by Dr Pandula Siribaddana
In an era where natural remedies are being increasingly looked at as potential replacements for side effects prone medicinal treatments, pain relieving is an area where medications usually has an edge over natural means. While it is easy to understand the reasons behind the preferred use of over the counter or prescription only pain relievers, it is not clear as to why people do not actively use the food sources and herbs that are capable of fighting pains that may arise due to multiple reasons including due to arthritis type of diseases. Although the effectiveness of such food and herbal remedies may be inconsistent and require more testing at home, utilizing the same would be a safe alternative than the effects of commonly used over the counter pain relievers.

Antioxidants can help protect you from disease as they fight the free radicals in your body that can harm your cells. When your antioxidant levels are low oxidative stress can occur, making you susceptible to many illnesses including colds, flu, heart disease and cancer. In order to keep your body healthy and your immune system strong you must consume an abundance of foods that contain antioxidants on a daily basis.

Antioxidant containing foods include fruits like blueberries, red grapes, cranberries, wolfberry fruit, and blackberries. Vegetables like Small red beans, Red kidney beans, pinto beans, artichoke hearts, carrots, green leafy vegetables, and russet potatoes. Spices like cinnamon, turmeric, oregano, ground cloves and ginger. The antioxidant content according to the ORAC test shows wolfberries have twice that of dark chocolate and over ten times that of blueberries.

Among the foods that are capable of fighting pains, foods that contain antioxidants are highly desirable. Such foods have been seen as particularly effective in relation to pains that are caused by inflammatory disorders such as arthritis. In addition to relieving pains, antioxidant-containing foods are also capable of relieving the swelling and the stiffness associated with such inflammatory conditions. It is advisable to add these foods into a regular dietary plan in order to obtain its fullest effect. Ginger is another food that can bring relief to inflammatory type of pains including sore muscles and inflamed joints. It is reported that there are instances where scientists have successfully made use of ginger extract injections in order to treat joint inflammation in certain individuals. According to scientists, the gingerols that are present in ginger extracts seems to be a major reason for its anti-inflammatory effects.

Omega-3 and Selenium may be found in Salmon and other cold water fish as well as nuts…etc. Omega-3 fatty acids have also shown to help relieve certain types of pains especially the ones which are associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Salmon has been recognized as a food rich in omega-3 as are most other cold water fish and nuts. Apart from soothing the joint and muscle pains, the omega-3 in salmon has also shown to cure upset stomach that may be due to various causes although its exact mechanism is not well understood. Similarly, foods rich in selenium can also be utilized as a natural pain reliever. It effectively reduced the amount of free radicals circulating in the blood and therefore the cellular damage it can cause at sites prone to develop inflammation. Avocados, brazil nuts, tuna, cod and turkey are key sources of selenium while eggs, cottage cheese and brown rice also contain significant amounts of selenium that can be utilized to supplement the body’s natural ability to fight body aches and pains.

In addition, experts are also of the opinion that sipping a cup of tea made out of thyme leaves or sage leaves can also bring relief to mild to moderate sore throats while dark red or purple colored fruit and vegetable juices are capable of preventing stress induced muscle damage and inflammation to a certain extent. At the same time, foods such as onions, mustard, pickles, seeds, parsley and lean meat can help manage aches and pains associated with inflammation.

Given the studies conducted so far and the knowledge passed on from generations, it is apparent that foods can help reduce aches and pains that are commonly associated with age related degenerations, stress and inflammatory processes. In most instances such foods and spices may be more helpful before the pain gets so bad that a doctor is needed for drug relieving methods.

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