Wedding stress getting you down? It’s all too easy to get caught up in the planning and let your well-being (that usually means your sleep and eating habits) decline when you’re burning the candle at both ends. The other thing that tends to happen when stress levels skyrocket: inflammation kicks in. Ever had a sore neck, a migraine, or other bodily ailment when you’re feeling drained and overextended? Inflammation is our body’s natural response to irritants, whether it’s stress-related or a product of your environment.
Acute inflammation (spraining an ankle or getting a bruise) is totally normal response, albeit painful, that should go away under proper care. But low-level inflammation over a period of time is a little bit more under-the-radar and insidious—and can potentially cause or exacerbate many chronic diseases, from to diabetes to cancer. The good news is that a lot of this type of inflammation can be avoided by making changes in your diet and by steering clear of sugary drinks, processed foods, and other not-so-healthy habits like smoking and excess drinking.
In the days, weeks and months before your big day, it’s a good idea to load up on healthy fruits and veggies that will keep your energy high and your stress levels down. Dark, leafy greens, Omega-3-loaded fish like wild salmon, and low-glycemic, antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries will help your body deal better with whatever is thrown at it (this includes boosting immunity during flu season). And while nutrient-rich foods are great to help with stress and inflammation, there are a few other secret weapons that might just be sitting in your panty. We’re talking herbs and spices. In addition to amping up the flavors in your food (remembering that a little goes a long way), adding some of these powerhouse seasonings to your diet can really help your heath over time.
Here are some of our favorite herbs and spices to reduce inflammation and take your meals—and your health—to the next level.
See more: 6 Foods to Eat When You’re Stressed