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Can We Say Goodbye To Pain, Naturally?
February 21, 2014
|J.R. and I hope you're well and adding natures super foods to your family's diet!
It's when information meets inspiration that a newsletter can help you lead a healthy and active life.
Knowledge is important when you have what it takes to become a healthier you!
Today we'd like to share with you a variety of super-foods that can help to conquer pain, naturally.
Chronic pain affects 116 million North American adults.
That's more than a third of the US population.
And while pain pills reduce suffering, they can be addictive and produce unpleasant side effects.
Worse, they often fail to eliminate the true cause of the pain.
No matter how well you prescribe medication, chronic sufferers don't get complete relief.
It's an enormous problem, and the medical community is doing little in solving it.
But there is an alternative, and it's right in your kitchen or pantry.
Certain foods ease aches by fighting inflammation, blocking pain signals, and even healing underlying disease.
I've always maintained that in most cases, if we find pharmaceuticals doing the trick, we'll find a plant doing the same trick, and doing it more safely.
But before you can reap these rewards, you have to quit the junk food that irritates your body's pain system.
The typical Western-style diet is heavy on foods that promote inflammation, including highly processed foods and refined carbs.
No fruit, vegetable, or herb by itself can alleviate your pain if you don't change the pattern of your diet to reduce processed food and increase whole foods.
This may not be easy.
But if you stay committed to a good nutrition plan, you may be able to say good-bye to pain.
The Target: Arthritis, muscle pain
The Dose: 45 daily
Compounds in cherries called anthocyanins, the same phytonutrients that give cherries their rich ruby hue, are powerful antioxidants that work in two ways to tamp down pain.
They block inflammation and they inhibit pain enzymes, just like aspirin, naproxen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories.
One study I read in the Journal of Nutrition showed that people who ate a bowl of cherries for breakfast reduced a major marker of inflammation by 25%.
Other researchers found less muscle pain in runners who drank 12 ounces of tart cherry juice twice daily for 7 days before a distance run.
The Target: Migraines, arthritis, sore muscles
The Dose: 1/4 teaspoon daily
This spicy root is a traditional stomach soother, easing seasickness and nausea.
It's believed to work by breaking up intestinal gas and possibly blocking a receptor in the gut that induces vomiting.
But there are good reasons to eat ginger even when you're not feeling nauceous.
Another natural aspirin impersonator and anti-inflammatory, it can offer relief from migraines, arthritis pain, and muscle aches.
There are plenty of ways to include ginger in your diet.
Add it grated into Asian dishes, smoothies, and juices.
Or make ginger tea by placing sliced, peeled ginger-root in boiling water and letting it steep for 15 minutes.
For ginger lemonade, combine grated gingerroot, lemon juice, and honey with ice water.
The Target: Ulcers
The Dose: 1 cup daily
Ulcers are the result of a pathogen called H. pylori, which attacks the protective lining of the stomach or small intestine.
Antibiotics are the usual cure, but you can help prevent ulcers in the first place by drinking cranberry juice, thanks to its ability to block H. pylori from adhering to the stomach lining.
One study found that just under a cup a day for 3 weeks eliminated almost 20% of all cases of H. pylori infection, without drugs.
But the juice becomes inflammatory when it's loaded with sugar, so grab a bottle of 100% natural cranberry juice.
If it's too bitter, add water or a natural sweetener such as organic honey.
Salmon, Herring, Sardines
The Target: Achy back, neck, joints
The Dose: Two to three 3-ounce servings weekly
Eating fish low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids can help relieve back pain.
In a healthy back, blood vessels at the edge of spinal disks transport crucial nutrients to those disks.
If blood flow is diminished, the disks lose their source of oxygen and other nutrients, and they begin to degenerate.
Omega-3s help by improving blood flow and tamping down inflammation in blood vessels and nerves.
But for the full effect, you may need supplements.
One study in the journal Surgical Neurology found that taking 1,200 mg or more of EPA and DHA per day could reduce both back and neck pain.
And there are added bonuses: "Any amount of fish oil is beneficial for cardiovascular protection and mood elevation," says Joseph C. Maroon, M.D., the study's lead researcher.
The Target: Achy joints, colitis (inflammation of the colon)
The Dose: 1 tablespoon daily
This essential curry spice has been used for years in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve pain and speed up digestion.
