The tremendous anti-inflammatory effect of fruits, vegetables and spices

In addition to their high content of many different vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, research indicates that plants also contain the active ingredient in aspirin, salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a natural anti-inflammatory. Fruits, vegetables and spices have more than one trick up their sleeve, and the benefits of consuming them on our health never cease to amaze us.

It has been known for several years that people who eat large amounts of plants are less likely to develop many chronic diseases. This protective effect is due not only to the presence of phytochemicals that target many of the processes involved in the development of these diseases, but also to the powerful anti-inflammatory effect associated with these foods. In fact, when you eat 5-10 daily servings of plants, the molecules in these foods block the production of an enzyme (called COX-2) that plays a key role in the development of inflammation, preventing sudden infections. climate in your body. This effect is very important because many studies have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that many diseases currently affecting the population, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer as well as neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer’s disease, are directly related to chronic inflammation.

Aspirin in plants, especially spices

Discovered over 100 years ago, salicylic acid (the active ingredient of aspirin) is the best known and most unique anti-inflammatory molecule. Particularly abundant in willow bark, a remedy traditional medicines have used for thousands of years to relieve fevers and infections, salicylic acid is also found in many plants, particularly in some spices such as:

Curry contains 2,180 mg/kg

Sweet pepper: 2030 mg/kg

Dried rum: 1830 mg/kg.

Studies in vegetarians (who consume a lot of plants) have indicated that blood levels of this molecule are high enough to block the action of certain inflammatory enzymes. Furthermore, the amounts of salicylic acid measured in the blood of vegetarians are similar to those in the blood of people who regularly consume low doses of aspirin. This observation is particularly interesting because people who regularly consume aspirin have a mortality associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer reduced by about 20% compared to those who consume it infrequently. It is therefore possible that the presence of salicylic acid associated with an abundant consumption of plants contributes to the reduced risk of chronic diseases observed in people who consume a lot of plants.

Red fruits also help our bodies

In addition to the natural presence of salicylic acid in plants, some plants also contain substances that our bodies can use to manufacture this molecule. For example, one study showed that people who took benzoic acid, a substance especially abundant in red fruits, had measurable amounts of salicylic acid in their blood and urine, even if those people did not consume aspirin for two weeks and did not eat. Any food contains this molecule. So it seems that we are able to produce large amounts of salicylic acid from food, which shows how this molecule can play an important role in the proper functioning of our body. Another excellent reason to consume our daily portion of fruits and vegetables!


Patterson et al. Does salicylates have a role in health. Brooke. Clin. Company 65: 93-96

Patterson et al. Salicylic acid without aspirin in animals and humans: persistence in fasting and biosynthesis of benzoic acid. J. Agric. Chem food. 56: 11648-11652.

* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.

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