Antioxidants. Antioxidants not only neutralize free radicals, but they also help reverse the damage, and they’re great immune-boosters. Antioxidants are found in fruits, especially berries, vegetables, nuts, beans, legumes, and specialty fruits and juices like açai, noni, and pomegranate. But each antioxidant is also specific, and each works in a different way in the body. The best approach is to eat a wide variety of antioxidants to cover all your bases.
Fats. Omega-3s EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids found in wild salmon, halibut, tuna, and sardines, and kelp and algae. They’re also found in meats like pastured turkey, venison, beef, and chicken, as well as eggs—in other words, in animals that have never eaten grains. Aside from being excellent natural anti-inflammatories, EPA and DHA are essential for peak cellular efficiency. In fact, DHA assists the heart and is essential for brain function. EPA and DHA also ward off depression and ADHD, and help strengthen bones, joints, muscles and much more.
Omega-9. Omega-9 is a monounsaturated fat found in nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, and their oils. It’s also found in nut and seed butters. These fats help the heart and brain, and help relieve arthritic pain as well as lower LDL cholesterol. Look for cold-pressed, extra-virgin oils and butters, but avoid hydrogenated oils.
Coconut oil. Coconut oil is a saturated fat. It is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitic saturated fat. It is excellent for the body, inside and out. It’s best to purchase the organic, raw, extra virgin or virgin coconut oil products.
Tumeric (Curcumin), Ginger, and Cinnamon. These spices help reverse inflammation and pain. Tumeric, which contains curcumin, is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-cancer, and a COX-2* inhibitor [see footnote, next page, ed.], making it an excellent pain-reliever. Ginger, a close cousin to tumeric, is most well known for its benefits for gastrointestinal issues, but it is also an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and an immune booster. It has been proven to help relieve arthritic pain. Cinnamon has been used to help stabilize blood sugar in type-2 diabetics and those with insulin resistance. Its anti-inflammatory properties help heal arthritic joints; and it’s an antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial spice.
Yogurt. Probiotics such as yogurt help restore the good bacteria in the gut, boost the immune system, ease irritable bowel symptoms, gluten sensitivity, constipation, allergies, and help prevent infection. Goat yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, and is especially useful for those with cow’s milk lactose intolerance.
Cherries and Tea. Two of the very best symptom-relieving antioxidants are tart cherries and green tea. Tart cherry juice, capsules or 8-10 actual cherries—the darker and more tart, the better (less sugar, more phenolics)—can help relieve arthritis and muscle pain, as well as neurodegenerative pain and gout. Aside from being excellent antioxidants, they contain anti-inflammatory phenolics, and anthocyanins, which are COX-2 inhibitors* (pain-relievers).12 Green tea contains the amino acid L-Theanine, a stress reliever that stimulates alpha brain waves and increases mental alertness; L-Theanine also helps to improve quality of sleep. It increases Glutathione, SOD, GABA, serotonin and more. The polyphenols, specifically catechins called EGCG, in green tea are potent antioxidants which act as COX-2 inhibitors, and have been shown to kill cancer cells. A cup of green tea has approximately 11-20 mg of caffeine, about one-third that of coffee; however the L-Theanine and catechins modify the caffeine’s effect.
The list of pain relieving foods is lengthy, and includes foods with Vitamin D3, B-12, and other B- Vitamins. See more at www.managingfibromyalgia.com. ?
For more information, author bio, and references see the full article in Vol. 22, No. 2, March/April 2013 (available in print or digital format) of the Well Being Journal.