By Jody Pannozzo, RD, MyDietitian.com
When you suffer from any type of pain, finding relief is a top priority. In fact, there are all kinds of treatments people try from over-the-counter medications, physical therapy and even surgical procedures.
What about food? Registered dietitian Jody Pannozzo with MyDietitian.com gave us a few foods we might want to buy on our next outing to the grocery store.
- What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a process in which the body’s white blood cells and other substances produced by the immune system attempt to protect the body from infection, viruses, bacteria and other foreign organism. In some diseases, like arthritis, an inflammatory response is triggered, even though there is nothing to protect the body from. When it comes to arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system causes damage to its own tissues.
- What foods can ease pain and inflammation?
Diets that are rich in more natural foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and oils have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Here are some examples:
- Olive oil
- Nuts: almonds and walnuts
- Fatty Fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- Fruits: Cherries, blueberries, oranges and strawberries,
- Vegetables: Spinach, kale, collards
- What pain conditions can really benefit from food?
Chronic inflammation has been linked to diseases like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Inflammation also plays a big role in other types of inflammatory arthritis like, Rheumatoid Arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout.
According to the Arthritis Foundation studies show that a diet of fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans can result in improvements in pain, morning stiffness, disease activity and physical function for those with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- What is in the food fighting the inflammation?
Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytochemicals can act as powerful anti-inflammatories. Recent studies show that some foods, like olive oil, have oleocanthal, which works the same way ibuprofen does in the body.
- Do people realize food can fight inflammation?
Recently, much focus has been placed on treating diseases and preventing chronic disease with functional foods and an abundance of research has shown how impactful the diet can be on overall health. Yet, most people are not conditioned to reach for certain foods as a way to treat medical issues.
Many of my clients are grateful, but surprised when I recommend foods like cherries after a long run to reduce post work out discomfort and reduce their recovery times.
- Anything else you would like to add?
Over-the-counter and prescription anti-inflammatories are very effective in treating pain. However, like most medications chronic use of these products comes with side effects.
Anti-inflammatories are widely known to cause stomach irritation, ulcers and even more severe issues like kidney and heart problems. Choosing a more natural way to treat inflammation can be a great way to avoid the side effects of medication and reduce your risk of some chronic diseases.