Welcome to the podcast Fibromyalgia Real Solutions with Amanda Love. You are listening to episode 41 of Cooking with Herbs.
Thank you for listening to the podcast – If this is the first episode that you are listening to or if you have been listening for a while. Thank you all for taking the time to listen. This podcast was created so that you don’t have to do the research. I keep each episode short and sweet. Most are under 10 minutes. That way you can take action. These are not a substitute for individualized help with your health concerns. That is where I come in as a registered Holistic Nutritionist.
My name is Amanda Elise Love and I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 10 years ago which influenced my decision to enter the field of nutrition and now I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who works with those who are suffering from fibromyalgia. So let’s get started today on the ways to cook with herbs.
Many times when health experts talk about gut health we talk about what to take out! This means crowding out!
Examples are white flour, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine if you want to improve your gut! And forget about gluten! That’s gotta go!
But, what we add-in is just as important as what we crowd out. Nutrient-dense foods, health-promoting foods, and anti-inflammatory ingredients are vital to cooking for better gut health.
Herbs and spices have numerous health benefits! Historically we would add them to our food for flavor and ceremonial purposes! Before the age of refrigeration, herbs and spices helped food from spoiling so quickly, while improving taste.
Fresh herbs are typically best when added at the end of cooking! Dried spices are traditionally added during cooking so that their flavor is integrated into the food.
You can also add more at the end of coking to make up for any small amount of flavor that gets cooked off.
Herbs and spices can positively influence the health of the gut microbiome and gut flora. In turn, the gut flora helps release their antioxidants and other beneficial components.
Let’s go over 5 great herbs that support gut health!
- Turmeric – It has a long tradition of use for gut and liver health! For a while now it has been in the mainstream spotlight as it is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice! Turmeric in my opinion is a spice with a bitter, earthy taste. It is a root that looks a lot like ginger, but it’s orange on the inside rather than yellow. !
It is used as a digestive bitter herb to improve the body’s ability to breakdown food, which improves nutrient absorption! Which in turn decreases inflammation in the GI Tract! It also improves protein digestion. Undigested proteins can cause inflammation in the gut and disrupt the integrity of the gut linen by impacting the gut flora and the immune system.
It also improves the secretion of bile from the gallbladder into the intestines helping to prevent gallstone formation. Plus, bile is important for digestion and absorption of fats and for encouraging regular bowel movements! To put it simply, turmeric soothes and moves!
It is also known as a restorative spice for the gut lining and often touted to prevent or repair damage to the gut.
Turmeric is known for its protective effects on the liver, which is another reason why it has been traditionally so widely used! If you have inflammatory bowel disease it can be helpful.
So what are the ways you can use turmeric? There are many ways in both food and beverages. It is fat-soluble so it’s best utilized when consumed along with some kind of fat like coconut oil or ghee. You can also be used in curries which give its distinctive golden color. It can also be used in a stir fry, chicken, fish, other meats, and veggies.
A lot of people like to juice the root and take turmeric shots or add it as a boost to their juice. It is also used in tea or a latte.
Golden Milk is a popular preparation for turmeric as a hot beverage. I encourage you to be creative when using turmeric.
- Ginger – Did you know that ginger is a turmeric cousin and they are in the same family of plants? With them as relatives, they share many of the health promoting properties.
Ginger like turmeric helps aid with digestion!
In traditional Chinese medicine, ginger is believed to help with the breakdown of sweet foods such as sweet potatoes, yams, and winter squash and also reduce mucus from foods like dairy.
Ginger is a root that’s widely used as a tea or pickled as a side dish. Ginger Candy is known to soothe nausea or aids in digestion after finishing a meal. The flavor is spicy and hot. Ginger’s digestive properties are partly due to its ability to influence hormone secretion in the GI tract. This in turn calms the stomach creating an anti-nausea effect. This happens because ginger blocks the serotonin receptors in the gut which then is influencing the gut nervous system!
Serotonin and the particular rector that ginger blocks, influences peristalsis. This allows to speed up digestion or calm it down, depending on what is needed. By soothing the GI tract ginger allows it to function optimally.
It is known as a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that can exert protective effects along the GI tract just like turmeric. It has been shown to improve the health of the gut lining by decreasing inflammation and reducing cell proliferation in those prone to colorectal cancer.
With fresh juice, it can add a bold and invigorating flavor.
You can use it in tea or it can be juiced and drank as a shot!
It can be grated and cooked in stir-fry and curries. It can also, be used in chutneys and marinades for chicken and salmon.
In many Eastern cultures, ginger is traditionally eaten pickled as a side or appetizer to stimulate digestion.
And as mentioned candied ginger can be eaten after a meal to help with digestion.
- Fennel -As with many of the herbs and spices we’ve discussed, fennel seed can help reduce issues of gas, spasms, and bloating. This in turn can be helpful for those with IBS. It is known to be rich in antioxidants which supports the health of the gut lining. Along with improving digestion and supporting healthy liver function. In cooking, fennel can be chopped and sautéed to add to seafood, poultry, and vegetable dishes, incorporated in soups and stews, or boiled and used as a side dish or part of a vegetable platter. It has a distinctive taste, like sweet licorice. The seeds, bulbs, or leaves can be used. Fennel seeds are great added to soups, stews, stir-fries, and curries.
- Black pepper has been known to enhance digestion. It stimulates the entire digestive system, from the salivary glands to the large intestine including the all-important digestive juices such as bile and acids that help digest our food. It’s often used together with turmeric to boost its properties. Black pepper is also a traditional remedy for both diarrhea and constipation, as it can speed up transit time, but also increases absorption. By grinding the fruit and seeds, you can add a hot flavor with a kick to any savory dish.
- Cinnamon- My favorite! It has a long history of traditional medicinal use in China and elsewhere in the Eastern world, where cinnamon is used as an astringent for the gut and believed to help reduce diarrhea. Cinnamon has a very long tradition of use for indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. Cinnamon is well known for helping with blood sugar regulation. Did you know it also has antihistamine properties, top? Cinnamon can enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria while discouraging the growth of some not-so-beneficial strains. Like ginger, cinnamon is used in Chinese medicine to help with the digestion of yams, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and other sweet foods while reducing mucus formation from eating dairy. Cinnamon can be added to a variety of foods and beverages in powdered form from the bark. Or, whole cinnamon sticks can be added to hot beverages or sweet stews to infuse a slightly sweet, yet spicy and earthy flavor. Cinnamon pairs well with sweet foods, like apples, pears, bananas, sweet potatoes, squash, and grains. It’s often used in baked goods. Cinnamon adds a depth of flavor to coffee and can also be consumed in tea form.
That is just 5 of the 12 herbs and spices that I teach my clients about!
Your action step is for you to play around in the kitchen with herbs and spices is a great way to help you become more conscious of what you consume and how it makes you feel. Eating herbs and spices won’t cure gut health issues, but it will empower you to eat in ways that support gut health and take control of what goes on your plates.
If you want my support with this along with your fibromyalgia I’m offering a free 30-minute phone call called “Fibromyalgia Assessment” where I can learn more about you. The link will be in the show notes.
Thank you for listening, Amanda Elise Love (Fibromyalgia Nutritionist)
P.S. The next episode is with Guest Expert “Melissa Nerdy Talwar she will be talking about her nonprofit with fibromaylgia ’’.