Friday, January 18, 2013

Pain Relief - Food as Medicine

With so many Americans in chronic pain, it only makes sense to consider foods that are helpful in reducing inflammation and pain.  Below is a list wholesome pain-relieving foods that are also delicious:

1. Cherries - studies have found that tart cherry extract is 10 times more effective than aspirin at relieving inflammation. Only two tablespoons of concentrated juice need to be taken each day daily for effective results. Sweet cherries have also been found to be effective.

2. Berries - A variety of anti-oxidants and anti-pain compounds are found in berries like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries

3. Celery and Celery Seeds - The book "Green Pharmacy", lists more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds, including a substance called apigenin, which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action. Celery seeds can be added to soups, stews or as a salt substitute in many recipes.

4. Ginger - Ginger has been shown to reduce pain-causing prostaglandin levels in the body and has been widely used in India to treat pain and inflammation. Multiple studies by Indian researchers found that ginger is an effective treatment for muscular pain. The recommended dosage of ginger is between 500 and 1,000 milligrams per day.

5. Turmeric - Turmeric (curcuma longa) the common orange/yellow spice has been shown to be a more effective anti-inflammatory than steroid medications when dealing with acute inflammation. Its main therapeutic ingredient is curcumin. Research shows that curcumin suppresses pain through a similar mechanism as drugs like COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors (without the harmful side effects).  Dose a standardized extract with 1500 mg of curcumin content per day.

6. Omega-3s Fatty Acids - Many fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring contain Omega-3 oils.  These oils convert in the body into hormone-like substances that decrease inflammation and pain. According to the National Institute of Health, fish oil is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Fish oil acts directly on the immune system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines, compounds known to destroy joints. Many other studies also demonstrate that eating moderate amounts of fish or taking fish oil reduces pain and inflammation, particularly for arthritis sufferers.

If you are looking for additional help reducing pain, here are a few options:*
  • Proteolytic Enzymes
  • Vitamin D if your blood levels are low
  • Boswellia (Frankincense)
  • MSM, Glucosamine & Chondroitin
  • White Willow Bark (for short-term use)
* Discuss taking any supplements with your doctor before making any changes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Magnesium is Amazing!

Amazing: Magnesium (Mg) plays a key role in over 300 biochemical reactions that take place throughout your body.  Its benefits are best known in promoting good bone health (when combined with Calcium & Vitamin D).  In addition to healthy bones, Magnesium:
  • Maintains normal muscle and nerve function
  • Keeps the heart beat regular & supports cardiovascular function
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • Maintains blood sugar and blood pressure within normal range
  • Promotes energy metabolism
In practical terms, there are 3 conditions that I most often recommend Magnesium for:
1.) For Muscle Cramps or Spasms:  Take Mg in electrolyte powder form for maximum absorption into muscle tissue.  Electrolyte packets (such as "Electrolyte Stamina") usually contain Magnesium Oxide or other easily absorbable forms.
2.) For Anxiety and Insomnia:  Use magnesium glycinate or magnesium maleate, twice a day for best effects.
3.) For Constipation:  Use magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide to bring more fluids in the digestive tract and gently support regularity.  Start with a low dose and gradually increase (two times per day).