Although inflammation is a necessary part of your immune response to real health threats, when it occurs out of context, it does a lot more harm than good.
Inflammation and Chronic Disease
Research has shown that unchecked inflammation in the body is associated with even the earliest stages of disease development. Inappropriate inflammation is the root cause of many common chronic diseases such as arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and even multiple sclerosis.
Yet, the key to reducing the number of people suffering from a chronic disease is to address inflammation through diet and lifestyle changes. In a 2005 scientific publication, T. Edwards writes “we have enough information presently to make the necessary changes in our lifestyle to significantly affect the inflammatory process and potentially live longer, healthier lives, with fewer burdens to an overburdened and failing medical system”.
How to Combat Inflammation
The biggest factor that we have control over when it comes to inflammation, is our diet. While there are food types that are infamous for causing unnecessary and dangerous inflammation, there are others that have been proven to have the opposite effect. One of these foods is turmeric.
Turmeric has long been used as a part of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s being widely adopted in western culture for the same reason. A 2011 study tested its effects on arthritis in rats, and found that turmeric decreased the production of inflammatory cytokines while increasing the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines in the body. These researchers also compared turmeric to ginger, and found that it was an even better anti-inflammatory than ginger is.
Turmeric is also used to promote digestive health. Specifically, it can help to treat Crohn’s disease, ulcers, and inflammatory bowel disease. Also, turmeric is an anti-oxidant, so it helps prevent cancer. One study testing 3 different types of turmeric root found that it was able to reduce breast cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, and melanoma cancer!
Black pepper benefits
Eating turmeric along with black pepper will totally maximize its effects. There is a substance in black pepper called piperine that increases your body’s absorption of turmeric (bioavailability) by 2000%! Even on its own, black pepper can fight oxidation in your body, and can stimulate healthy digestion.
Tomatoes are full of lycopene; it’s what gives them their vibrant red color! It’s also what makes them powerful anti-oxidants. Not only will these reduce your risk of cancer, but consuming lycopene can also help guard against heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels in your body and keeping your blood pressure low. The bioavailability of lycopene (how well our bodies can absorb it during digestion) is significantly increased when we eat cooked tomatoes vs. raw tomatoes.
Turmeric Tomato Soup Recipe
This colorful and delicious vegan-friendly soup takes advantage of all three of those chronic-disease fighting foods. We also love how quick it is to make: only 15 minutes!
What You Need:
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut in halves
- 1 can diced tomatoes (don’t drain the sauce)
- ½ cup low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1 minced onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
What to Do:
- Fry onion and garlic in coconut oil over medium heat for 1 minute.
- Add turmeric, cherry tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft.
- Add canned tomatoes, stock, ACV, and basil. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, then cover and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Blend using a blender or hand mixer until creamy.
- Season with salt and pepper.