Anti-Inflammatory Diet: It Could Be Your Key to Pain Prevention

Uncontrolled inflammation plays a serious role in many major diseases. An anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the associated pain and flare-ups, which in turn can improve your quality of life.

anti-inflammatory diet

Reach for the leafy greens in enjoying an anti-inflammatory diet. Such selections as kale and spinach are rich in vitamin-K, which can help lower inflammation.

© Oleksandr Boiko | Dreamstime

Does an anti-inflammatory diet play a role in pain prevention? It’s a worthy—and natural—strategy, considering that pain management has spawned an opioid crisis—one of the worst public health crises of our time. (See the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services post “HHS Acting Secretary Declares Public Health Emergency to Address National Opioid Crisis.”)

Research, however, is slowly shedding light on pain and pain management. A new study of more than 400 Emergency Department patients with acute extremity pain found that the patients did not experience significant differences in pain relief with ibuprofen and acetaminophen (over-the-counter painkillers) or three different opioid and acetaminophen combinations. The research raises serious questions about the efficacy of opioids for the treatment of pain.

RECIPES

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY TREATS

Scroll to the bottom of this story for two simple and healthy recipes:

  • Healing Turmeric Vegetable Soup
  • Inflammation-Fighting Berry Smoothie

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Guidance

Although food is not a quick fix or substitute for prescribed medication, an anti-inflammatory diet may be helpful if you experience pain due to a medical condition related to inflammation. A 2016 study (click here for details) supported the powerful effects of food on inflammation. Foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce pain and flare-ups associated with inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes.

Anti-inflammatory diet foods include fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, fatty fish, and fresh spices and herbs. We address each of these categories—plus the foods you’re better off avoiding—in our list of five tips for keeping an anti-inflammatory diet. (See also our post “Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Do They Work?“)

Defend Yourself Against the Dangers of Inflammation

Help fight illness and disease with an anti-inflammatory diet, improved exercise and sleep habits and more.

Learn how with easy-to-follow advice in this FREE downloadable guide from University Health News.

FYIOPIOIDS AND PAIN

In addition to overdose deaths related to today’s opioid epidemic, misuse, abuse, and addiction are additional complications. In some cases, an opioid addict may move on to life-threatening street drugs like heroin and fentanyl (100 times stronger than morphine). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid prescribing by medical doctors continues to fuel the epidemic. (See also our post “What Are Opioids?“)

#1. Get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables.

Leafy greens like kale and spinach are rich in vitamin-K, which can help lower inflammation. Berries and cherries help support your immune system and contain antioxidants called anthocyanins which have anti-inflammatory effects. Beans are also filled with antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory substances. The USDA recommends you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables with every meal and snack.

#2. Have herbs and spices handy.

Add antioxidants and fresh flavor to your food at the same time. Turmeric contains a valuable substance called curcumin. Boasting powerful anti-inflammatory effects, this strong antioxidant has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Garlic also offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

#3. Fight pain with nuts and seeds.

Nuts and seeds offer healthy fat to curb inflammation. Consume them in moderation (about a handful per day) as they are high in saturated fat and calories.

#4. Add fish to your dish.

Oily cold-water fish (wild is best) such as salmon, herring, and sardines contain a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which function as an inflammation-fighter. Enjoy these foods about twice per week.

#5. Steer clear of these foods.

Avoid foods that are very sweet, heavily processed, or deep-fried (rethink those donuts!). To do this, spend more time cooking your own food without added sugar and using very little oil.

  • High-fat meat is not a treat. Meats can contain large amounts of unwanted saturated fat, which can lead to inflammation and many other health problems.
  • Retreat from sweet. In addition to a whole host of problems, sugar causes the body to release inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Steer clear of soda pop, juice, packaged baked goods, and other sweet “treats” that contain added sugar.
  • Forget fried foods. When your omega-6s and omega-3s balance in your body is off, inflammation sets in. To avoid this imbalance, limit the amount of fried foods you eat. Try steaming, roasting, grilling, boiling, and slow cooking your foods instead.
  • Toss all trans fats. Research has shown that trans fats trigger systemic inflammation and pain. Most trans fat is created by an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, causing the oil to become solid at room temperature. This “partially hydrogenated” oil gives processed foods a longer shelf life. It is found in baked goods, packaged foods, creamer, margarine, and many other packaged foods. In the United States, if a food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in one serving, the food label can legally say “0” grams trans fat. To truly be in the know, you need to read ingredients lists. Any amount is an unsafe amount to eat, so avoid this fat completely.

RECIPE 1HEALING TURMERIC VEGETABLE SOUP

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium parsnips, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
3 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small cans of diced or stewed tomatoes
1 cup kale or spinach, chopped
3-4 cups vegetable broth or beef broth
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Add olive oil to a large cooking pot and place over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions, parsnips, and carrots, and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add turmeric and garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add broth, tomatoes, kale or spinach, and frozen vegetables to soup, and stir well to combine.
  5. Add chili pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

RECIPE 2INFLAMMATION-FIGHTING BERRY SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dairy-free milk
1/2 cup unsweetened organic probiotic yogurt
1/4 cup frozen cherries (pits removed)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen banana (optional)

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.
Servings: 6


This article was originally published in 2018. It is regularly updated. 

Anchor
Comments
  • Eleanor G.

    Very good information on my computer thanks will order more health reports soon. hard to type with pain in my hand. thanks

  • Theresa Y.

    I have fibro stenotic crohns disease, which means that I cannot eat anything with nuts, seeds, skin on vegetables. I am finding it hard to have a healthy diet because of the many restrictions I have with food. Vegetables that I can eat need to be well cooked and the good fruits that I would like to eat have seeds. Can you recommend what fruit and vegetables I can eat that are healthy and I can tolerate?

Leave a Reply

×
Enter Your Log In Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

×
×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps people live more sustainable, self-reliant lives, with feature stories on tending the garden, managing the homestead, raising healthy livestock and more!

This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps the small-scale poultry enthusiast raise healthy, happy, productive flocks for eggs, meat or fun - from the countryside to the urban homestead!

This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

Send this to a friend

Hi,
I thought you might be interested in this article on https://universityhealthnews.com: Anti-Inflammatory Diet: It Could Be Your Key to Pain Prevention

-- Read the story at https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/pain/anti-inflammatory-diet/