Two new studies provide further evidence that herbs and spices such as ginger and peppers can be beneficial for improving digestion and reducing pain.
A study in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, found that black and red pepper contain the bioactive compounds piperine and capsaicin (found in black and red pepper, respectively) which favorably impact gastrointestinal health by reducing inflammation in the digestive tract. Researchers fed the spices to rats at levels comparable to what is normally consumed in the Indian diet. After eight weeks, the spices significantly increased antioxidant activity in the digestive tract which reduced oxidative stress and inflammation.
Source: Prakash UN, Srinivasan K. Gastrointestinal protective effect of dietary spices during ethanol-induced oxidant stress in experimental rats. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 2010;35:134-141.
Another study featured in the Journal of Pain found that ginger may reduce muscle pain caused by rigorous exercise. Researchers gave human subjects 2 grams of raw or heat-treated ginger supplements for 11 consecutive days. On day eight, subjects lifted heavy weights to produce sore arm muscles. Those groups consuming ginger experienced a 20 percent reduction in pain after weight training compared to those groups that didn’t.
Source: Black CD, Herring MP, Hurley DJ, O’Connor PJ. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise. Journal of Pain. 2010. [Epub ahead of print.]
You can read more about these great spices and how to incorporate them into your diet, deliciously, in my books 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life and 101 Optimal Life Foods . www.spicesforhealth.com is a great website for more information on the health benefits of herbs and spices!