Long before recorded history, food has been used as a natural method for pain control or relief and elimination of inflammation.
The difference between our ancestors and us is that we have the research to teach us the causes of pain and what to do to alleviate it. Let’s examine pain, and then we’ll move on to the foods that help.
It seems that several factors can affect how you interpret pain:
- emotional and psychological state;
- memories of previous pain;
- expectations of and attitudes towards pain;
- beliefs and values;
- sex; and
- social and cultural influences.
Hence the experience of pain differs from person to person.
Pain And The Immune System
When they body is injured, receptors at the injury site send pain signals through the nervous system to the brain. The brain then sends repair orders back to the site of the injury via the nervous system. From where does the repair come?
The immune system is a silent partner to the nervous system. Only when the nerves transmit their message through neurotransmitters does the immune system go to work.
First Stage Of Healing
The immune system rushes platelets to the injury site to facilitate clotting. These platelets also cover the injury in what is commonly known as a scab. The platelets also call on other immune cells to initiate the inflammatory stage of healing.
The swelling around a wound is the outward sign of inward cells working to heal the wound. Cells pack around the wound, carrying off bacteria and other outside threats to the injury. The second thing these cells do is build the foundation for repair of damaged tissues.
The third thing the immune cells do is rebuild the actual skin. They’ve already repaired the tissues beneath the wound. Now they move to rebuild the skin beneath the scab. This is completed when the scab falls off the wound. What about pain, though?
Without getting too technical, the whole body is a mass of nerve endings. When the injury occurred, the nerves involved began screaming to the brain. The brain has a choice: it can rush help to the injury or, if it’s concentrating on something important at the time, it can mute the screams until such time as it’s able to consider the injury.
At the same time this is happening, the muscles of the body have registered an impact. They tighten up which often exacerbates the pain. The most common type of pain is acute, and it disappears as the wound heals.
Chronic pain, however, is when pain continues after the injury has healed. Arthritis in its many forms is the most common example of this.
Food As Medicine
Science has become increasingly aware of the health disadvantages of prepared and pre-packaged foods such as “just add water” meals, or “heat and eat” meals.
The colourings, preservatives, and processed sugars and flours included in these processed fare aren’t natural. Therefore, they aren’t processed in the body like fresh, organic food. In order to control or alleviate pain and inflammation, stick with natural and eschew anything in a box or a can.
Controlling or eliminating pain and inflammation is also about eating the right meals, herbs, and spices.
Anti-Inflammatory Through Good Fats
Healthy fats are vital to the body due to the fact that the brain and organs are made of fat. There’s no need to go into monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats. Just remember to use virgin or extra virgin olive oil, virgin or extra virgin coconut oil, avocado, or sesame oil. These are natural and do not contain added gases to extend shelf life or form trans fats.
Healthy fats from food are just as important. The Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, sardines, herring, and trout are incredible anti-inflammatories. A great resource is the westonaprice.org
Drink to thrist
Pain Relief Right In The Kitchen
Natural pain relievers in the kitchen include turmeric, ginger, hot peppers, and cherries. Ginger and turmeric are sprinkled over most any food you’re cooking including bacon and eggs. Turmeric contains curcumin, the main ingredient in curry.
Both spices block pain signals to the brain and ease your discomfort. Hot peppers contain capsaicin, a potent heat rub for achy joints. Cherries ease arthritis pain and gout the same way.
Pain Relief Through Fresh Fruits And Veggies
In most cases, when you’re using fresh fruits and vegetables for natural pain and inflammation relief, you have to remember that you can’t just bite into a red Bell pepper and expect the pain to evaporate. Combining herbs and spices with fresh fruits and veggies dishes along with exercise and plenty of fresh air and sleep all combine to help ease pain.
With that said, it’s the components in the fruit or vegetable that blocks pain signals to the brain or keeps inflammation from forming or getting worse.
It’s the phytonutrients as well as the vitamins and minerals in brightly coloured fruits and veggies like strawberries, blueberries, red grapes, carrots, and bright green leafy veggies like broccoli, kale, and asparagus that stop pain in its tracks. Obviously the best food is grown without harmful pesticide and herbicides.Also grown sustainably.
Other Natural Pain Relief
Not only food fights pain and inflammation, but other organic means as well such as soaking in a warm tub with epsom salts. The magnesium soothes achy joints and muscles. Add a few drops of peppermint, tea tree, or lavender essential oils, and you have a soothing, healing bath.
Using a cup of extra virgin coconut oil mixed with about ten to fifteen drops of eucalyptus, rosemary, clary sage, or rosehips essential oils, rub the mixture into the painful area. You can combine the essential oils in any combination that smells and feels good to you. Doing this twice or three times per day should make you feel better.