I know a lot of patients don’t like taking pain killers and that is perfectly understandable as there has been a lot of side effects linked to taking them. Some of the side effects include stomach ulcers, heartburn, dizziness and can even affect your blood pressure. So here are some foods and supplements that could help you reduce your pain and inflammation without having to worry about the nasty side effects of painkillers.
Turmeric: Turmeric comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a flowering plant of the ginger family. This is the top of the list for me when it comes to reducing inflammation and like garlic can also help with psoriasis outbreaks.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. However, the amount of curcumin in turmeric is not very high. It’s around 3%. Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin, with dosages usually beyond 1 gram a day. So It would be extremely difficult to reach this level by just using the turmeric in your food. So basically, if you want to gain the full effects, you would have to take a supplement that contains large amounts of curcumin. One more problem, curcumin isn’t very well absorbed into the bloodstream but if you take black pepper alongside it, it will boost the absorption by up to 2000%. Problem solved. Curcumin also has proven anticancer properties by helping to suppress the inflammation linked to tumour growth.
Coffee: Not only does it Taste great, giving you a much-needed wakeup call in the morning, coffee also boosts your metabolism. Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. That’s because it contains a stimulant called caffeine (the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world). Research has shown it can reduce the risk of some cancers and can even provide relief from certain headaches. 1 cup of coffee provides more antioxidants than a portion of berries. It’s these antioxidants that are vital in reducing pain and inflammation. BUT caffeine can have negative side effects when over consumed. Too much of anything is bad right?
Ginger: People have dug up Zingiber officinale, a.k.a. the root more commonly known as ginger, for its health benefits and spicy flavour for thousands of years from stomach aches to heart conditions. Ginger also contains antioxidant-like compounds called phytonutrients that may reduce cell damage. The root can also prevent inflammation by reducing cell-signalling activity. With that in mind, adding ginger to your diet is excellent in a variety of foods and tea.
Cherries: They’re not only delicious but also pack vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds with powerful health effects. This helps to stop tissue inflammation. This high antioxidant content may help combat oxidative stress (a condition that is linked to multiple chronic diseases and premature aging). In fact, one review found that eating cherries effectively reduced inflammation in 11 out of 16 studies and markers of oxidative stress. Cherries are especially high in polyphenols, a large group of plant chemicals that help fight cellular damage, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health
The Anthocyanins in cherries (gives them the dark red colour) have anti-inflammatory properties similar to aspirin. So, put those aspirin down and grab a handful of cherries instead. Raspberries and strawberries also contain pain-fighting anthocyanins so why not have a berry mix?
Garlic: Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about 5,000 years ago. It has proven effective in relieving psoriasis with its anti-inflammatory properties. Your breath might not smell the best after eating garlic but that’s a small price to pay for all its benefits. A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology stated that short-term heating reduces the anti-inflammatory effects of fresh raw garlic. This may be a problem for people who do not like the taste or smell of fresh garlic.
Omega-3/Fish oil: It may not sound very appealing taking fish oil as a supplement but wait until you hear what it can do for you. The two types of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA can reduce inflammation, which causes swelling and pain. A 2016 study suggests that DHA might enhance immune function. DHA is more effective at reducing inflammation than EPA, but both have a role.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 1–2 portions of fish per week. This is because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish provide protection against numerous diseases and give many health benefits such as supporting heart health, help treat certain mental disorders, aid weight loss, support eye health, increase skin health, maintain health during pregnancy, improve bone health, help reduce liver fat and even help with symptoms of depression. Now that is one amazing supplement and you can see why it’s on the list.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a favourite household spice, it’s that good that it has been used around the world for centuries and was even once traded as currency. The distinctive smell and flavour of cinnamon comes from the essential oils contained in the bark, called cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde displays antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. The antioxidants in cinnamon have been known to have anti-inflammatory effects. Some spices, including cinnamon, have prebiotic properties that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and suppress the growth of bad bacteria.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: What a cool name for a supplement, as soon as you say it to someone you already sound like you’re an expert. Alpha-lipoic acid is an organic compound that is found in human cells. No that doesn’t mean I want you to turn into Hannibal Lecter as it is also found in animal products like red meat and organ meats are great sources of alpha-lipoic acid, but plant foods like broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, and Brussels sprouts also contain it. The antioxidant properties of alpha-lipoic acid have been linked to several benefits, including lower blood sugar levels, reduced inflammation, slowed skin aging, and improved nerve function. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to lower several markers of inflammation. In an investigation of 11 studies, alpha-lipoic acid significantly lowered levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP).
Olive Oil: The Mediterranean’s are famous throughout the world for their healthy diet and with good reason. Extra-virgin olive oil can reduce inflammation, which may be one of the main reasons for its health benefits. The main anti-inflammatory effects are resolved by the antioxidants. Significant among them is oleocanthal, which has been shown to work similarly to ibuprofen. A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil helps reduce the risk of strokes and even some cancers. It’s no wonder the Greeks used olive oil for everything, got a sore joint?….. rub olive oil on it, break your leg?…… rub olive oil on it?, car broke down?……… rub olive oil on it.
Cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper is probably the king of medicinal herbs. In fact, these peppers have been used for thousands of years to aid with treatment for many health problems. Not only do they have medicinal properties, but cayenne peppers are also great for cooking and contain several beneficial nutrients. This spicy chilli acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Capsaicin (the oily substance in cayenne) is actually the active ingredient in many prescription creams, ointments, and patches for muscle pain and arthritis.
Pineapple: Apart from contributing to a great tasting Pina Colada pineapple also helps to fight against osteoarthritis symptoms. The enzyme bromelain which is found in the pineapple alleviates swelling associated with osteoarthritis and It can also help with asthma, sinusitis and even cat allergies. Pineapple contains a significant amount of vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that fights cell damage, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. This makes vitamin C a helpful fighter against problems such as heart disease and joint pain. In fact, it’s been used in folk medicine since ancient times, according to a study published in September 2016 in Biomedical Reports.