While the first thought to ease acute and chronic back pain might be to resort to pain medications and other over-the-counter solutions, there may be compelling alternatives for back pain relief that might be easier to find than you think. Certain foods have proven to ease acute and chronic pain. So you may consider incorporating these foods into your diet.
Types of foods for back pain
The research is not all in, but there’s significant evidence that points to the anti-inflammatory properties of certain foods and their link to reducing back pain. As we know, following a healthy diet is closely related to healthy bones and organs, and ultimately a healthy body. If you’ve been experiencing back pain, adding foods into your diet that squash inflammation can help you find back pain relief.
Ginger root can be used in recipes from stir-fry dishes and gingerbread cookies, to ginger tea infusions. Ginger is rich in compounds known to reduce inflammation, which is often linked to back pain. Incorporating two to three teaspoons of ginger a day should be enough to help ease back pain.
Turmeric is experiencing a resurgence in popularity thanks to its impressive healing properties. Used for years by ancient Asian civilizations in religious ceremonies and for wellness purposes, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory spice that can help ease pain. According to a study by the National Institute of Health, turmeric inhibits a specific protein that activates the body’s natural inflammatory response, which leads to achy joints.
All nuts are powerful anti-inflammatory properties. From walnuts and pecans to cashews and almonds, nuts are an easy way to include foods that help with back pain in your diet. A handful of nuts per day (a daily serving of 30 grams), should be enough to benefit from their anti-inflammatory properties.
Caffeine is the main ingredient in many over-the-counter pain medications. Common painkillers count on caffeine to reduce pain symptoms. Research from the University of Georgia discovered that drinking two cups of coffee helped reduce post-workout pain by 50 percent. However, when drinking coffee, it is essential to pair each cup of coffee with a glass of water. Coffee can have diuretic properties and lead to dehydration, which can cause the opposite effect that you are trying to achieve, and worsen your back pain.
The powerful compound present in red grapes, resveratrol, has gained popularity thanks to its antioxidant properties. But, resveratrol can also help block enzymes that contribute to tissue degeneration, which can lead to cartilage damage, and subsequently lead to back pain. Other foods rich in resveratrol include raspberries, cranberries, and red wine.
Extra virgin olive oil might have properties similar to ibuprofen. Olive oil is often a key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet, and those who follow this diet seem to have fewer health conditions, such as joint diseases, that may be related to inflammation.
Thyme is much more than a fragrant herb. Research suggests thyme is rich in compounds that interfere with the perception of pain, functioning as a natural painkiller. Thyme also functions as an anti-inflammatory aid to reduce pain.
Incorporating 40 grams of soy protein into your diet can help ease back pain by 30 percent or more. Tofu, edamame, and soy milk are some soy products that can help with back pain. Edamame is rich in isoflavones, plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties that provide pain relief.
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, can help tame the pain associated with chronic back pain. Oily fishes work like anti-inflammatory and pain medications without side effects. Two to four meals a week that include a fatty fish such as salmon can help with back pain.
Thanks to their rich antioxidants and pain-fighting anthocyanins, cherries can help reduce inflammation levels significantly. These pain-calming antioxidants are also found in raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Including tart cherries into your daily diet can dramatically help reduce back pain symptoms.
Foods to avoid that cause inflammation and bloating
As some foods help ease back pain, other foods can exacerbate your back pain symptoms. As you want to eat more anti-inflammatory foods, you want to stay away from foods that cause bloating, inflammation, and thus pain.
To avoid aggravating your back pain symptoms, avoid these foods:
- Vegetable oils – sunflower, mixed vegetable oils, and corn
- Vegetable and margarine shortening
- All processed foods
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Foods high in saturated fats
- Full-fat dairy products
- Foods with trans-fats
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