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5 Foods that Help Manage Chronic Pain

Jul 31, 2010

Chronic pain is a condition that a lot of people suffer from. Defined as nerve or muscle pain that lasts for over six months, chronic pain can affect the back, shoulders, pelvis, knees, head and other parts of the body.

In common cases, chronic pain usually begins with a primary injury that causes trauma to the affected area. For instance, if you sprained your shoulder in an injury months ago, there is a chance that you may still feel the pain even after your shoulder has healed. This is because the affected area still becomes inflamed from time to time. Inflammation is basically the condition that lies behind chronic pain. Chronic pain sufferers usually manage their chronic pain by seeing a medical specialist, performing exercises and taking medication. Did you know that you can also lessen chronic pain through the foods you eat? Here are some recommended foods that can help you manage chronic pain.

1. Salmon

Contrary to what many people believe, not all fats are bad for you. The fact is there are good fats and there are bad fats, and leading the good fats is omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, many people fail to incorporate plenty of Omega-3 into their diets. Salmon is probably one of the best sources of omega-3 fats.

When purchasing salmon, pick organic ones. Commercially raised salmon are filled with toxins. Introducing salmon into your diet should be easy enough. For instance, if you like to eat burgers, replace the beef patty with a salmon burger instead. If you are making salad, top it off with pieces of smoked salmon.

Aside from salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel are rich in omega-3 as well.

2. Onions

Onions are rich in quercetin, an antioxidant known for fighting enzymes that cause inflammation. Aside from quercetin, onions also contain plenty of sulfur compounds that help improve your immune system. Use onions in your salad or as a spice to in any of your dishes. Other foods that are good sources of quercetin are red wine, broccoli, apples and grapes.

3. Blueberries

Blueberries are known for their high amounts of antioxidants, and some of the antioxidants that can be beneficial for your chronic pain are anthocyanins. Like all antioxidants, anthocyanins help battle free radicals. Free radicals can trigger inflammation which can make your chronic pain worse. To get plenty of blueberries into your diet, you can mix them with some rice milk and a banana to make a smoothie.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of carotenoids, antioxidants that are very similar to anthocyanins. Carotenoids minimize inflammation and strengthen your immunity. A good recipe would be to bake sweet potatoes, mash them and add cinnamon and grated ginger. Papayas, carrots, mangoes and red peppers are also good sources of carotenoids.

5. Garlic

Garlic is one of the most anti-inflammatory foods that you can eat to alleviate your chronic pain. Rich in sulfur compounds, garlic stimulates the production of T helper cells which can boost your immune system. Use raw garlic when mixing spicy blends.

Knowing what foods to avoid is just as important as knowing what foods to eat to lessen chronic pain. Generally, gluten-rich foods and animal products are known to be highly inflammatory.

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