But researchers like it for another reason: its anti-inflammatory properties, courtesy of a substance called curcumin.
Turmeric can protect the body from tissue destruction and joint inflammation and also preserve good nerve cell function.
Not a big fan of curry?
Sprinkle turmeric on salad dressings, soups, cooked grains, and vegetables.
Or get an even heftier dose by taking a turmeric supplement. (Make sure the label says it contains 95% curcuminoids.)
And note: When you cook with turmeric, use the pepper mill.
Turmeric and black pepper should always go together as the piperine in black pepper releases curcumin from the spice.
The Target: IBS
The Dose: One or two 8-ounce containers daily
For the roughly 20% of North Americans who have irritable bowel syndrome, stomach pain is a given.
But help may come in the form of a bug, billions of bugs, actually.
Several bacterial strains that are often in yogurt (especially B. infantis and L. acidophilus) reduce pain, inflammation, and bloating, according to a 2010 review.
Another study found similar results with B. lactis. But shop smart.
Not every yogurt contains probiotics.
Look for a brand with "live and active" cultures.
Vegans can get their daily dose from probiotic-enriched soy yogurt.
The Target: Headaches
The Dose: Two 4-oz. cups
Coffee isn't just a morning java jolt.
It's good medicine.
Caffeine helps reduce pain by narrowing the dilated blood vessels that develop with headaches.
And coffee delivers a one-two punch by reducing pain-promoting compounds and amplifying the effect of other pain relievers too.
(But be warned: If you're a java junkie, too much caffeine can have the opposite effect. When you quit, you can get withdrawal headaches. Coffee works as a headache reliever only if you don't consume it regularly.)
The Target: IBS, headaches
The Dose: 1 cup of tea daily
Chewing on peppermint can freshen your breath, but there's another reason you should try the herb.
The menthol in peppermint helps prevent muscle spasms, one of the reasons peppermint oil effectively treats irritable bowel syndrome.
The oil is also useful for relieving headaches.
Rub some on your temples or wrists and breathe in the minty scent.
Botanist James A. Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods, recommends brewing mint tea for any type of pain.
Pour boiling water over peppermint leaves and steep until the tea is as strong as you like.
Add wintergreen leaves for an extra pain-fighting boost; a compound in wintergreen called methyl salicylate blocks the enzymes that cause inflammation and pain.
A final squeeze of lemon will help you extract as many pain-reducing chemicals as possible from the plants.
The Target: Arthritis
The Dose: 1/4 cup daily
When it comes to culinary fixes for pain, osteoarthritis poses a challenge.
Wear and tear on the joints, the kind that leaves cartilage tattered and bones grinding against one another, is not reversible.
Still, there's some hope for relief.
Researchers from Oklahoma State University gave participants either 40 g. of soy protein (about 1/4 cup of shelled edamame) or milk-based protein for three months.
At the study's end, pain was reduced for those who ate soy protein but not for those in the milk protein group.
I'm talking about tofu, tempeh, other fermented forms of whole soy, not soy protein isolates, which you commonly see in processed snacks.
Cooking with tofu is simple as long as you know the basics.
Silken tofu is soft and often used in creamy dressings, soups, and desserts; firm tofu is typically cooked like meat, ie; marinated and/or grilled.
The Target: Arthritis
The Dose: Half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes or powder daily
The same peppers that singe your tongue and bring tears to your eyes can take away pain.
An ingredient in hot peppers called capsaicin does the trick by stimulating nerve endings and depleting a chemical that relays pain signals.
You can buy capsaicin-containing creams at most pharmacies.
Though topical relief is most effective for arthritis, eating hot peppers also yields pain-fighting benefits.
Personally, I add pepper flakes to soups and add chili or hot sauce on many of my foods, ie; scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, etc.
The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.
But after handling hot peppers, wash your hands thoroughly.
A towel wet with milk cuts the pepper way better than water.
If you touch your face before that, you'll understand why capsaicin is the main ingredient in Mace.
Unfortunately, that's all the time we have for today.
We wish you and your family the very best in health and happiness!
We truly hope this information helps and you found some value in this edition!
Until next time, we want you to,
live longer, live younger!
You can do it with
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