Pain and unhealthy inflammation are all too often the body’s natural state of being in the Western world, and we want instant relief.
However, some of the most commonly used pain killers are associated with negative side effects (and addiction), natural pain relief has been shown to be as effective as the conventional ones.
The dark side of NSAIDs: ibuprofen Nurofen, Asprin
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation. They work by inhibiting certain types of prostaglandins – chemicals that can cause inflammation in the body. They are effective at quickly relieving pain, yet are associated with unwanted side effects, and these may become worse and riskier the more often you take them, especially for those who are regular users of NSAIDs.
Common side effects of NSAIDs:
- Negative effects on cardiovascular health, and heart failure
- Adverse gastrointestinal health
- Cause damage to the stomach lining
- May contribute to intestinal permeability (commonly known as leaky gut)
- Block the production of human cartilage which is likely to worsen osteoarthritis (one of the most common reasons for taking NSAIDs)
- Worsen symptoms of asthma
Invest in a long-term approach
Whilst natural alternatives may not work as quickly as conventional medication, the benefits can soon stack up if you eat or supplement them consistently. And this is especially useful if you’re affected by a chronic condition such as arthritis.
Oily fish – eat two to three portions a week of salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies or sardines, choosing wild over farmed fish when possible. If you don’t eat fish take a good quality fish oil supplement or a vegetarian omega 3 supplement. Or include flax seeds and chia seeds – 1-2 tbsp daily
Avocado – rich in vitamin E, which reduces the inflammatory response.
Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, rocket, watercress and other members of this group support the liver and help the body deal with toxins that can cause inflammation. Try to eat two large portions every day.
Pomegranates –as fresh fruit or unsweetened juice they reduce inflammation and have a powerful protective effect on the heart and blood vessels as well as containing many substances that help to inhibit cancer and fight infections.
Berries, sweet potato, kiwi fruit– rich sources of vitamin C, which reduces the production of inflammatory agents.
Turmeric/Curcumin – use the fresh or dried root in curries and other Asian dishes, or as a tea. Or supplement daily.
Ginger – counteracts inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins. Use sliced root as a tea or add to fresh vegetable juices or spicy dishes.
Onions – good source of quercetin, especially in the outer skins and in red onions.
Green tea – contains flavonoids that reduce inflammation
Apples – Phloridzin in apples helps reduce localized inflammation in the lungs
Pineapple, nuts – contain bromelain, a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Table salt, replace with herbs, and pink Himalayan salt
Excess protein of animal origin (grain fed) – too much animal protein can be acid-forming and promote inflammation
Tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, sweet peppers, chillies, cape gooseberries, rhubarb, courgettes – these plants all belong to the nightshade family and contain natural pesticides that some people find worsen inflammatory conditions. (Especially if suffering from arthritis)
Sugar – avoid foods with added sugar and sugar-containing sweeteners including agave, maple syrup and honey.
Cooking oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, soya – it is best to obtain most of your dietary fat from foods in their whole form such as in oily fish, avocados, olives and nuts. Use extracted oils/fats sparingly and opt for coconut or unrefined olive oil, or a small amount of butter in place of refined vegetable oils, which promote inflammation.
Processed/convenience foods – often contain food additives and high levels of salt, sugar and cooking oils, while being low in nutrients.
Refined grains – whether as pasta, bread, flour, cakes, biscuits, sauces or thickeners, refined grains raise your blood sugar levels and promote inflammation. Use alternatives such as sprouted wholegrain breads; buckwheat, chestnut or coconut flour, groundnuts, or unprocessed wholegrain products.
For further information or guidance contact Suzanne Garaty www.vitalnutrition.eu