Foods That Reduce Pain and Inflammation
While managing inflammation and reducing swelling in your joints is the goal, you should ask yourself if your diet is helping or hurting you. While some foods can make things worse, there are plenty of tasty anti-inflammatory foods that can ease swollen joints, finger pain, and even symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. These are not miracle foods that will take away all your pain, those do not exist. However, these are things we can do to take an active role in our recovery process.
If you haven't started cooking with olive oil yet, now's the time! It's incomparably rich in oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that helps to minimize inflammation. Change from vegetable oil for healthier options like olive, grape seed, and avocado oils. Use extra virgin olive oil in cooking and on salads and get your food working faster for you. It's good for your heart and your brain, too.
Red meat has earned its bad reputation for a reason. It's higher in cholesterol and salt, which can trigger inflammation. A great protein alternative is fish — like salmon, snapper, tuna, cod, halibut, and bass —that are high in omega-3 fatty acid, which also helps to reduce inflammation. If you're absolutely craving a steak, opt for grass-fed beef. It's higher in healthy omega acids.
Nuts and Fruits
Between meals, try nuts and fruits. Walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts are all great choices. They're high in omega-3 fatty acids as well. You can also try replacing processed snack food with an array of fruits like apples, blueberries, cherries, pineapple, raspberries, and strawberries. The antioxidants in fresh fruit and vegetables help your body fight off free radicals that can cause cellular damage.
Garlic is a part of cooking for many people. Besides adding taste it also works great for swollen joints. For date night, use some mint leaves to clean up your breath. They'll help your swelling, as well.
Herbs have been used for centuries to promote health and healing. Fresh herbs, like basil, thyme, and oregano are delicious choices to use in your cooking, and can be a source of antioxidants. Research has shown that certain herbs like cumin and chili pepper have compounds that fight inflammation and reduce pain.
Thankfully, eating healthy doesn't mean missing out on the sweet stuff. Chocolate — yes, chocolate — that is at least 70 percent pure cocoa is the way to go. Other desserts low in fat and heavy in fruits and nuts mentioned earlier are also great ways to keep inflammation down.
Besides reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer, green tea works like liquid vegetables as it stages an anti-inflammatory fight inside your body. Hot or cold, add some lemon juice to perk up the tea's flavor and kick up the antioxidants.
Simple Choices Make a Difference
When you make your shopping list, remind yourself that fresh is best because that's when nutrients are at their highest. When cooking your fresh vegetables steam, them or try waterless cookware, so you don't lose most of the nutrients that comes from boiling. Keep these healthier choices in mind when dining out too.
Of course we all should eat healthy. Our bodies were originally designed to only eat meats and vegetables and drink water. However, when our food can help treat swelling and inflammation it makes even more sense to eat healthy. Coupled with other treatments and therapies, a diet rich in omega acids and antioxidants could keep inflammation down so you can start living a life with reduced pain.