The most important aspect when dealing with muscle or joint pain is your nutritional choices. Your body needs all the nutrients and vitamins it can get– living a healthy lifestyle is important, but when dealing with pain, the actual food choice is important too. It’s your body’s energy source to fight off the pains and aches that constantly weigh you down. Ultimately, the foods you eat can result in either more or less pain, because of their inflammatory or noninflammatory composition. The food you decide to eat determines the way your body heals itself. If you decide to eat unhealthy food, your body will take longer to alleviate your pains. Similarly, the potency of the medicine you take for your pains depends on the types of foods you eat. Eating unhealthy foods can decrease the efficiency of the medication, bringing you back to the doctor for a stronger dose of your pain medications. Adding vitamins to your diet can be very beneficial for your body’s response to pain as well. The best way to combat the pain and allow your medication to heal you faster is to keep away from excess amounts of sugar, fats, and carbohydrates. Let’s take a closer look at exactly which foods will keep you on the right track.
Chicken, Beef, Turkey, fish
The best types of meat are always hormone and GMO free. The building blocks of your entire body’s muscles are protein, so you’ve got to make sure that you consume around 80-120 grams of protein a day to keep your muscles healthy. If you have kidney or liver problems, reduce the amount of animal meat you have, but keep eating fish meat. Fish has plenty of other essential fats and oils that keep you healthy. Specifically, Fish carries a good amount of omega 3: Western diets are usually very low in omega 3, so fish is the best type of protein to consume on a regular basis.
Leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, quinoa, bell pepper, tomato
Vegetables are power foods when it comes to health. It’s important that you make vegetables a focal point in your diet, because they contain high amounts of vitamins, fibers, antioxidants, and folate (they create red blood cells). In specific, Sulforaphane, a compound in broccoli, is known to help block joint destruction and arthritis pain. Broccoli is great to have in your diet on a day to day basis.
Berries, oranges (or lemons), grapes, apples (okay in moderation)
Anthocyanin is the antioxidant in berries, which is fantastic for reducing the inflammation in your joints. Your daily serving of fruits must include berries. Vitamin C, found in oranges, lemons, or tomato juice, has consistently been proven to help fight inflammation. Try starting off your day by adding fresh squeezed lemon into a cup of water.
Don’t have: watermelon, bananas
Try staying away from high-sugar fruits, like watermelon and banana. Although bananas have tons of health benefits, the high amounts of fructose in it is enough to make your joints hurt more.
You should try to consume small amounts of full fat dairy in your diet, because the excess amounts of fat are harmful to your nutritional balance. Low fat milk is actually okay for your health, but try to moderate the amount you drink. Also, stay away from cheeseburgers! They are the leading sources of saturated fat in a western diet.
Tree nuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts
While it is true that nuts are high in omega 6 fatty acids, The monounsaturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin E, minerals and phytochemicals that are in nuts and seeds are wonderful for anti-inflammation. All these tree nuts have similar compositions, so try mixing them up in a serving (one cup) for maximum effect.
Don’t have: peanuts
Peanuts actually contain similar amounts of omega 6 fats than tree nuts, but the lack of other beneficial contents are what make peanuts unhealthy.
- Bread and Grains
Rice, gluten free bread, no starch
Whole grains like rice, steel cut oats, barley, and buckwheat are full of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and low-glycemic carbohydrates. These components are great for regulating blood sugar levels, cholesterol ratios, and helping out the immune system. You should have about 3-5 servings a day.
- Vitamins and Supplements
Turmeric powder is a fantastic way to help get rid of your arthritic pains. Curcumin is the key chemical in turmeric, which blocks the inflammation. All you need to do is take 400-500 mg capsules 3 times a day for maximum effect. If you’ve just started to get arthritic pain, take the turmeric powder as soon as possible to help control further inflammation.
Arnica Cream has been said to help soothe the pains in joints and muscles. The cream is made out of arnica, a plant mostly found in Europe and Russia. There is very little proof that states Arnica powder is beneficial, however applying the cream to affected areas will do no harm. The issue lies in the potency of the cream: There are really only trace amounts of the arnica plant in the cream, and the potency is diluted in the rest of the mixture. So, the cream might not penetrate as well as it is advertised to be, and might not be very effective. If the testimonials are true, however, the cream will be great for short term relief and will soothe your pains.
Bromelain is an anti inflammatory supplement that is actually found in pineapple. The pill form is shown to reduce inflammation in muscles and joints. Take anywhere from 200-800 mg of these pills once a day for a good effect.
White willow bark is a great homeopathic “treat”. It contains salicin, which is a similar chemical to aspirin, the pain reliever. You can find this dry bark and put it in hot water as a tea. White willow bark can aid in the pain relief, but should not be used as your front line of defense for your pain. Enjoy a nice cup of tea with this bark to relax when your pain is getting the best of you.
Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful molecule that comes as a gel. It’s anti- inflammatory properties are great for your pain. Also, the pills can give you a small boost in energy, because the molecules directly affect your cells. The best supplement form for Q10 is a gel form of at least 30 mg per day with 90 mg ideal.
Vitamin D has shown huge anti inflammatory effects on cells in labs– the best source isn’t food, though. You can find Vitmain D in fish, egg yolks, and animal liver, but the best place to get it from is the sun. Getting out and taking a 30 minute walk every day will give you your daily vitamin D intake. If you typically work inside, or see yourself as an indoor person, you will benefit from this habit.
Vitamin E is a very potent, fat soluble vitamin that are found in olives, tuna, sunflower, sesame, and in pill form. If you choose to take the pills, make sure to find the supplement with the prefix “D- alpha tocopherol”. That is the natural bio-identical vitamin, whereas “dl- alpha tocopherol is the synthetic version”. Vitamin E combats arthrosclerosis, heart disease, symptoms of diabetes, skin conditions, and systemic inflammation among other conditions. It’s great for treating joint pains and tightness.
Milk Thistle is a great toxin-blockade agent because of it’s active ingredient, silymarin, and circumin, the same ingredient found in turmeric. It has been proven to help fight off toxin- induced liver diseases, and help alleviate joint and muscle pains. Its effect goes down to the cellular level: Silymarin affects the longer suppression of gene expression associated with inflammation.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Oils can make all the difference is your pain levels. Olive oil has been singled out as one of the more effective oils, because it is loaded with the same chemicals as ibuprofen and aspirin, which alleviate pain. About 3 1/2 tbsp. is equivalent to 200mg of ibuprofen. The stronger the “bite” is in the back of your throat, the stronger the pain relief is. Peppermint essential oil is not necessarily part of your diet, but the aroma alone is enough to soothe migraine headaches. Try getting an aroma diffuser, or simply pour a few drops of the essential oil into boiling hot water and inhale the steam.
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