Food to fight pain - Pain management diet for arthritis and other pain
Learn how choosing the right foods can reduce pain in your life.
This article discusses current research into foods that fight pain, particularly inflammatory pain such as rheumatoid arthritis.
A list of food that may help can be found at the end of the article.
The problem of pill popping
Western culture has in recent years has become enormously dependant on pill popping.
The moment we have any kind of ailment we want a pill to cure it quick.
Pain control is a classic example of this; if you have a head ache take a pill.
But for long term pain sufferers, such as those with rheumatoid arthritis, pain management becomes an issue.
Negative side effects can make the risks of sustained consumption of pain-killers a real turn off.
But all of us should think carefully about how much we use pain-killers.
Well known brands of pain killing tablets such as Motrin, Nurofen and Rabax contain the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen.
Recent years studies have built up a compelling picture of the dangers of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, particularly with regard to stomach bleeding.
The pain management diet (arthritis diet)
Diet now is being proposed as a natural alternative to pain killing drugs.
Research in this area is in it's early stages and there is no definitive evidence relating a particular diet to a reduction in pain.
However in this article we present some of the evidence and ideas that is pointing towards the favorable effects of eating certain foods on pain control.
This kind of diet has some times been refered to as the
arthritis diet as some individuals have found it particularly helpful in dealing with arthritic pain.
However it may prove effective in all kinds of pain management situations.
Pain experts always talk in terms of pain management rather than banishing pain and you should consider diet as merely one tool that you can use in management of your pain.
By analysing the diets of over 25,000 individuals a team from the University of Manchester, UK found that those with beta-cryptoxanthin in their diet (found in oranges, apricots, nectarines, tangerines, papaya, peaches, plums, and watermelon) were less likely to develop painful inflammatory joint conditions1.
The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that as little as a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice was enough to make a difference.
Eat Anti-inflammatory foods
Oranges are an example of a food with anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact all kinds of anti-inflammatory foods are believed to work positively in the area of pain control, acting as a more gentle alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs.
More information about anti-inflammatory foods can be found here.
In a study at the University of Pittsburgh of 250 patients experiencing neck and back pain, 60% experienced an improvement in their overall pain after three months of consuming omega-3, found in oily fish2.
This result aligns with other studies that show that fish oil has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Fish is not the only source of omega-3 it can also be found in flaxseed/linseed oil and in other nuts and seeds but the long chain omega-3 found in fish are said to be the most potent.
For help getting more omega-3 into your diet see our: guide to omega-3.
The chemical resveratrol, naturally found in the skins of grapes (particularly red grapes), in mulberries, nuts and wine inhibits the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX).
This is same action that aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs perform.
But there is a benificial difference; like aspirin resveratrol blocks COX-2 that causes inflammation and pain but unlike asprin it doesn't block COX-1 which assists in the healing of the stomach lining.
Eat a diet abundant in anti-oxidizing fruits and vegetables. Asparagus, broccoli , cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, avocados, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and watermelon are all rich in the powerful anti-oxidant glutathione.
There is some evidence to show that glutathione lowers the risk of developing arthritis.
Other antioxidants are vitamins C and E and can be found in citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, berries and tomaotes.
Eat nuts and seeds
Hazelnuts, peanuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are all good sources of tryptophan.
In tests typtophan has been shown to reduce pain sensitivity approximate one hour after it is consumed.
Other sources of tryptophan are dairy products, soy products (soy milk, tofu etc), seafood, whole grains, beans, rice, hummus and lentils
There is a growing theory that the compounds that give color to fruits and vegetables (flavanoids) are key in disease prevention.
They are thought to slow the bodies process of degeneration, which can be no bad thing for pain suffers.
Try to enrich your diet with foods high flavonoids such as apples, green tea, onions, soy, and grapes.
Pain Fighting Food List
The five lists below include foods that contain compounds that may have some role in the body's management of pain.
If you are considing managing your pain with diet then you should consider including a food from each of the lists in your diet each day.
Although there is no guarentee that it will banish pain from your life, at the very least it will improve the nutritional contain of your meals.