When we experience pain, the first thing most of us do is reach for a bottle of pills. Aspirin and ibuprofen drugs are able to counter our aches and pains, because they are anti-inflammatory.
While pills are sometimes necessary, there’s also an often-overlooked option that minimizes pain: our diet. Certain healthy foods have anti-inflammatory properties, similar to aspirin and ibuprofen.
Probably the best known anti-inflammatory food is salmon. A potent source of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon eases inflammation and has been shown to benefit people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Another well-known anti-inflammatory powerhouse is green tea, which has flavonoid compounds that ease pain.
Spices are effective, as well. If you love curry, then you’ll love this news: turmeric, with its active ingredient curcumin, has been compared favorably to ibuprofen in fighting pain. Ginger is also a great way to add some zing to your meal and fight pain while you’re at it.
There are all kinds of fruits and vegetables that provide anti-inflammatory benefits. The easiest way to find them is to seek out the bright and colorful sections in the produce aisle. Chances are the more colorful produce will fit into an anti-inflammatory diet regimen: think leafy greens, berries, red grapes, cherries, and oranges, and you’re well on your way.
To keep pain at bay, it’s just as important to avoid foods that aggravate inflammation. These foods include sugar, refined grains (white bread), and the trans fats in processed foods.
How much more fun is it to eat tasty foods than take pills for your pain? That said, don’t use it as a substitute for your doctor-prescribed medicines. Making wise dietary choices may be a savvy complement to your doctor-recommended medication and also a strong deterrent to age-related pain as you get older.
Take a look at the infographic below to see some of the nutrients that help with certain painful ailments.
IllumiNutri is a doctor- and nutritionist-owned company that helps people heal naturally through a combination of holistic and Western medicine.