Chronic pain, whether in the form of joint pain, backaches, migraines or overall stiffness, is often a sign of inflammation in the body. Although inflammation is a normal process when there is an acute injury, chronic inflammation can result in pain and a decline in overall health. One of the best ways to fight chronic inflammation is to eat foods that manage pain, decrease inflammation and promote better overall health. From fish to green tea, these following foods can reduce pain just as much as some prescription medications.
Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish have significant anti-inflammatory properties. Whether in supplement form or through eating fresh fish, omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health and fight inflammation throughout the body. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids include: sardines, salmon, trout and anchovies.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in plant-derived sources like walnuts and flaxseeds, but research shows that omega-3 fatty acids are better absorbed by the body because no conversion process is needed.
Red Grapes, or other fruits that are red, purple or blue, contain the phytonutrient anthocyanin. This phytonutrient has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries contain this powerful antioxidant and are equally useful when eating to fight inflammation and improve overall health.
Ginger has been known for the medicinal properties it has for years. Used for the anti-nausea properties, it has been discovered that ginger can also reduce muscle pain after exercising. Ginger also relieves the aches and pains of osteoarthritis.
Ginger contains the phytonutrient gingerol, and gingerol is responsible for supplying the pain-relieving properties of ginger. Researchers have discovered that to treat soreness after exercise, ginger has been as effective as ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
To get more ginger into the diet, ginger can be minced and added to a stir-fry or vegetables. Ginger can also be made into tea by either boiling freshly sliced ginger or placing several slices into a tea ball and allowing it to steep. Ginger has a strong flavor and honey goes well with ginger tea.
Green tea, established as a superfood for years, is effective at pain management for osteoarthritis. One important phytochemical found in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). EGCG, is a powerful phytochemical that has shown promise as treatment for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Green tea is best when loose leaf green tea is used, but even commercial green tea in bags contains powerful antioxidant properties. Researchers recommend drinking one to three cups of green tea a day but warn that green tea does contain about a third of the amount of caffeine in a comparable cup of coffee. Those that are caffeine sensitive should keep in mind that green tea does contain caffeine.
Olive oil, made from pressed olives, contains oleocanthal. This compound in extra-virgin olive oil acts in similar ways as anti-inflammatory medications and helps ward off pain.
To reap the most health benefits from olive oil it is best to use olive oil in uncooked dishes such as salads or to add spices to it and use the spiced olive oil as a dip for bread or vegetables.
Researchers have decided that long term consumption of extra-virgin olive oil has been effective as the long term use of anti-inflammatory medications without the harsh side effects.
It is important to purchase high quality extra-virgin olive oil because the darker the color, the more oleocanthal the oil contains.
Food can be a significant tool in the fight against chronic illness, pain, arthritis and other diseases brought on by inflammation. The foods that we eat can significantly decrease the inflammation response in the body and decrease the need for side effect causing medications.