Certain foods help fight inflammation and pain at the cellular levels. These foods help heal the body from the inside out. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that current science advocates good nutrition to help enhance the immune system and reduce inflammation. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is easier than you may think. Fill at least half of your plate with vegetable and fruit, choose plant-based proteins, opt for healthy fats, whole grains and fatty fish and season your meals with spices and herbs. Here we look at 5 foods for natural pain relief.
The bright, yellow spice turmeric contains an antioxidant called curcumin that provides anti-inflammatory and pain relief. Turmeric has been used for more than 5,000 years in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Curcumin inhibits the synthesis and activity of COX2 and 5LOX, which have been found to cause inflammation. One study, found that turmeric can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation. In fact, turmeric was shown to inhibit joint inflammation and destruction.
Turmeric also enhances the immune system and contains antioxidants that are stronger than vitamin C and vitamin E. This antioxidant is strong enough to destroy hydroxyl free radicals, which are considered some of the most reactive oxidants. Turmeric curcumin is considered to be as potent if not more potent than aspirin and ibuprofen in helping to relieve inflammation and pain.
Pineapples contain a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme helps reduce inflammation and ease inflammation. Bromelain helps the body remove harmful toxins, which naturally reduces inflammation throughout the tissues and organs of the body. Bromelain enhances T-cells and other immune mechanisms to help improve the immune system.
Bromelain blocks the metabolites that cause swelling and inflammation and activates a chemical in the blood to break down fibrin. Because of its effectiveness, it has been used for centuries by South Americans to soothe inflamed muscles, reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. In addition to bromelain, pineapples contain vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium and manganese which act as antioxidants to help destroy free radicals, reduce inflammation and enhance the immune system.
3. Leafy Greens
Green leafy vegetables are often referred to as superfoods because they contain a plethora of nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E and K, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. These powerful antioxidants remove free radicals and enhance the immune system. Additionally, vitamin K helps protect against osteoporosis and inflammatory diseases.
The calcium and magnesium boost bone strength and support bone health. Fresh leafy greens contain enzymes that help to maximize the absorption of vitamins and minerals in your food. Additionally, leafy greens help to alkalize the body, which decreases pain and inflammation.
4. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice can provide the same relief from inflammation and pain relief as over the counter pain medications like ibuprofen, states Oregon Health and Science University. In one research study, runners in Oregon’s Hood to Coast Relay, which is a 197-mile race received tart cherry juice the week before and the day of the race. Those who drank the cherry juice reported significantly less pain. According to one of the researchers, those runners recovered faster and had less inflammation than those who received a placebo.
Tart cherries contain high amounts of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are compounds similar to those found in NSAIDs and can inhibit COX enzymes. Unlike NSAIDs that can damage the stomach lining, tart cherries contain flavonoids that help protect the stomach. Furthermore, tart cherries contain high levels of antioxidants, including melatonin. These antioxidants destroy free radicals to help decrease inflammation in the body.
5. Bone Broth
Bone broth has been used for thousands of years to help reduce inflammation, boost the immune system and other powerful health benefits. As the bones are simmered, healing compounds including collagen, glutamine, chondroitin, gelatin, glycine and proline are released. Bone broth also contains calcium, magnesium and silicon to help reduce the effects of arthritis and improve joint health.
As you age, the cartilage in your joints diminishes collagen and gelatin, along with arginine, glycine, glutamine and proline support joint health and help reduce inflammation in the body by detoxifying the body on the cellular level. These amino acids cleanse the liver and regenerate the body on a cellular level, which results in a decrease in inflammation and pain.
Ready for Lasting Natural Pain Relief
One great way to fight inflammation and pain through diet is to enjoy a smoothie. Blend a handful of green leafy vegetables, a cup of pineapple, a cup of tart cherry juice, one teaspoon of turmeric and a cup of almond milk for a delicious drink to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
Our integrative practitioners specialize in holistic approach for pain management. This includes a combination of functional medicine, osteopathy, nutrition, medical acupuncture and stress relief. Our nutritionist helps with personalized diets that includes foods for pain relief.