Sometimes it’s possible to find something as simple as spices and herbs that can reduce pain and treat inflammation. Here are some of the ones I use.
This is of course not a food itself, but a chemical compound found in peppers. You can purchase it in pill or a cream, but it is so easy to add to your diet. You will find the highest concentration in chili peppers, but it is also in bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and cayenne peppers. Capsaicin has little to no side effects overall, but if you have an allergy to peppers or sensitive to hot food you would probably want to stay away from it.
Capsaicin is still being studied, but it has shown positive results in arthritis, lupus, and other types of inflammation. Recent studies are also showing that muscle pain specifically is affected by the Capsaicin because it has phytochemicals that target it.
The Mayo clinic and other prevalent research institutions are still studying the exact reason that turmeric is so effective, but it is known to treat pain such as joint swelling and stiffness. One of the chemical compounds in turmeric that has anti-inflammatory properties is curcumin. If you don’t want to go through the entire process of making a meal with turmeric in it, you can take it in pill form. If you notice that you have some stomach upset after you take your turmeric you will want to cut back the dose, higher doses can occasionally cause digestive tract discomfort.
I love cherries so I was very excited to find out about this one. The chemical compound in cherries that makes them turn red is also the compound that will help fight pain in your body, that compound is anthocyanins. It is these nutrients that are antioxidants that help to boost your immune system response and fight off inflammation. Those who have studied how the body responds to anthocyanins will tell you that they have the same effect on your brain receptors as the compounds in basic pain relievers such as aspirin and Aleve. You can also drink fresh cherry juice or use frozen cherries in your morning smoothie.
This is another spice that can be added to foods or made into a tea. Ginger has been a favorite for calming upset stomachs. Ginger is known to block the certain receptors in the brain that causes vomiting, but calming your stomach shouldn’t be the only reason you reach for the ginger. It is known to help with inflammation, chronic joint pain, migraines, standard headache pain and arthritis. Ginger is a very easy supplement to take because you can put it in so many different things. Ginger ale contains little or no ginger and a lot of sugar so it’s best to avoid it. You can, however, use ginger in smoothies, juice, make tea as well as cooking with it. There are lots of great recipes with ginger, but my favorite is Asian style stir fry. It can take 7 days to start working, so be patient.
Chances are you have seen commercials about yogurt being good for your digestive tract, but you likely haven’t heard that it can also help you when it comes to chronic pain. The same bacterial strains that help with the bloating you can get in your stomach attack inflammation if you start ingesting it on a regular basis. The key is making sure the container says active live cultures on it. If you don’t have a yogurt with those cultures in them, chances are it will not work.
I am certainly not a doctor and can’t give you medical advice. I just wanted to share some of things that have helped me based on my own experience.