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Delicious and Nutritious: Foods that Fight Pain

The number of Americans turning to prescription and over-the-counter medication as an escape from chronic pain is staggering. In light of this, advocates of more natural pain management methods are directing those in pain to lifestyles designed to combat their ailments. Integrative Medicine experts are calling Americans to put the ibuprofen back in the bathroom cabinet and turn to the fridge for pain relief instead. Here is a simple list of foods that may help people deal with different types of pain.

  • Muscle Soreness: There is no denying the value of an active lifestyle. Exercise is one of the best ways for people of all ages to make the most of their health and body but it can be very painful. After a new set of leg workouts or an extra ten pushups, muscles will begin tightening and becoming extremely sore. As painful as it may be, this is a sign of muscle growth and in order to alleviate the discomfort in the meantime, people can brew a fresh cup of ginger tea as an after-gym snack. Studies show that those who lifted weights suffered from muscle soreness 25% less than others after consuming about half a teaspoon of ginger every day for 11 days.
  • Joint Pain: Suffering from achy joints? Two surprisingly flavorful foods may help you with discomfort that comes from different types of arthritis and joint pain. For sweet relief, try eating cherries. Experts reported that eating 45 cherries a day reduced the protein that causes inflammation associated with arthritis and joint pain by up to 25%. Likewise, the spice turmeric contains a compound that had a similar effect as ibuprofen in easing pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.
  • Heartburn: Heartburn has become so common that it is almost impossible to miss the advertisements for different over-the-counter pills and chewable seeking to help those suffering from uncomfortable and inconvenient reactions to acidic foods. As a replacement for the chalky chewable tablets that have become a household product, try increasing fiber intake. High-fiber foods like beans can reduce symptoms of GERD, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, as it causes food to move through the digestive system before the stomach is given the chance to reflux.
  • Menstrual Cramps: When that painful time of the month comes along and the chocolate cravings begin, grab a bag of almonds for an easier period. One study found that women with a higher intake of nutrients found in nuts were significantly less vulnerable to the symptoms of PMS including cramps, irritability and bloating. Much to the delight of coffee lovers around the world, headaches associated with PMS are helped by caffeinated drinks. Even if it doesn't alleviate the pain completely, caffeine can make pain medication work better and faster. Migraines at that time of the month may also be a result of magnesium deficiency, which can be treated by nutrient rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, which are full of magnesium.
  • Digestive Pain: Peppermint can help alleviate gas, cramping and painful spasms from intestinal difficulties and even IBS. It can be eaten as an ingredient in an after-meal snack or even brewed as peppermint tea. Furthermore, unsweetened coconut can help target inflammation and other factors that lead to diarrhea.

Learn more about a healthy lifestyle and worthwhile diet by contacting Optimal Health Dimensions, a health care center offering Integrative Medicine in Virginia.

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