Skip the daily dose of Bayer and eat lots of these anti-inflammatory foods and spices instead. They work the same way as aspirin and other painkillers, but without the risk of heartburn, nausea, stomach bleeding or stroke.
See, over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, Ibuprofen and Aleve are effective because they reduce inflammation. And they do this by blocking the production of prostaglandins, chemicals messengers in the body that promote fever, pain and inflammation (that’s why they’re known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs).
Specifically, these drugs work by inhibiting the prostaglandin producing COX-2 enzyme. But you can get the same effect with these dietary COX-2 inhibitors.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that certain omega-3 fatty acids work well at stopping COX enzymes from making prostaglandins. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in flaxseed, nuts and vegetables, was especially good at inhibiting COX-2, but EPA and DHA (found in fish) also worked.
Green tea. An Ayurvedic staple for fighting fever, green tea contains salicylic acid, a compound derived from willow bark that’s an important active metabolite of aspirin. These foods are also high in salicylic acid: Curry powder, dried dill, oregano, paprika, rosemary, mustard, thyme, turmeric, almonds, apricots, dates, raisins, green peppers, olives and mushrooms.
Turmeric. Curcumin, one of the active ingredients in turmeric and curry powder, is a notable anti-inflammatory that can inhibit COX-2 activity in the colon, esophagus and small intestine.
Ginger. Not only can ginger help relieve nausea, it contains compounds called gingerols (similar to the capsaicin found in chili peppers) that inhibit COX-1 and COX-2.
Red wine. International studies have shown resveratrol, a polyphenol found in grape skins and hence in red wine, can also inhibit COX-1 and COX-2 expression.
Basil. Basil contains a phytonutrient called ursolic acid that’s recognized for its Cox-2 inhibiting effects. Ursolic acid is also found in cranberries, elder flower, peppermint, rosemary, lavender, oregano, thyme, prunes and the skin of apples.