Fabulous, Powerful Foods: While many fabulous foods taste great, they can also be powerful healers, naturally packaged in vibrant, multicolored disguises. Plus, these foods won’t cause the nasty, common side effects that often accompany the use of drugs. Here are some fabulous-tasting favorites that can yield extra benefits.
Cherries – Muraleedharan, Ph.D. a professor of natural products and chemistry found that tart cherry extract is 10 times more effective than aspirin at relieving inflammation.
Only two tablespoons of the concentrated juice need to be taken daily for effective results
Sweet cherries have also been found to be effective.
Other Berries - Nair later found the same anti-pain compound in other berries specifically blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
Celery and Celery Seeds
James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds, including a powerful flavonoid called apigenin. Add celery seeds to soups stews or as a salt substitute in many recipes.
Ginger – Ginger reduces levels of pain causing prostaglandin in the body and has been widely used in India to treat pain and inflammation. A study by Indian researchers found that when people who were suffering from muscular pain were given ginger, they all experienced improvement. It was found that research from the University of Georgia supports these findings. If you’re taking medications, check with your health practitioner for possible herb-drug interactions.
Turmeric – Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the yellow spice commonly used in Indian curries, is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and for suppressing pain without harmful side effects. Its main therapeutic ingredient is curcumin. Research from institutions such as the University of California, San Diego, and Cornell University indicate that curcumin appears to be a safe, natural alternative to COX-2 inhibitor drugs.
Fatty Fish- Many fatty fish like cod fish, salmon, mackerel, and herring contain omega—fatty acids that converts in the body into hormone-like substances that decrease inflammation and pain. According to research reports from arthritis specialists associated with the National Institute of Health, omega-3 is an effective anti-inflammatory agent; ingesting fish oil acts directly on the immune system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines, compounds known to destroy joints. Many other studies similarly demonstrate that eating moderate amounts of fish or taking fish oil supplements reduces pain and inflammation, particularly for arthritis suffers.
Try adding hot peppers to your diet if you have joint pain.
Capsaicin, the compound in peppers that makes your mouth feel hot, has been found to produce an anti-inflammatory effect and potential antioxidant properties.
Hot peppers are also chock-full of vitamins B-6 and C, as well as potassium, fiber, and beta carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A. It’s believed that the red and orange pigments in peppers, called carotenoids, protect against cancer as well.
Flax Seeds and Flax Oil – Freshly ground flax seeds and cold pressed flax oil contain plentiful amounts of the omega-3 essential fatty acids. Do not cook with flax oil, however, as it then can have the opposite effect of irritating the body’s tissues and causing pain.
Raw Walnuts and Walnut Oil – Raw walnuts and walnut oil also contain powerful omega-3 fatty acids that fight pain and inflammation in the body.
Other Types of Foods that Reduce Inflammation
Whole grains: Whole grain bread, oats, brown rice, barley, bulgur, quinoa, couscous, polenta, and rye bread. You can also switch to whole wheat tortillas and pasta. You can use potatoes, sweet potatoes, and plantains in recipes the same way as whole grains. Avoid having these fried very often because fried foods can cause inflammation.
- Beans, nuts, seeds, and plant foods that have a pod, such as peas: black beans, kidney beans, garbanzos (also called chickpeas), white beans (also called navy beans or cannellini beans), hummus, nuts, and seeds. Nuts can include walnuts, almonds, pecans, and peanuts. Seeds include sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and more. Peas and soybeans are a type of plant called a “legume” that comes in a pod. You can eat sugar snap peas, regular peas, roasted soy nuts, edamame, and any type of tofu.
- Fruits: berries, pomegranates, and cherries. Dark-colored fruits are especially good for preventing inflammation. Avoid drinking fruit juice or drink a small glass and mix it with an equal amount of water. Fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, which makes inflammation worse.
- Vegetables: yellow, orange, and red peppers and tomatoes. Spinach, chard, kale, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, arugula (rocket or roquette), and mixed greens, especially dark, leafy greens. Purple and green cabbage, onions, garlic, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Radishes, cucumbers, green beans, and green onions (scallions
- Olive oil: Use this instead of butter and other oils for cooking foods, when possible. You can use flavored or extra virgin olive oil in dips and dressings.
Fabulous, Powerful Foods Fighting The Pain: When it comes to relieving pain, food really can be the best medicine.