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Foods With the Anti-Inflammatory Power to Reduce Pain

Dr. Nosheen Abbas

2 min read

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Your immune system is activated when your body senses something foreign, like an invading microbe or plant pollen. It triggers a process known as inflammation. Sometimes inflammation persists even when there is no threat of a foreign invader. That’s when inflammation becomes an enemy. A lot of diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and depression have been linked to chronic inflammation. Good news is, studies have shown that components of certain foods may have an anti-inflammatory effect. The following anti-inflammatory foods may help reduce pain and give relief:

1- Cherries

Cherries neutralize the free radicals in the body, thereby reducing inflammation. Anthocyanins, which give cherries their red color, have the same anti-inflammatory effect as aspirin. Apart from cherries, strawberries and raspberries also contain anthocyanins. Cherries contain catechins as well, which are also anti-inflammatory.

2- Coffee

A cup of black coffee has more antioxidants than one serving of berries and can provide relief from headaches. Coffee contains caffeine, which reduces inflammation. Common headache remedies also work better with coffee. Whether you take ibuprofen or aspirin, they work more effectively when combined with caffeine and keep the pain at bay for longer.

3- Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and lycopene, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Lycopene reduces pro-inflammatory compounds linked to certain types of cancer. Drinking tomato juice has been shown to decrease inflammatory markers considerably in overweight women. Cook tomatoes in olive oil to increase the absorption rate of lycopene. The reason behind this is that lycopene is a carotenoid and carotenoids are fat-soluble nutrients.

4- Fatty Fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies are a good source of protein and the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is reduced when these fatty acids are metabolized by your body into compounds known as protectins and resolvins. EPA and DHA have been shown to reduce the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP).

5- Soy Protein

Soy contains isoflavones, which are anti-inflammatory plant hormones. To keep the pain away, you can consume edamame (baby soybeans), flavored soy milk, and soy burgers.

6- Sage

This herb also has anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used since ancient times for its flavonoids which help reduce swelling.  Studies have shown that sage is also a memory booster.

7- Ginger

Ginger has also been used for centuries to help with various ailments such as stomachaches and nausea. It can help treat many diseases with its anti-inflammatory powers. Ginger may also help reduce muscle pain after physical activity.

8- Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers making it great for aches and pains. Pomegranate juice has been shown to reduce levels of an inflammatory component that may cause overproduction of an enzyme that wears away cartilage.

9- Blueberries

These little juicy gems have lots of phytonutrients that may fight inflammation and lessen pain. If it’s not berry season, frozen blueberries can have the same or even more nutrients than fresh. Other fruits with antioxidants and polyphenols, including strawberries and oranges, can have a similar soothing effect.

10- Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkins are a terrific source of magnesium, a mineral that may cut the number of migraines you get. It may also help prevent and treat osteoporosis. But despite what you may have heard, it doesn’t seem to stop leg cramps at night. For more magnesium, add almonds and cashews, dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale), beans, and lentils to your diet.

11- Olive Oil

Feel that peppery tingle in the back of your throat? That’s a compound called oleocanthal, and it works like ibuprofen. Extra-virgin olive oil also has lubricin, which keeps joints sliding smoothly and protects cartilage from breaking down. It might help people with osteoarthritis. Stick to lower temperatures (less than 410 degrees) when you cook with olive oil so you don’t lose any of its many benefits.

12- Chili Peppers

Capsaicin, the stuff that gives chilies their heat, is well known for its painkilling properties in creams and patches. Some early research suggests that eating hot peppers, instead of putting them on your skin, may reduce and prevent inflammation, too. The “burn” also tricks your brain into releasing endorphins, which block pain signals.

13- Mint

Peppermint oil relieves the painful cramps, gas, and bloating that are the hallmarks of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint tea is a good soother for occasional tummy upset. In early research, Brazilian mint tea (made from the plant Hyptnis crenata) has been as effective as a prescription painkiller.

You can consult a nutritionist to find out which anti-inflammatory foods you should add to your diet. You can find and book an appointment with top Nutritionist in Islamabad, Karachi and Faisalabad through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT doctor for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Nosheen Abbas
Dr. Nosheen Abbas - Author Dr. Nosheen Abbas is a Nutritionist practicing in Islamabad. Dr. Nosheen Abbas has the following degrees: MBBS, MSPH, SNHS Dip. (Holistic Nutrition) UK and has 13 years of experience.

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