By Alexander Germanis
Whether they are in a rack on the wall or tucked away in a cupboard in the kitchen, spices are often just associated with cooking — serving the simple purpose of adding flavor to dishes. What Dr. Jess Bruin of Eastland Chiropractic shares about some of these supplemental spices shows they can serve a better purpose than simply tickling the taste buds.
The number-one benefit these supplements provide is their anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation of tissue is usually the body’s protective response to injury or to some infections. If left alone, inflammation can result in more long-lasting, negative effects on numerous parts of the body.
“One of the reasons we want to help fight inflammation is because it is associated with swelling and pain,” Dr. Bruin explains. “But before inflammation causes pain, it also restricts movement in a joint.”
Although it is easy to imagine inflammation around the finger, wrist, or knee, Dr. Bruin points out the greater dangers of inflammation around the spine. “Inflammation surrounding the spinal column limits nerve function. All the nerves come out of the spine like branches on a tree, essentially,” she describes. “Out from the spinal cords, in between the vertebrae — any inflammation there is like pinching a hose — it stops or slows down information going to and from the brain and all the organs and muscles. That’s why controlling inflammation is important.”
Some of those ”spice rack” supplements can aid in the fight against inflammation as well as provide other benefits.
“Turmeric is very good for inflammation and pain,” says Dr. Bruin. “I’ve had several patients — some of whom took it prior to seeing me — who took it when prescription anti-inflammatories weren’t working.”
She adds that turmeric can also have fewer side-effects than some prescriptions. “You can take up to 5,000 international units a day,” she continues. “You can take it in a capsule, you can cook with it; my understanding is it’s best to have multiple forms of intake.”
Another spice, perhaps one of the most loved, provides myriad health benefits as well — cinnamon.
Here, Dr. Bruin wishes to interject a word of caution — not all cinnamons are the same. Indeed there are four distinct types of cinnamon — Vietnamese, Indonesian, Chinese, and Ceylon. While some of these are beneficial, some are potentially harmful in higher doses.
Of the four types, Chinese and Ceylon cinnamons are the ones with which people are the most familiar.
Chinese cinnamon, also known as cassia cinnamon, is a less expensive and therefore more prevalent form in food products. It contains a compound called coumarin. Coumarin, unfortunately, has been found to be toxic, specifically to people with liver problems. Although coumarin itself is no longer being used as a food additive, it is still a naturally occurring compound in cassia cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon, also known as true cinnamon, does not contain coumarin in large amounts, and is the best form of cinnamon to use as a supplement. Ceylon cinnamon is anti-carcinogenic, is an anti-inflammatory, and has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and cholesterol-lowering effects. “It is also good for weight loss,” Dr. Bruin adds.
Again, it is important to identify the type of cinnamon one is ingesting before one can expect positive results. Because any of the four major types of cinnamon can be listed as, simply, “cinnamon” on product labels, a little research can make a major difference.
As Dr. Bruin said in previous articles, acquiring these minerals, vitamins, and spices in significant amounts can often be difficult through a normal day’s food intake. For this reason, they are also available through supplementary capsules.
Often the best way to fight dangers like inflammation can and should be in the home. This fight for a better body can start with the spice rack.
Always consult a health care professional for the proper supplements for you. If you missed the previous articles about supplements, you may read them online www.HealthyCellsBN.com or contact Cheryl at 309-664-2524, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on chiropractic care, healthy lifestyle, and nutrition, please contact Jess Bruin, D.C. at Eastland Chiropractic & Lifestyle Center, 309-662-8418, or online at www.EastlandChiro.com. Their office is located at 2406 E. Washington St. in Bloomington.
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