Everyone experiences aches and pains from time to time, with all in need of something that can take the edge off their symptoms. Some people experience chronic pain, which make it necessary for them to make lifestyle changes to get their pain under control. It is becoming more and more mainstream that the key to fighting inflammation isn’t in your medicine cabinet, but in the foods that you eat. What foods are good for back pain? Generally, those that are packed full with nutrients and antioxidants. There are many foods that provide relief for pain, having their effects through the actions of the chemicals that they contain.
The signals that result in the experience of pain are sent to the brain through the spinal cord, where information about the stimuli is received and the pain is then experienced. The receptors that are involved in pain perception are called nociceptors, which can be acted upon by various substances to relieve pain.
Here are 10 natural foods and spices that are known to act on our natural receptors, serving to provide some measure of body and back pain relief.
1) Black coffee
Many cold and headache medicines contain caffeine, as it is found to enhance the effects of other common painkillers, providing relief from headaches, and it may have a preventative effect for some cancers.
A cup of coffee can reduce pain associated with exercise, maybe by temporarily raising your pain threshold.
Researchers at the University of Georgia found that moderate doses of caffeine, equal to about two cups of coffee, reduced reported levels of post-workout pain by nearly 50 percent.
2) Tart cherries
They can be one of many great healing foods for those with chronic pain, and can also help to reduce muscle pain in athletes.
Anthocyanins, antioxidants found also in strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, are great at neutralizing free radicals in the body. As such, they may protect against arthritis pain and muscle damage.
3) Olive Oil
There are polyphenols present in olive oil that work as super antioxidants, with their anti-inflammatory properties are comparable to effects of common medications.
In regards to fighting pain, this popular oil has similar modes of activation as over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen. Oleocanthal is a compound that is present in the oil, it works by suppressing the same pathway as NSAIDs.
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which has been widely associated with many far-reaching benefits, including reduced risk of stroke, breast and lung cancers, heart disease, and some forms of dementia.
Salmon and other fatty fish contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce pain as a powerful anti-inflammatory;
Salmon also is a great source of vitamin D, which may also be linked to lower levels of pain.
This is root that is loaded with shogaols and gingerols, plant chemicals that are linked with reducing oxidative damage and quieting sore muscles.
It also lowers levels of an inflammatory enzyme prostaglandin. Its general anti-inflammatory properties are effective in treating a variety of ailments including nausea, motion sickness, elements of some heart conditions. One 250-500g capsule was found to be as effective as ibuprofen in relieving menstrual pain. Experts otherwise agree that two to three teaspoons a day should be sufficient to relieve pain.
6) Green Tea
This drink is great both hot and iced, carrying with it amazing preventative properties. This is something that is easy to incorporate into your routine as a self-care ritual.
It serves as an excellent source of polyphenols, as it contains a compound called EGCG, which can inhibit the production of certain molecules that contribute to inflammation and joint damage. It is highly alkalizing to the body which helps to suppress inflammation in the connective tissues for those with arthritis or sufferers of chronic back pain, and helps to reduce free radicals.
It has many other benefits such as lowering blood pressure, improving good cholesterol while lowering overall levels, and stabilizing blood sugar.
As an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, capsaicin is an oily compound present in many peppers, serving as the active ingredient in many prescriptions and over-the-counter treatments for arthritis and muscle pain.
Capsaicin stimulates endorphin production within the brain, which serve as one of the body’s natural pain reliefs. This compound is also capable of blocking pain signals in the body by inhibiting an enzyme that releases another compound involved in pain signaling. Serving size is half a teaspoon of powdered pepper every day. (The Painkilling Cayenne Cream Recipe)
A spice that is popular in India, a key ingredient of curry dishes. anti-inflammatory; curcumin is the chemical that gives turmeric it’s golden color, and is thought to have its effect by regulating expression of certain inflammatory enzymes giving it natural anti-inflammatory powers.
A spice made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory; one of the most powerful healing spices; can reduce heartburn
In a study comparing the antioxidant activity of 26 other spices, cinnamon came out as number one. Contains high amounts of highly potent polyphenols, which fun fact make it able to be used as a natural food preservative.
Research has shown that garlic relieves pain and inflammation through a flavonoid called quercetin, which acts to reduce inflammatory chemicals in the body.
Garlic is natural anti-biotic that hosts mighty anti-inflammatory properties; has sulfur compound that stimulate the production of t-helper cells, which work to improve the immune system, quell pain and inflammation and reduce swelling.
There are many ways that you can work to relieve pain through adding more nutrient-rich foods and keeping a back-pain diet in mind. While some foods have been linked with increasing inflammation, such as eggs, wheat, some meats and chocolate, there are many that are considered anti-inflammatory foods that may provide some relief for lower back pain by acting on these receptors in our spine and brain. While there are no “magic” foods, you can take a hand in your health management by eating a nutrient-rich diet that works to keep your body at its best.