Whether you are a pumpkin spice fiend or are sick of the hype, I’m here to tell you that pumpkin spice may help you relieve some of your joint pain. The natural ingredients for pumpkin spice are full of anti-inflammatory properties and are actually incredibly healthy. By now you know that inflammation is the root cause of many acute and chronic diseases, including arthritis, elevated cholesterol, and chronic muscle pain.
So… What is Pumpkin Spice?
Although deceiving, pumpkin spice does not actually contain any pumpkin! Pumpkin Spice is a combination of the following ingredients and here’s why they are so great for your joint health.
6 Parts Ground Cinnamon. Cinnamon contains large amounts of antioxidants (even more than superfoods such as garlic and oregano) which make it an excellent anti-inflammatory. However, there are two types of cinnamon, so make sure you are buying the right one to reap its benefits. Cassia cinnamon is the type of cinnamon that is usually found in the grocery store and can cause damage your liver and harm your performance. While Ceylon cinnamon, or “true” cinnamon, is the best cinnamon for your body. You can find it online or at most health grocery stores.
1 Part Ground Nutmeg. Nutmeg is another ingredient in pumpkin spice that treats inflammation and can help with aching joints, muscle pain, arthritis and other ailments. This is because it contains many essential volatile oils such as myristcin, eleminicin, eugenol and safrole. These oils make nutmeg especially useful for treating joint and muscle pain. It is also known to help treat insomnia, indigestion, bad breath, reduce brain degeneration and helps regulate blood pressure!
1 Part Ground Ginger. Ginger is a well-known anti-inflammatory and a stimulant. Ginger is especially effective at treating inflammation related to exercised induced muscle soreness. Have you ever had someone tell you to drink Ginger-Ale when you have an upset stomach? This is because in addition to being anti-inflammatory, ginger has powerful anti-nausea properties that help cure any sort of traditional gastric distress.
½ Part Ground Allspice. Allspice can help reduce joint pain and muscle aches as well as those that are associated with arthritis. It also has certain analgesic components that help with pain relief in the case of injury or surgical recovery. To get these benefits, allspice can be consumed or mixed with water an applied topically.
½ Part Ground Cloves. In a study conducted at the University of Florida, when subjects consumed cloves on a daily basis, it only took 7 days for the cloves to significantly lower one specific pro-inflammatory cytokine. While there is still some debate to whether cloves actually are anti-inflammatory, they do provide other health benefits as they are able to treat coughs, upset stomach, nausea and sore throats.
However, don’t go sprinting to the nearest Starbucks just yet… The classic pumpkin spice latte that you might find at your local coffeehouse is filled with tons of sugar (nearly 50 grams!!) and will counteract those helpful nutrients. So, to get your pumpkin spice fix this season, try making some pumpkin spice sweets of your own.
Anti-Inflammatory Pumpkin Spice Recipes
Skip the line at Starbucks and try your hand at making a Pumpkin Spice Latte at home with this delicious recipe:
Turmeric root – skin peeled
Ginger root – skin peeled
32oz almond milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon vanilla bean
Dash of ground cloves
1. Cut the ginger & turmeric roots into thin slices (make sure to remove the skin)
2. Put the almond milk on the stove in a small pot and add the sliced ginger and turmeric
3. Heat and allow the mixture it to simmer for five minutes
4. Add the rest of the spices and stir
5. Using cheesecloth, strain the mixture into a mug
6. Add a bit of whipped cream to top off your latte and enjoy!
Note: If you don’t have a cheesecloth you can substitute a paper towel or a coffee filter in order to strain your latte.
Or as a great snack, try Sugar & Pumpkin Spice Popcorn:
8 cups of popped corn
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
A pinch of ground ginger
1. Put popped corn into large bowl and make sure to leave enough room to mix ingredients.
2. Melt the butter and then immediately add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
3. Stir the mixture until sugar is completely dissolved.
4. Drizzle over popcorn and mix until it is well coated.
Kill two birds with one stone– carve some pumpkins and then make Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seeds:
Seeds of 1 large pumpkin about 1 – 1½ cups
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
2. In a small mixing bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with all of the spices and olive oil until the seeds are well-coated.
3. Transfer them to a baking sheet and roast in the center of the oven for 8-10 minutes.
4. Take them out of the oven and flip them, and then cook for an additional 8-10 minutes.
5. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a serving bowl.
Finally, make Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter with this recipe:
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup of your favorite peanut butter
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
¼ cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp of cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
A dash of ground cloves
1. First, add all of the ingredients into a standing mixer or a medium mixing bowl.
2. Mix on low for 3-4 minutes until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
3. Spread on some toast for breakfast, with an apple as a delicious snack or on a sandwich for lunch!