Literally You Are What You Eat. Become Pain Free Naturally

You Literally Are What You Eat,  to become pain free naturally

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Medications like Advil, aspirin and Tylenol can rip holes in your intestines, liver and make your digestion a nightmare even when you don’t realize it.  And why would you know? Turning to these meds for pain relief is so common in the US, it is expected and pushed by big pharma. The relief pain killers offer never lasts, though. There are better options.nutrition

Believe me, I get it, sometimes you just want some pain relief. In fact, when I was involved in an accident with a drunk driver years ago, I didn’t realize there was a way to relieve my pain using my diet. All I knew was how awful my head, neck and back felt. Moving at all was hard but moving forward was so painful. The simple act of motion was in itself painful, so I wanted to stay in bed. But I am stubborn and I knew I needed another way. In fact, I will not settle for less than a balanced healthy life.

I began to explore every option that could help me cope. This is a list of what helps me and what might help you also. Maybe you know or you don’t, but nutrition plays a major role in the experience of pain. I’m always surprised that most people think that they can eat just about anything and wonder why they’re still in pain. It’s because your body only responds with what you give it. All food is medication; it’s that simple. Seriously.

gingerMany ancient peoples knew that and only had food and herbs for healing. The saying is true: you are what you eat and drink. A change in diet is now being proposed by at least some of those in the chronic pain communities, as a natural alternative to pain killing drugs.  

Diet is a basic means of pain control, one that should be an essential element of everyone’s plan. Good food choices can subdue pain and pain’s side effects: listlessness, fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, and digestive problems. Unhealthful eating, on the other hand, will increase your suffering and need for medication.

Eat Five to Six Servings of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

FiberWhen your body is worn down by pain you are more likely to suffer from frequent illness, fatigue, or weakness. It makes sense that fruits and vegetables can act as tonics, strengthening your body with an array of nutrients. Your body will especially appreciate the benefits of phytochemicals, plant substances that bolster the immune system. For the most phytochemicals, eat a mix of produce that is richly colored, such as berries, red grapes, leafy greens, carrots, pumpkins, tomatoes, and peaches. By eating these fruits and vegetables, you affect pain on the cellular level.  Certain foods such as deeply colored produce appear to stabilize the cell membranes, thus making them less likely to produce substance P and other pain-promoting compounds.


Eat the Right Fats
  • Do your joints feel hot and tender?
  • Is your chronic pain characterized by a burning quality?
  • Do you suffer from PMS pain?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the questions above, the kinds of fats you eat can make the difference between a flare-up and significant relief. That is because some fats increase inflammation while others cool it down. Indian medical wisdom from thousands of years ago focuses whether one is eating hot or cool foods, not in temperature, but in how it affects the body.silver-fork quote

Quite normally, inflammation is your body’s response to an injury. But when inflammation develops without an injury, it becomes a chronically painful problem. Inflammation pain shows that hormones in your body, called prostaglandins, are out of balance. Prostaglandins come in two types: one promotes inflammation while the other inhibits it. Since both kinds are from fatty acids, the type of prostaglandins that are in your body depends on the kinds of fats you eat. Below is a chart from the CDC on the different kinds of fats. But all fats have an effect so moderation is the key.

Anti-inflammatory fats
Pro-inflammatory fats
  1. Eggs fortified with omega-3 fatty acids
  2. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  3. Herring
  4. Pumpkin seeds
  5. Mackerel
  6. Olive oil
  7. Salmon
  8. Sardines
  9. Walnuts
  1. Butter
  2. Corn oil
  3. Full-fat dairy products, such as whole milk and ice cream
  4. Margarine
  5. Sesame oil
  6. Sunflower oil
  7. Tropical oils (such as coconut, palm, and palm kernel oil)
  8. Vegetable shortening
Substitute Whole Grains for White Bread and Ricewholegrains

Whole grains are a source of many nutrients important for the immune system and for pain control, including B-complex vitamins. They are also high in magnesium, which relaxes cramped muscles, and in fiber, which reduces constipation from irritable bowel syndrome or pain medications. By contrast, refined products, especially sweet baked goods, cause terrible flare-ups. Avoiding refined grains may stabilize your nerves and keep them from firing extra or intensified messages of pain. Remember that pain lives in the central nervous system, so the extent to which you can keep it on an even keel is the extent to which you’ll feel better.

Multi-Symptom Triggers

The following list includes the foods most often identified in research studies as triggers for migraines, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and fibromyalgia.nuts

  1. Dairy products
  2. Wheat
  3. Citrus fruits
  4. Corn
  5. Caffeine
  6. Meat
  7. Nuts
  8. Tomatoes

Arthritis

Eating Guidelines for an Anti-Inflammatory Diet/Foods
  1. Consume mostly fruits and vegetables—minimum of 5 servings a day.
  2. Eat fish three to five times a week, or use fish oil supplements.
  3. Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil or butter.
  4. Minimize the amount of meat, dairy and butter—or even become vegan.
  5. Take Vitamin E, 400 IU and Flaxseed oil, one tablespoon daily.
  6. Lower your daily caloric intake.
  7. Identify and avoid inflammation trigger foods.
Inflammatory-Safe Foods
  1. Brown rice
  2. Cooked or dried fruits: cherries, cranberries, pears, prunes (but not citrus fruits, bananas, peaches, or tomatoes)
  3. Cooked green, yellow, and orange vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, chard, collards, lettuce, spinach, string beans, summer or winter squash, sweet potatoes, tapioca, and taro
  4. Water: plain water or carbonated forms, such as Perrier, are fine.
  5. Other beverages, even herbal teas, can be triggers.
  6. Condiments: modest amounts of salt, maple syrup, and vanilla extract are usually well-tolerated.

