“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates
We live in a world of instant gratification where our needs and desires are quickly met by the simple touch of a button. Whether it’s online shopping, or ordering a pizza, obtaining access to what we want has become simple thanks to our modern society. Technological advancements coupled with a fast-paced lifestyle, has made our generation both impatient and reliant on many “quick fix” methods to get results. Unfortunately, this need for instant gratification also holds true for things like weight loss, beauty results, and most of all, pain relief.
Many can argue that compared to past generations, ours appears to have a lower tolerance for pain. This can be blamed on the standard American diet which promotes inflammation in the body leading to chronic pain and illness. In addition, the amount of pharmaceutical drugs readily available to us further aggravates the problem by introducing unnecessary harmful toxins to our system.
Ditch the pain meds
Although they may work for the short term, pain medications only treat the symptoms, not the true cause. Not to mention, they oftentimes come with serious side effects and can be highly addictive. Abuse of these medications can lead to an increase in tolerance level meaning that a higher dosage is then required to achieve the same results.
In fact, regular prolonged use of pain relievers such as NSAID’s (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have many drawbacks and they include any of the following:
- Increase in the risk of heart disease
- Gastrointestinal bleeding caused by ulcers
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Fluid retention in the body
- Body rashes
Our idea of pain relief is so skewed these days that we forget there are natural, and much more effective ways to treat our pain. Of course, this is where it’s important to be diligent and patient and give our body a chance to heal naturally. Years of poor eating habits cannot be reversed with just one serving of healthy foods. One must stay committed and make the change over time in order to see results. Is it worth the wait? absolutely. Because it is the ONLY antidote to long-term pain management.
Fortunately, many of these foods are easily accessible and many are household staples that you probably already have in your kitchen.
Natural Pain Relief
Known for it’s anti-inflammatory benefits, ginger is an amazing super food which can help to alleviate migraines, arthritis, and general aches and pains. What’s more, it can help settle an uneasy stomach caused by excess gas. Ginger can be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes or used in juices and smoothies. The simplest way to include ginger into your everyday diet is to steep a few peeled pieces in boiling water
This is another wonderful anti-inflammatory root which is known for its antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Thanks to its active component, curcumin, turmeric can be used to treat back pain, nerve pain, and arthritis. Although more comonly used in dry form, turmeric can be bought fresh as well and used in various recipes including turmeric milk tea (Here’s a great recipe).
This wondrous herb does more than just help fight bad breath. Its menthol content helps to prevent muscle spasms and relieve headaches. I’ve personally even used it for stomach aches successfully. The easiest way to enjoy this herb is by adding it to a salad or by simply steeping it in boiling water and drinking it as a tea.
4. Hot Peppers
Due to its capsaicin content, hot peppers help to stimulate nerve endings and block pain receptors. Capsaicin is often found in over-the-counter creams which can be applied topically helping to alleviate muscle pain. Consuming hot peppers can also be effective and can be achieved easily by adding chili flakes to food.
Probably not what you expect when you think of pain relief. Sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids which can help alleviate back pain by improving blood circulation. To get the full effect, it’s recommended that an omega-3 supplement be used although eating the fish is fine as well. In addition to pain relief, omega-3 can also help boost mood and protect the heart.
The best way to combat pain is with a change in diet that incorporates fresh fruit and vegetables, and minimizes high carb, overly processed junk food. There are no quick fixes in this case so it’s important to remember that treating the symptoms does not address the actual problem. In order to stop the pain in it’s tracks, and prevent it from returning, one must be serious about making changes to his or her lifestyle.
Incorporating the aforementioned foods can certainly help but must be coupled with a healthy lifestyle if true relief is intended to be seen.