A Spicy Solution to Inflammation

Add soothing spices to your diet and relieve inflammation.

Comfort food takes on a deeper level of meaning when you take into account the therapeutic benefits of certain fare (and we’re not just talking chicken soup). Spices can do so much more than add flavour to our nosh.

Consider this: a study at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center in New York found that turmeric was safer and more precise than Aspirin in stopping inflammation. Nutritionist Julie Daniluk explores the holistic properties of spices and other foods in. Although inflammation is the process by which our body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection and foreign substances, like bacteria and viruses, chronic inflammation is the root of many conditions, such as arthritis, colitis and asthma, to name just a few. It is also linked to many life-shortening diseases, like coronary heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Numerous clinical studies have shown that certain foods can aggravate or suppress the inflammation reaction. Daniluk provides a guide of the foods to avoid and those that are beneficial, as well as offering more than 120 recipes, like the one for Dijon Chicken (see the following page) — turmeric included, of course.


This fast, healthy meal tastes great as leftovers the next day. The coconut milk contains lauric acid, which helps boost the immune system. Mustard seeds in Dijon mustard are a good source of selenium, a nutrient shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and help prevent cancer. Turmeric has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

Using skinless chicken reduces the amount of saturated fat in the recipe.

8 (2.2 lb/1 kg) skinless chicken thighs

2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric

1⁄2tsp (2.5 ml) grey sea salt

orpink rock

1⁄4cup (60 ml) vegetable or chicken broth

2 cups (500 ml) sliced red onion

1⁄4cup (60 ml) natural Dijon


1⁄3cup (85 ml) coconut milk

2 tbsp (30 ml)

unpasteurized liquid honey

1 tbsp (15 ml) Italian herb
blend (basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme) or herbes de Provence (basil, fennel. lavender, savory, thyme)


1. Drizzle the oil over the chicken thighs and sprinkle with turmeric and salt. Spritz liberally with filtered water or broth to keep
meat moist and ensure the oil doesn’t overheat. Cook in a large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat for
5 to 7 minutes, turning every couple of minutes until golden on all sides.

2. Add the onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the onion has softened.

3. Spread the mustard evenly over the chicken pieces using a spoon or brush.

4. Cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the centre. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

5. Pour the coconut milk and honey into the skillet and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.

6. Arrange the chicken thighs on a shallow serving dish and pour the sauce over and around the chicken. Adjust seasonings to taste.

7. Garnish with the herbs and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Excerpted from Meals That Heal Inflammation: Embrace Healthy Living and Eliminate Pain One Meal at a Time by Julie Daniluk