Inflammation sounds just as bad as a dirty four-letter word. But the truth is, just like ‘free radicals’ and ‘bacteria’ and other seemingly-negative aspects of health, inflammation is a necessary part of life. Without free radicals, immune cells wouldn’t have anything to do.
Plus, research shows that free radicals can also lengthen life span (at least in worms). As for bacteria, the benefits of maintaining a diverse, flourishing colony of beneficial microorganisms is now well established.
And be thankful for inflammation. When you nick yourself shaving or get stung by a bee, it’s the inflammatory process that comes to the rescue.
But when free radicals and potentially-harmful bacteria predominate, that’s when the inflammatory response can cause health problems.
So without further ado, here’s how you can curb unchecked inflammation every day, first thing in the morning.
Spice Up Your Morning Coffee Or Tea
Instead of starting your morning with black coffee or coffee with cream and sweetener, take an extra minute or two and add a few spices that are backed by research to lower inflammation:
If sprinkling black or cayenne pepper into your coffee doesn’t sound appetizing, here’s why you should consider it. Black pepper helps your body absorb curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric powder, by 2,000%, according to a clinical trial. Curcumin is one of the most studied anti-inflammatory ingredients of all time.
Piperine, the main component of black pepper, greatly assists curcumin in exerting its anti-inflammatory effects. Without piperine, researchers say that curcumin “cannot be utilised because of poor bioavailability due to its rapid metabolism in the liver and intestinal wall.”
All you need is a pinch of black pepper to increase your body’s absorption of curcumin/turmeric. You’ll hardly taste it.
As for cayenne pepper, just like black pepper, a wee dab will do. But even just a smidge may have noticeable anti-inflammatory effects. Capsaicin, the main active ingredient in cayenne, has been shown in research studies to act as an analgesic (a pain-relieving substance).
Best Sweetener for Coffee
When it comes to making your anti-inflammatory morning cup of joe palatable, what’s the best ingredient for making it sweet?
Obviously, added sugars contribute to high levels of inflammation in the body. So no table sugar, no molasses, no maple syrup. A couple of natural zero-calorie sweetener options are stevia and monk fruit extract.
But if there is one time during the day to have added sugars in your diet, it would be for your morning cup of coffee or tea. That’s provided that you use the one sweetener with the highest documented anti-inflammatory potential: manuka honey.
Native to New Zealand, manuka honey has been shown to heal ulcers (in rats). It’s even been shown to halt the progression of cancer cells.
If you already have a metabolic disease, use manuka honey very sparingly. With its very high price tag, you probably wouldn’t want to use it liberally anyway. Manuka honey bottles include a “unique manuka factor” number. The higher the number, the more potent the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compounds in the honey. To be considered true manuka honey, there must be a factor of 10 or higher.
Best Tea For Lowering Inflammation
If tea is more your bag, so to speak, which one should you drink for the greatest anti-inflammatory effects? Green tea is near the top. It contains a polyphenol antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been the subject of dozens of research studies (like this one) that demonstrate inflammation modulation, among other benefits.
You can add the above-mentioned anti-inflammatory spices to your green tea.
Begin your day by adding these spices to your morning cup of coffee or tea. You should also add some of them to your lunch and dinner. Make sure you minimize your intake of starchy vegetables (like mashed potatoes), sweet tropical fruits, and added sugars. Following these practices over time may improve symptoms associated with high levels of inflammation in the body.