duo wrote, is that turmeric contains only 3% curcumin by weight, and our bodies don’t absorb it well. If you’re considering taking turmeric to reduce inflammation, they said, it’s best to buy a curcumin supplement.
Research suggests cardamom supplements may reduce inflammatory markers. One study found it raised antioxidant status by 90%.
An eight-week study in 80 people with prediabetes found that taking 3 grams of cardamom daily significantly reduced inflammatory markers compared with a placebo.
“The rich, complex flavor of cardamom makes it an excellent addition to curries and stews. The spice is also available as a supplement in powder or capsule form,’ the registered dieticians wrote.
There are two main types of cinnamon: Ceylon, also called “true” cinnamon, and Cassia, which is the most commonly available type.
An analysis of 12 studies found that taking 1,500–4,000 mg of cinnamon daily for 10–110 days significantly reduced the inflammatory markers CRP and MDA, compared with a placebo. Also, cinnamon raised the body’s antioxidant levels.
Cinnamon should be used sparingly, however. A fad about 10 years ago had teens daring one another to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in 60 seconds without water. More than 30 teens were hospitalized. In a case of accidental ingestion, a 4-year-old died after consuming a handful of the spice.
The average adult should consume no more than 1 teaspoon (2.5 grams) of cinnamon per day, the dieticians wrote.