All pain is based on inflammation and the inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation plays a huge role heart disease, arthritis, asthma, cancer, and dementias.
By controlling inflammation, we should be able to control our pain and lessen chances of developing diseases.
Did you know that foods can increase inflammation? Sugar and white flour are huge culprits. The good news is that foods can also decrease inflammation, chronic inflammation, and fight cancers and other diseases.
The best news is that all these foods taste good! And they are easy to add to your diet. Except number 2, if you are a werewolf. Everyone will enjoy sipping on number 4 and number 9 may remind you that mom is always right!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Here’s one very healthy fat found in a lot of sources. Omega-3 rich foods are known to fight inflammation. In fact, studies show that mice fed extra virgin olive oil have stopped arthritis development and reduces joint swelling. Inflammatory markers decreased between 1/3 and ½.
The best place to get omega-3s are fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel. Chia seeds, walnuts, omega-3 rich eggs, and nuts are also high in omega-3s. You may see a decrease in pain as well as dozens of other benefits.
Garlic, onions, and leeks contain an antioxidant, quercetin, that may relieve inflammation. Garlic is particularly effective. You can take about 4 cloves of raw garlic or used powdered or an aged supplement. Since that much raw garlic can upset your stomach, most experts recommend aged garlic. You’ll get the benefits without breathing and sweating garlic.
Garlic is also a cancer fighter and may lower the risk of heart disease and dementia. You can’t go wrong eating garlic!
Looking for a drink that won’t increase inflammation like soft drinks will? Try tart cherry juice. Tart cherries contain an antioxidant, anthocyanin, that is a known anti-inflammatory. Research suggests that tart cherries appear to be as effective as, and far safer than, taking NSAIDS.
Eight ounces of Montmorency cherry juice a day may improve pain and stiffness. Just don’t ruin the health benefits by adding sugar or artificial sweeteners.
You can also snack on strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries for some anthocyanins.
Green tea is an anti-inflammatory super food. It is so good for every part of your body that you should drink it even if you aren’t in pain! Green tea contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation. And other healthy properties include preventing cancer, melting belly fat, helping hangovers, and lessening depression.
It doesn’t have a lot of caffeine so you can drink it in the afternoon or evening without upsetting your sleep cycle. Don’t add sweeteners and destroy the benefits!
Whole Grains and Beans
Whole grains and beans fight inflammation, while their cousins, white flour and white rice, may increase chronic inflammation. Foods like oatmeal, chia seeds, oatmeal, and brown or wild rice lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). These proteins are “markers” for inflammation associated with heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Fiber is also very important in keeping your bowels healthy, in weight loss, fighting heart disease, and lowering blood pressure. Choose your fiber wisely and don’t smother it with butter, cheese, and other inflammation-increasing foods.
Turmeric is a spice with a long history in folk medicine for warding off inflammatory diseases. There is now research to back up the claims. Turmeric is high in curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Since you probably can’t eat enough turmeric to get the benefit, take supplements with a pinch of black pepper or enjoy turmeric tea. Add one teaspoon of ground turmeric to boiling water, simmer for 10 minutes. Add a bit of lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper and enjoy.
Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage might not be everyone’s favorite foods, but they are really healthy. These cruciferous vegetables are rich in antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals suspected in the development of chronic inflammation. It’s easy to add broccoli to stir fries and salads.
If you like fermented foods like sauerkraut, you are in luck. There is a strong link between fermented food and decrease in chronic inflammation. Fermented foods also fight depression, allowing you to feel better overall.
Another spice, ginger, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. You can enjoy it as a tea, in food, or snack sparingly on candied ginger. One study found that ginger extract helped 63% of participants with osteoarthritis knee pain. Two grams of ginger a day has been shown to reduce muscle pain. If you’ve overdone a workout, ginger may just help you feel better.
Ginger also helps lower blood sugars and fights heart disease. Ginger tea can also sooth an unset stomach.
Broths or savory soups made from cooking vegetables, fish, or meat with herbs are terrific for fighting inflammation. You’ve heard chicken soup is good for both body and soul and it’s true. Chicken broth is an anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. Toss in some garlic, some kale or spinach, and a few mushrooms and you have a meal that will help fight off diseases associated with inflammation.
Broths are great when you are sick or recovering from surgery or just want to help your body feel better.
Research indicates that pain comes from inflammation and some really unpleasant diseases comes from chronic inflammation. You can ease pain and fight chronic diseases by eating foods that decrease inflammation. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation, like sugars and white flour, helps as well.
All these foods we’ve listed have science to back up their pain fighting qualities. It might not work as quickly as an NSAID or other drug, but it is much healthier for your liver. Eating healthily and losing weight also fights pain since extra pounds are hard on joints and belly fat is associated with chronic inflammation.