Some people use fish oils for their anti-inflammatory omega-3s. However, plant-derived oils have none of the fish odor that can be apparent in the perspiration of people using fish oil. They also tend to be more chemically stable, so they do not oxidize as quickly. They are also lower in saturated fats.

Several spices also show anti-inflammatory effects by blocking enzymes that would otherwise make inflammation-producing prostaglandins. These spices are ginger, clove oil, garlic, turmeric, and cumin.

A List of Inflammation-Fighting Foods

Consuming at least one food from each category every week will provide the greatest amount of phytochemical, anti-inflammatory compounds.

Cruciferous VegetablesBroccoli cooked
  1. Bok choy
  2. Broccoli
  3. Brussels sprouts
  4. Cabbage
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Kale
  7. Watercress
Green Vegetables
  1. Chard
  2. Collards
  3. Lettuce
  4. Mustard greens
  5. Spinach
Legumesfresh-ingredients julia child
  1. Black beans
  2. Chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  3. Kidney beans
  4. Navy beans
  5. Peas
  6. Pinto beans
  7. Soybeans
Berriesanti-oxidants
  1. Blackberries
  2. Blueberries
  3. Raspberries
  4. Strawberries
Beta-Carotene-Rich Foods
  1. Apricots
  2. Cantaloupe
  3. Carrots
  4. Mango
  5. Pumpkin
  6. Sweet Potato
Major Inflammation Trigger Foods
  1. Dairy products
  2. Corn
  3. Meats
  4. Wheat, oats, rye
  5. Eggs
  6. Citrus fruits
  7. Potatoes
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Nuts
  10. Coffee

Osteoarthritis

Vitamin E relieves pain and improves mobility in patients with osteoarthritis. A typical dosage regimen is 400 IU each day, or 100 IU for people with high blood pressure.

Gout

Two common parts of the diet- animal products and alcohol- make gout more likely. The worst contributors are shellfish, sardines, anchovies, organ meats, and beer. However, high-protein diets, in general, tend to encourage gout.

Temporomandibular joint

Eat softer foods and take smaller bites to take the stress off the joint. Pain clinics sometimes use vitamin B6, which is also used in carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetic pains. The usual dose is 100-150 mg of B6 per day.

Back pain

Keep salt use to a minimum in food preparation and at the table, consuming only one to two grams daily. Stay away from processed foods. If you have more than two cups of coffee per day (which you should not), use decaffeinated. Vitamin B6 (50-150 mg per day) and powdered ginger (one-half to one teaspoon per day or one to two grams) may prove useful adjuncts for back pain. You can use ginger on the outside in a paste as a quick relief on the site of the pain.

Fibromyalgia

Many fibromyalgia symptoms may be from a lack of serotonin, the brain chemical that suppresses pain. Serotonin is also essential for regulating moods, which means depression is likely in people with fibromyalgia, 40% or more.  Serotonin is also important in sleep, as sleep can also be disturbed by fibromyalgia.

Foods that are high in carbohydrates, breads, pasta, potatoes, or fruits, can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. High carbohydrate foods also increase a second brain chemical, called norepinephrine, which is also important in pain control and in moods. Magnesium, 150 to 300 mg taken twice per day can help fibromyalgia.

Migraine

Pain-safe foods
  1. Brown rice
  2. Cooked or dried fruits: cherries, cranberries, pears, prunes (but not citrus fruits, apples, bananas, peaches, or tomatoes)
  3. Cooked green, yellow, and orange vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, chard, collards, lettuce, spinach, string beans, summer or winter squash, sweet potatoes, tapioca, and taro
  4. Water: plain water or carbonated forms, such as Perrier, are needed.
  5. Other beverages, even herbal teas, can be triggers.
  6. Condiments: modest amounts of salt, maple syrup, and vanilla extract are usually well-tolerated. 
Major migraine triggerswhat-you-eat quote
  1. Dairy products
  2. Chocolate
  3. Meats
  4. Eggs
  5. Wheat
  6. Citrus fruits
  7. Onions
  8. Corn
  9. Apples
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Nuts and peanuts
  12. Bananas

Try these supplements and check with your pain clinic doctor to make sure there are no interactions:

  1. Feverfew: 250 mg per day
  2. Magnesium: 400-700 mg per day total
  3. Calcium: Reduce calcium losses by avoiding animal protein, caffeine, tobacco, and excess sodium and sugar. Take 1,000-2,000 mg per day of elemental calcium with 200 IU of vitamin D

So I’m curious, what have you tried to overcome your pain?

Have you tried anything naturally?

Are you frustrated with the medical establishment and need some advice?

Please let me know! I’m here to help

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References

Harvard’s nutrition source

Self Nutrition Data

Nutritional Approaches

Overcoming pain

 

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