The best spices for intestinal health from the gastro
IIt’s all too common to go into defensive mode when we’re uncomfortable — not to mention it’s understandable. That being said, there are so many proactive things we can do to support our health goals on a day-to-day basis before symptoms even arise. The best part? Many of them are *more than* easy.
For example, when you’re dozing on the benefits of homemade meals, it pays to get back in the kitchen and prepare fresh, nutritious fare — especially if you’re struggling with digestive issues. If you tend to get bloated or cramped, you can also cook with ingredients that can help speed things up and minimize discomfort. One of the tastiest ways to do just that is to stock your pantry with gut-friendly condiments.
Read on to see what board gastroenterologist Kenneth Brown, MD recommends to enrich your freshly prepared meals and bypass digestive problems. (Bonus: Most of them also happen to promote longevity.)
5 spices that a gastro recommends for healthy digestion
Also known as the golden spice, turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory spices out there — largely thanks to its active ingredient curcumin. Its benefits are wide-ranging, including everything from brain-boosting potential to aiding with anxiety, arthritis, and physical recovery… but that’s not all. “Some research suggests it may also have gut health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms,” says Dr. Brown. A 2022 review found that curcumin and turmeric, whether taken alone or together with medication for irritable bowel syndrome, can reduce the severity of symptoms like abdominal pain.
Tip: Don’t forget to combine turmeric with black pepper for the best anti-inflammatory powers. The latter increases the bioavailability of curcumin by a whopping 2,000 percent.
Don’t forget to combine turmeric with black pepper for the best anti-inflammatory powers. The latter increases the bioavailability of curcumin by a whopping 2,000 percent.
Not too surprisingly, ginger deserves a spot on this list of gastro-approved spices. Finally, one of the most common (and most effective) home remedies for an upset stomach is ginger tea. “This spice is known for its digestive properties and may help reduce gas and other digestive discomfort,” says Dr. Brown. “It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory.”
As a 2019 review summarizes, ginger is also powerful enough to reduce spasms, prevent bloating, speed up stomach emptying, and relieve nausea. Put simply, ginger is worth keeping on hand — as a spice in your pantry and even fresh to chop, grate, or mince for meals, or to brew as a tea — especially if you’re prone to stomach upset.
Don’t know coriander? They are the dried seeds of the Coriandrum sativum plant (same source of coriander). “This spice is high in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties,” says Dr. Brown. “It may also have digestive benefits, including reducing bloating and improving bowel movements.”
According to a 2022 review, cilantro may also improve gas, diarrhea, indigestion and nausea “by stimulating the liver to increase the secretion of bile and other digestive enzymes, which escalate the action of the digestive system and thus decrease the time it takes food to pass through.” gastrointestinal tract.”
Related to cumin, dill, and aniseed: “Fennel has a liquorice-like flavor and is often used to aid in digestion. It can help reduce gas and improve overall digestive function,” says Dr. Brown. If you’re struggling with IBS, you might want to get a special jar of fennel and pair it with turmeric in a salad, soup, chicken dish, or other recipe of your choice: A 2016 randomized control study found that the duo used the Significantly improved symptoms and quality of life in participants with mild to moderate irritable bowel syndrome.
This warming spice isn’t just delicious; It is also very healthy due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “It may also have gut health benefits, and some research suggests it may help reduce gas and improve digestion,” says Dr. Brown.
While it’s often found in baked goods — some of which aren’t that great for your gut due to their high sugar content — you can always add a sprinkle or two to oatmeal, chia pudding, and sliced apples. Additionally, simmering a cinnamon stick in warm water can also benefit digestive health.