Spices Nutrition Facts: More Effective Than NSAIDS For Pain And Inflammation
The nutrition facts of all spices are more significant today than ever before. In countries impacted by modern medicine, it has become the norm to reach for a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to relieve pain and inflammation. The most common over the counter variety of NSAIDS include ibuprofen (Advil®), aspirin (Bayer®)and naproxen (Aleve®). Many people use these drugs because they are assumed to be well tolerated by most healthy individuals. Today NSAIDS are among the most widely and frequently used drugs in the world.
NSAIDS relieves pain, fever and inflammation by blocking the body's natural healing hormones to injury and illness. But these hormones have another important function. They prevent the lining of the stomach from being digested by its own acids. When these hormones are constantly inhibited, the stomach becomes vulnerable. This is the reason habitual NSAIDS consumers end up with bleeding stomachs, damaged livers and stomach ulcers.
Habitual users should be greatly concerned because the onset of stomach bleeding takes place without any noticeable symptoms. These hormones are also involved with the implantation of fertilized eggs and ovulation. Taking NSAIDS can interfere with conception and during pregnancy may inhibit the proper development of a child's circulatory and respiratory system. They are also known to increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Since 1997, The American Journal of Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine the following year stated that over 100,000 NSAIDS hospitalizations and over 16,000 deaths have been reported each year, from NSAID related complications in arthritic patients alone. The severity of the problem is greatly underestimated by the public because the total number of NSAID hospitalizations and deaths is much higher. In 1999, the New England Journal of Medicine made this statement:
“...If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were tabulated separately in the National Vital Statistics reports, these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the United States. Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a "silent epidemic," with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Furthermore the mortality statistics do not include deaths ascribed to the use of over-the-counter NSAIDS." Another study conducted by Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management show that the number of hospitalizations and deaths remain unchanged since the 1999 study was conducted.
A recent Danish study showed that healthy individuals who use ibuprofen may be at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association and The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had already warned heart patients about the dangers of taking Ibuproben (brand names include Motrin and Advil). Now this new study reveals that healthy individuals have the same increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The study involved more than one million Danes and took place from 1997 to 2005. Those participants whose average age was 39, increased their risk of stroke by twenty nine percent. Diclofenac users(Voltaren and Cataflam) had a ninety one percent higher risk of death from all cardiac disease. Those healthy individuals at highest risk are those who exercise regularly and take NSAIDS for joint and muscle pain.
The Danish study found that stomach bleeding was common among the users in the study. NSAIDS may also inhibit folic acid absorption and deplete iron stores in the body. Researchers of the study highly recommend seeking alternative treatments for pain and inflammation.
New research has found some remarkable properties found in spices. The active ingredient Eugenol, found in several common spices was found to be 29 times more effective in the prevention of blood clot formation and platelet aggregation than aspirin. The research also found that the eugenol was effective at inhibiting inflammation. A condition that is directly related to heart disease. The Central Food Technological Research Institute has studied the effects of the active compounds eugenol, curcumin, capsaicin, allyl sulphide, piperine, quercetin, and cinnamaldehyde found in common spices. The studies show that each compound was effective at significantly inhibiting blood clotting.
Eugenol - is extracted from cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and lemon balm. Medicinally, it is used as a local analgesic and antiseptic. It is often used in lotions for its antioxidant properties.
Adding cloves to food is one way to get this compound. Eugenol can also be found as an essential oil for external use. Some clove oil products are available for internal use. These oils are usually taken under the tongue. Always follow the dosage recommendation on the bottle because it is possible to overdose.
Curcumin - is the active ingredient found in Tumeric. It is a more effective pain reliever than NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and has no side effects. Recently, studies revealed that it strengthens cell membranes, allowing cells to become more resistant to malignancy and infection. Curcumin prevents blood clot formation and oxidation of cholesterol, which protects against plaque build up and blood vessel damage which can lead to heart disease.
Capsaicin is found in chilli peppers, cayenne pepper and hot sauce. Not only does it reduce platelet aggregation, it is effective at protecting against cancer. Capsaicin soothes the digestive and protects the stomach against the effects of aspirin. It lowers triglycerides and cholesterol. Large dosages are available in capsule form.
Many spices are available at the supermarket in ground form. They may work as a flavor enhancer but they are deficient in the active ingredients which provide such powerful health benefits. The best way to buy high quality spices is from an online spice retailer or the local spice shop. These spices are organic and much less expensive than buying organic spice supplements. They can be kept fresh in the freezer for many months. Taking effective dosages of whole herbs may seem like a chore at first, but with persistence will soon become a habit. Follow the recommendations on the bottle and use a teaspoon to put the herb on the back of your tongue and swallow with water.