10 Healthy Food Options To Help With Pain Relief

Optimal health starts with a properly functioning digestive system. Applying functional medicine helps to heal and restore gut health by identifying and removing any foods that are causing an individual’s gut problems, and offers solutions based on an individual’s assessment. NW Functional Medicine in Vancouver Washington you can get a thorough assessment of your gut health. 

Gut issues have been linked to several health conditions. Weight loss, autoimmune disease, mental health, inflammation, depression, anxiety, skin issues, and chronic pain have all been traced back to gut health so what you do with your body matters. Food, soaps, lotions, drugs, plastic, exercise, sleep, stress, and so much more can have a negative impact on your gut. Discussing one’s gut health and making a plan to implement the changes needed will have dramatic results in improving symptoms associated with poor gut health. 

How Foods Affect Your Gut

Your gut is made of a microbiome that consists of good and bad bacteria. However, every individual gut is unique in that no two person’s gut is alike. The simple idea of a healthy gut is to have more ‘good’ bacteria than bad bacteria. One way to do this is to eat nutritious foods that combat any ‘bad’ bacteria as well as eating foods that promote ‘good’ bacteria. 

Bacteria is essential for the gut as it aids in digestion so finding the right foods that work with your gut to promote good bacteria will help you on your way to a properly functioning microbiome and overall good health. 

Ten Foods That Help With Pain Relief

Ginger– Ginger has been a well-known staple of traditional medicine for centuries. Ginger is a pungent root that is often associated with nausea for its soothing effects on the stomach but it is also known to fight pain including menstrual cramping and arthritic pain in joints. 

Blueberries– These juicy little fruits are rich in phytonutrients that help to fight inflammation thus lessening pain. Both fresh and frozen blueberries can have these effects. Other fruits that are high in phytonutrients include strawberries and oranges. 

Pumpkin Seeds– Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are a great source of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that can lessen the number of migraines one can have and is also known to prevent and treat osteoporosis. 

Salmon– Salmon is not only a great source of protein but it is also loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a food source that is associated with heart health and is known to relieve joint pain for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Other types of fish that have similar effects on the body are sardines, mackerel, and tuna. 

Turmeric– Turmeric is a spice known for its bright orange and yellow color and its ability to have a positive impact on inflammation. Those with RA and osteoarthritis were shown in a study to walk with greater ease when taking the supplement. Black pepper helps your body to absorb turmeric. 

Tart Cherries– High in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, tart cherries were shown in one study to decrease muscle pain for runners when drinking tart cherry juice a week before a race compared to those who didn’t. 

Virgin Olive Oil– Using olive oil in its raw state helps to keep joints lubricated and protects cartilage from breaking down. This is because it has lubricin as well as a compound called oleocanthal which has similar effects to ibuprofen. 

Chili Peppers– Eating hot chili peppers is known to reduce and prevent inflammation. When you eat hot chili peppers you actually trick our brain into releasing endorphins which block pain signals. 

Mint– Peppermint oil is shown to relieve painful cramping, gas, bloating, and other irritable bowel issues. It’s also soothing for an upset stomach.  Brazilian mint tea, specifically,  is known as an effective prescription painkiller. 

Red Wine– A glass a day keeps the doctor away is a well-known phrase for a reason. Red wine contains resveratrol which decreases spinal disc swelling leading to back pain. One glass for women and two glasses for men is all one needs to benefit from its effects. 

Foods That Promote Good Gut Health

Everyone’s gut microbiome is different so it’s key to pay attention to how your body responds to different foods, however, there is a list of foods that overall promote good gut health. 

Foods rich in fiber assist in providing a healthy gut. These foods include whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. There are two types of fiber depending on the food source. Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water such as fruits, oats, legumes, and barley. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and includes things like wheat, vegetable, and seeds. 

In addition, bacteria help to digest the fiber which produces healthy ingredients for the colon such as short chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids are a major source of energy for colon cells. 

The foods we eat fuel our body. A shortage of any nutrient can affect the way our body functions making it imperative to consume healthy ingredients so we can be at our optimal health. If you would like to speak to someone in the Vancouver Washington area about gut health call our providers at NW Functional Medicine to help you.

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