Does anti-inflammatory food play any role in reducing pain? This is a topic that has been debated by dieticians for many years now. While research continues to prove what exactly food does in reducing pain, there have been anecdotal records that point to the fact that food may be very helpful in keeping pain under control especially in the case of arthritic patients.
Staying in control of your body weight
Before you proceed on to the topic of listing down all the best foods to reduce arthritic pains, that start by pointing out that keeping body weight in control is very crucial for anybody, arthritic or not. When your body weight exceeds healthy parameters, your joints are bound to be under a lot of stress and that is going to cause additional tear and wear of the skeletal muscles and cartilage in your joints. Make sure to maintain a healthy weight to prevent chances of body pain from happening. Follow a healthy lifestyle, join a gym and talk to your dietician for a balanced diet plan that will keep you healthy and fit.
What is inflammation? We do not worry much about this unless it becomes a cause of worry and pain. Inflammation is a part of our body’s natural immune system which triggers in order to protect us from infections. When foreign organisms (bacteria and viruses) the immune system releases white blood cells into the blood. White blood cells contain special chemicals which increase blood flow to the area of impact to deal with the foreign substance. However, sometimes these chemicals leak into joint linings and tissues which stimulates nerves and causes pain. In diseases such as arthritis, the body is misled into thinking that there are foreign organisms in the body, when in reality there are none, which triggers the release of white blood cells. Unnecessary inflammation leads to wearing down of cartilage in bones and causes irritation and swelling.
Dr Frank Hu, a professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health says that, “Many experimental studies have shown that components of food or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects”. Certain foods and vegetables along with green leafy vegetables have natural antioxidants and polyphenols which reduce the risk of inflammation. Some nuts and coffee beans contain similar chemical compounds which help in fighting against inflammation and, thereby pain. Here is a list of some of the most effective food items that have been known to reduce pain in arthritic patients. And this list is special because we do not list any food that is difficult to find. Everything on this list is available in your house or your nearest supermarket.
In India, turmeric and milk has been known as a combination to provide pain relief for ages. Even today, people drink turmeric laced milk to get rid of pain. There is scientific evidence that turmeric helps in pain. It contains a chemical compound known as curcumin and it is beneficial in management of chronic inflammatory pains.
The bright red root portion of the beet plant that you have been using n salads for ages is also very beneficial as an anti-inflammatory food. It is a unique source of bitalains which is a phytonutrients that protects cells and enzymes from stress. Bitalains fight against inflammatory markers such as C reactive proteins, interleukin – 6 and tumour necrosis factor alpha.
Health benefits of pineapple are commonly associated with digestive properties. But there are also very strong anti-inflammatory qualities of pineapple. It contains quercentin and bromelain, both of which are associated with digestion, however recently it has been found that bromelain has special properties that can block unnecessary inflammation in the body.
Coconut oil/Groundnut Oil/Cod Liver Oil
When virgin Coconut oil is mixed with turmeric, the anti-inflammatory properties of both increase radically. In a study carried out by the Department of biochemistry and nutrition, Central food technological research Institute, Mysore, India, it was found that the combination of coconut oil and turmeric heel pain in arthritic patients much better than traditional medicines. The same can be said of groundnut oil and cod liver oil respectively. Besides external application, using this combination of turmeric and the oils as a part of diet helped in lowering inflammation.
Ginger is also very effective anti-inflammatory food. In fact, today you can buy ginger tablets, teas, tinctures, powders and oils that are sold as special foods with exceptional health benefits. In a research done at the University of Miami, it was found that Ginger reduced pain and stiffness in need joints 40% better than a placebo that was used as an alternative during the research. In low doses Ginger is very effective in settling an upset stomach but remember that, taking large doses may actually upset your stomach. Experiment with smaller portions of grated fresh ginger in your salad or you can make a herbal tea with it too.