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Eat your way to pain relief

Everyone loves to eat, but did you know there are certain foods that can fight inflammation and ease pain? That’s because these foods have naturally occurring anti-inflammatory properties. And since inflammation is the source of pain behind many conditions such as arthritis, they can make a great addition to your diet. Check out these eight healthy eating tips.

1. Give ginger a go

Ginger is a popular herbal medicine in Asian, Indian and Arabic traditions. Its calming effect can soothe upset stomachs and ease nausea. However, what’s really interesting is its potent anti-inflammatory compounds gingerols, which have been shown to reduce pain and stiffness. Make a cup of fresh ginger tea and give it go.

2. Shake up some turmeric

Turmeric is best known for giving curry its distinctive yellow colour and flavour. But it’s also another pain-fighting power food, due to an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Studies have found curcumin reduces pain and protects joints from rheumatoid arthritis. Sprinkle some on to curries or add to scrambled eggs, and don’t forget to add a pinch of black pepper too, as it’s thought to boost turmeric’s pain-relieving properties.

3. Wake up to coffee

A good cup of coffee is a great way to start a morning. However, it’s also a potent painkiller, because it contains caffeine, the same stimulant found in chocolate, tea and cola. Research suggests a moderate dose (the equivalent of just two cups of coffee) almost halves muscle ache following exercise.

4. Splash on a little olive oil

The secret behind olive oil’s health benefits is a natural substance called oleocanthal, which reduces inflammation and sensitivity to pain. A quality extra virgin olive oil rich in oleocanthal will give a peppery, throat-stinging sensation. The stronger the sting, the more oleocanthal is present.

5. Put salmon on the menu

Not only is salmon delicious to eat, it’s also a rich source of omega-3, which is a bonus. Amongst other health benefits, these fatty acids can reduce inflammation – a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be just the thing to alleviate joint pain and stiffness. Even if you don’t have arthritis, omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of developing it. So catch yourself some salmon.

6. Peppermint power

Peppermint owes its pain-relieving powers to menthol, which prevents pain signals from reaching the brain. Peppermint oil is also used to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel, and works to soothe headaches when lightly rubbed onto the skin. You can simply enjoy its benefits by adding peppermint leaves to boiling water and allow them to infuse. See, it’s not just a breath freshener.

7. Don’t wait for Christmas to eat cherries

Love cherries all year round? Then you’re in luck, because their ruby-red colour comes from antioxidants called anthocyanins, another natural pain reliever. Anthocyanins reduce pain by blocking inflammation and inhibiting pain causing enzymes, offering relief from aching joints and muscles. They’re also found in berries such as blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

8. Orange just isn’t a great colour

Oranges are a good source of beta-cryptoxanthin, which is an antioxidant that helps ease inflammation. Just the equivalent of one glass of freshly squeezed orange juice a day is enough to reduce the risk of developing inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Other orange-coloured fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkin and papaya are also rich sources of beta-cryptoxanthin.

This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.