Friday, March 23, 2012

Food Can Help Fight Pain

Relief from indigestion, diabetes, headaches and even arthritis may be in your kitchen instead of your medicine cabinet.

Dietitians and doctors are making the connection between food and pain, and say that changing your diet can change the way you feel.

Pain and inflammation are the body's reaction to injury, but foods can reduce them.

Eating To Fight Pain
Shelly Asplin, a registered dietitian at Omaha grocery story Hy-Vee, said Omega-3 fatty acids go a long way toward fighting pain and inflammation. Asplin said she recommends foods that are high in Omega 3s to arthritis and fibromyalgia sufferers.

Fish and seafood are often high in Omega 3, as are flax seeds and walnuts.

"A handful (of walnuts) a day gives you a recommended serving of Omega 3. Fresh, wild seafood from very cold water contains the highest sources of Omega 3 fats," Asplin said. "Flax has to be ground -- the complete seed only delivers fiber, but ground varieties have fiber and Omega 3s."

Asplin said she sprinkles ground flax seed on her morning oatmeal.

Omega 3s and more are also widely touted to lessen arthritis pain and inflammation. A list of additional foods is posted at

Some Foods Increase Pain
Asplin said there are foods to avoid when fighting pain. She said refined and highly processed foods can cause inflammation.

"Whole grains are anti-inflammatory. Make sure the first ingredient is whole grain," Asplin said. "Whole fruit is anti inflammatory, but leave the skin on."

John Mixan, a dietary life coach in Omaha, said his wife has successfully fought knee pain with diet. He advises clients to boost their intake of ginger, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, curry and basil when they're fighting pain.

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