Pain something that no one wants to experience even once let alone daily and yet chronic pain is not uncommon.
The Chronic Pain Association estimates that 50 million Americans and Britons endure chronic pain on a daily basis.
Whether you suffer from Fibromyalgia Arthritis, or a Sports Injury, pain from the inflammatory response finds us and can make life miserable.
Taking anti-inflammatory medications is the first defense against chronic or acute pain.
Research shows if you want to add even more relief to your pain symptoms you can make some small changes to your diet.
Foods that have the greatest effect on the inflammatory process are fats.
The predominant omega-6 fatty acids present in the American diet tend to promote inflammation while omega-3 fatty acids help to inhibit the inflammatory process.
The omega 6 to omega-3 ratio in the Western diet is a high 16:1.8 leading some researchers to say the typical Western diet is a pro-inflammatory diet.
No wonder we are in such pain!
Even though omega-6 fatty acids are good for us and needed in the diet, we are eating far too many of them and not eating enough of the health-promoting omega-3’s.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in beef, pork, chicken, whole milk dairy products, egg yolks, vegetable and seed oils, and packaged convenience foods- all staples of the American diet.
The pain reducing Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, halibut, and tuna), ground flax seeds, canola oil, and walnuts.
There is one more fatty acid to throw into the mix and that is omega-9.
Not as much of an attention getting fatty acid but just as important to know about. These fatty acids are also involved in prohibiting the inflammation process bringing relief to its sufferers.
Omega-9’s are found in olive oil, avocados, pecans, almonds, peanuts, cashews, sesame oil, pistachio nuts and macadamia nuts.
All those nuts you thought were off limits, not anymore.
Just make sure you only eat 10 – 12 nuts for a serving size so you don’t add to your waistline with these high calorie snacks.
Fruits and Vegetables- ah, here they are again.
I wonder how long it will take us to realize they really are good for us.
The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables play a role in decreasing damage by free radicals which to you and I means it prevents the initiation of the inflammatory response nipping it in the bud.
What’s the recommendation?
The same as it’s always been, 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
It’s not as tough as it seems.
A serving size of fruit is the size of a tangerine or half of a banana while the serving size for vegetables is ½ cup cooked and 1 cup raw.
Add some berries to your cereal, some vegetable soup with lunch or sneak veggies into your scrambled eggs, add them wherever you can.
It goes to show that small nutrition changes can make a big impact on your health.
Now that you know the information, let’s get practical.
10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Fighting Pain
One cup of black coffee can provide relief from headaches and provide more antioxidants than a serving of berries.
Preliminary research has also shown that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of some cancers.
Cherries help reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals in the body and can also help to stop tissue inflammation.
Anthocyanins, which give tart cherries their deep red color, have anti-inflammatory properties similar to those in aspirin.
Raspberries and, to a lesser extent, strawberries also contain pain-fighting anthocyanins.
Here’s a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that’s comparable to over the counter pain medications.
A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil helps reduce the risk of strokes and some cancers.
This anti-inflammatory herb has also been shown in some research to boost memory.
Perfect in poultry dishes, sage has been used for centuries and contains flavonoids that help to reduce swelling.
Ginger’s been used for thousands of years to help with a variety of ailments from stomachaches to heart conditions.
This anti-inflammatory add-in is excellent on a variety of foods, even tea.
Used for centuries for a variety of medicinal purposes, green tea is an excellent source of polyphenols which may help to reduce free radicals in the body which can cause inflammation.
Filled with Omega-3s, salmon provides an excellent source of protein and antioxidants.
The fatty acids from this fish can help to lubricate tight joints in the body.
Cayenne is thought to act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Capsaicin, the oily compound in cayenne and its peppery cousins.
Is the active ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter creams, ointments, and patches for arthritis and muscle pain.
Like many other spices, cinnamon has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
And it’s actually one of the most powerful healing spices, shown to help reduce heartburn and other conditions.
Natural Pain Killers
1. Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
This ominous sounding herb is actually great for treating numerous health conditions, among them are liver problems and heart burn.
It also has anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce pain from arthritis, headaches, and low back discomfort.
The University of Maryland Medical Center has published several studies that had great success treating Osteoarthritis with Devil’s Claw.
2. Birch Leaf (Betula Lenta)
The leaves from the Birch tree act much like cortisone, a prescription drug used to treat endocrine disorders, arthritis, lupus, skin disease, autoimmune disorders, and more.
A main chemical compound found in Birch leaves is methyl salicylate, similar to salicylic acid used in aspirin.
It is anti-spasmodic, analgesic, astringent, antifungal, diuretic, detoxifying, reduces oxidative damage to skin (stopping wrinkles), and enhances circulation.
It also promotes enzymatic secretions in the body, It is truly one of the first powerful pain-relievers ever used.
3. Wintergreen Essential Oil
Also among natural pain relievers.
Wintergreen Essential Oil contains 85-99% of methyl salicylate, the same component of aspirin.
4. White Willow Bark (Salix alba)
The active ingredient in white willow is salicin, which the body converts into salicylic acid.
This tree’s covering lowers the body’s levels of prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds that can cause aches, pain, and inflammation.
What’s more, white willow bark doesn’t upset the stomach or cause internal bleeding like many over-the-counter aspirins.
Turn to this herb for relief from menstrual cramps, muscle pains, arthritis, or after knee or hip surgery as it promotes blood flow and reduces swelling.
5. Capsaicin (Capsicum)
Found in hot chile peppers, this natural remedy does wonders for pain.
Capsaicin, the active pain-reducing ingredient, temporarily desensitizes nerve receptors called C-fibers which cause the pain response.
Capsaicin also diminishes soreness for 3 to 5 weeks while the C-fibers regain sensation.
A single 60-min application in patients with neuropathic pain produced effective pain relief for up to 12 weeks.
Patients at the New England Center for Headache decreased their migraine and cluster headache intensity by applying capsaicin cream to their nasal passages.
6. Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)
GLA can be found in numerous seed oils.
According to University of Maryland, people who consume these essential fatty acids are able to reduce nerve pain associated with diabetic conditions.