Five to Try, January: A Little Nutritional Wisdom for Number Five

As I continue this journey to learn and try new things every month, there are going to be some opportunities to experience and others requiring a little research, and one such area is regarding nutrition. In particular, what helpful food sources will help with chronic pain management. You see, one of the things I’ve decided recently is to get moving again. It’s been a while and as I take this other more personal journey, I find it isn’t always easy to move when a number of factors have taken place – and I know I’m not alone out there.  It used to be nothing in  my twenties to resume exercising after taking a break from it for a few years. I’d merely pick it up again, start to get moving, and I’d be where I wanted to be in no time. But a lot has happened since then. I’ve had some physical injuries that have made my knees not what they used to be, I’ve gotten heavier over time and oh yeah, that age thing. So for anyone else out there who might be experiencing one, two or three of these scenarios with me, this particular blog entry might be of help to you.

The question I posed to myself is… okay, I know I need to get moving but when you’re in some serious pain from being out of shape, being away from exercise for so long or even having previously suffered some injuries, what are some natural ways through food sources to help alleviate such pain? I’m not going to even begin to go down a path regarding pain medications (natural or synthetic) and other practices like massage, acupuncture, etc. That’s for perhaps another day – probably another blogger, not me – but if I knew that by eating a particular kind of fruit for example that it may help contribute to muscle healing, I’d eat that fruit like chocolate!

So here’s what I’ve learned so far while tackling…

Five to Try, January –  #5  Food Sources for Chronic Pain Management

And a little disclaimer, I am not a doctor, I am not a professional nutritionist. This is merely what I’ve found in my little hunt for information. I welcome others’ information but keep in mind that for professional information, you should consult your doctor or a certified specialist in the field, okay? Alright, now that this is out of the way…let’s dive into what I have learned so far.

One particular page at the WebMD site that was especially informative was this link, its Vitamins and Supplements Guide where you can easily check out each one at a glance – what value a vitamin or mineral offers, its role in the body and some suggestions for where you can get it.

Here are a few key things to point out to any of you who like me are looking for ways to manage their current pain so they can get off their tookus and start walking again!

  • VITAMIN D – I know that I’m not getting enough of this. Though I work from home, I spend much of my time indoors and over the years, have become acutely aware of sun safety, too, with regard to skin cancer. But since I don’t eat a lot of meats which tend to have Vitamin D in them, if I’m not in the sun, where will I get this vitamin from? According to WebMD, several studies link low levles of Vitamin D with higher levels of pain. You can eat fish, wild salmon, mackarel, sardines, cod liver oil (ugh) and sun-dried mushrooms, all good natural sources, and fortified milk, cereals and juices, but they don’t usually have as much impact as simply stepping outside for a little bit and soaking up some rays around mid-day.

 

  • CAPSAICIN – Who knew that a key property of chili peppers could possibly sooth pain when applied to the skin? According to WebMD, some studies have shown that topical versions of capsaicin can relieve pain from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriasis, back pain, shingles, fibromyalgia and headaches. If you’re a brave soul with a penchant for hot foods, dig in because apparently the heat is going to provide a relief of another kind.

 

  • MAGNESIUM – Though the jury is still out a little on magnesium supplements, there are plenty of natural food sources of it that can help support its pain management benefits. Overall, magnesium can help keep heart beat steady, blood pressure stabilized and bones strong, all significant contributors to your overall ability to move comfortably. Honey, almonds, tuna, kelp, pineapple, pecans and green vegetables are all rich in magnesium. And here’s a tip – watch out for alcohol (it depletes the magnesium in your body).

 

  • BROMELAIN – This enzyme appears to have the properties of reducing inflammation and therefore pain, particularly for osteoarthritis and knee pain. The greatest source of Bromelain? Pineapple!

 

  • GLUCOSAMINE – We’ve heard for years about this being so effective for pain management, especially in supplements for folks with knee pain or other joint-related pain. Unfortunately, there really aren’t any good food sources for this one, so you’ll want to seek out a supplement here. Some studies show that glucosamine not only eases osteoarthritis pain but can also slow down its progress of worsening. And we like that trait immensely!

 

  • ACETYL-L-CARNITINE – This is another one that’s going to be tricky to find in a food source, but it’s still something that if you suffer from pain like me and it’s holding you back from really moving, you’ll want to do more homework. There is some research which suggests that Acetyl-L-Carnitine can ease nerve pain caused by diabetes and that it can help regenerate damaged nerves and restore sensitivity in the damaged area over time. That’s completely exciting. So you may have to look for a supplement to get this valuable  element into your body, but again, it might be worth reading up on it if it potentially could help repair damaged tissue or muscle.

 

  • FISH OIL/FLAXSEED OIL – Many of us hurting with arthritic pain of some kind have heard others say how fish oil can help with joint pain particularly nice to hear for those of us with crunchy knees (though there isn’t a lot of research to fully support this yet). And there’s some indication it can be helpful to accelerate injury healing, increase energy and combat water retention and constipation. But what do you do if you’re vegetarian and trying to avoid any fish products? Flaxseed oil does share some of the same properties and benefits of fish oil. We know that like fish oil, flaxseed oil can be helpful in reducing triglycerides and lowering cholesterol. Flaxseed oil doesn’t contain all of the same properties as ground flaxseed itself which can be used as a flour and included in things like muffins, bread or salad dressings. But like any of these items mentioned, be sure to read about any possible side effects before using and consult your doctor where necessary.

Some other links you may want to check out for additional information or to learn more:

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