Chronic pain can be one of the most debilitating challenges a person can face. Whether it’s a pulled or sore muscle, ligament pain, a broken or fractured bone, or even damaged cartilage, the physical toll chronic pain can take on your body and mind are often overwhelming. And where there is chronic pain, you can safely assume there is inflammation.
Inflammation is a process in which the body’s white blood cells protect us from infection by bacteria and viruses, attempting to heal wounds and injuries of all sorts. In this sense, inflammation is a valuable and necessary immune response. But sometimes, with diseases like arthritis, for example. an inflammatory response when there is no outside bacteria to fight can cause damage to tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, and Gouty arthritis are just a few examples of the autoimmune diseases associated with these painful inflammation responses. Redness, swollen joints, joint pain, stiff joints, and even complete loss of joint function and mobility can result, turning the natural inflammation process into something people dread.
Some people turn to anti-inflammatory drugs for relief, but there is much evidence to support that even ibuprofen and aspirin — seemingly harmless over-the-counter drugs — should be avoided. There are, however, a few things you can incorporate into your diet a bit more to offer more natural relief from inflammation.
Coffee and Tea
Coffee is the strongest source of what’s known as polyphenols, a class of antioxidants that can turn off inflammatory pathways in the body. It has chlorogenic acid, hydroxycinnamic acid, kahweol, cafestol, and other powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. But the thing is, none of this is dependent on the caffeine content of coffee, which is good news for anybody who either hates coffee or wishes to avoid it on some level. This means you can opt for either decaf coffee or just drink tea and you’ll still be adding the antioxidants that help with inflammation.
Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
Is there ever a natural remedy that doesn’t somehow involved eating more vegetables? Spinach, broccoli, asparagus, rainbow chard, kale, and red cabbage are all the best veggies for keeping pain and inflammation at bay. Meanwhile, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries all are rich in polyphenols (the same ones you were looking for in your coffee or tea) while also being the lowest in sugar, one of the main triggers for inflammation.
Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which your body uses to build and make cell membranes. Omega-6 fatty acids are inflammatory and Omega-3s are not, and one of the best ways to fend off inflammation is to simply flip the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids.
However, one trick here is to stay away from farm fished salmon as the fish absorb contaminants from the water they’re raised in, making wild salmon ideal for this purpose.
Herbs and spices are typically packed with antioxidants, and turmeric happens to be the one of the most anti-inflammatory of the bunch. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is actually as effective at fighting inflammation as basic anti-inflammatory drugs, which are the very thing we decided you're trying to stay away from here in the first place.