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 Pains & Aches

september 2012

Beat The Aches!

Nitika Sharma
Small dietary changes can add up to big benefits for joint and muscle health. A number of foods have powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, which may be as effective as some prescription medicines. Nutritional care to beat joint and muscle pain starts with anti-inflammatory foods.

Foods For Aches

  • The healthiest of the fats is Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s work to decrease inflammation. Some of the best foods for Omega-3 fatty acids include salmon (wild, fresh or canned), herring, sardines, pacific oysters, omega-3 fortified eggs, ground flaxseeds, walnuts, seaweed and soybeans.
  • Olive oil contains MUFA (mono unsaturated fatty acids) that protects the body against inflammation. Use olive oil as a substitute for vegetable oil or butter while cooking. For the highest antioxidant content, choose ‘extra virgin’ olive oil.
  • Antioxidants like Vitamin C, selenium, carotenes (beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin) and bioflavonoids help to beat joint and muscle pain. Some of their food sources are as in the table below.
  • Vitamin D is important for bone strength and joint health. Some of the best foods for Vitamin D include wild salmon, sardines, herring, milk (skim, 1 per cent, low-fat), enriched soy milk, egg yolks, cottage cheese and mushrooms.
  • Vitamin E found naturally in wheat germ and some veggies (like tomatoes, spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes) may help reduce pain.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are a powerhouse combination of healthy-fats, essential nutrients and powerful antioxidants that help fight tissue damage and even reduce swelling or pain.
  • The calcium in milk, cheese, yoghurt and green leafy vegetables can promote bone health and prevent osteoporosis. [Note: many people with lupus an auto immune disease fare better on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet]
  • Certain spices such as ginger and turmeric seem to have anti-inflammatory effects, and therefore they should be added to one’s diet for aches and pain.
Nutrient Food Sources
Vitamin C Guava, pepper (yellow/red/ green), orange, grapefruit, strawberry, pineapple, papaya, lemon and broccoli.
Selenium Brazil nut, tuna (canned light in water), crab, oysters, lean beef, cod, shrimp, wheat germ and whole grains.
Beta Carotene Sweet potato, carrot, turnip greens, pumpkin, mustard greens, cantaloupe, sweet red pepper, apricot and spinach.;
Beta cryptoxanthin Winter squash, pumpkin, papaya, tangerine, pepper (red chili and red bell), corn, orange, apricot, carrot, nectarine and watermelon.
Bioflavinoids Onion, broccoli, blueberry, black currant, apricot, apple with peel and grapes.

Pain Relief Recipes!
Nutty Craisin Cottage Cheese
Take 110 g of cottage cheese, one tablespoon of walnuts and two tablespoonsful of dried cranberries. Mix in a bowl and enjoy. Not only is this a yummy snack low in calories and high in protein, but the walnuts also offer good amounts of Omega 3s.

Peanut Butter Balls
Half a cup natural peanut butter, ¼ cup non-fat dry milk powder, ¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut, 1/3 cup rolled oats, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ cup wheat germ, ¼ cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate (thawed).

Mix the peanut butter, milk powder and coconut in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the oats, ground cinnamon, wheat germ, and apple juice concentrate until thoroughly blended. Shape the mixture into 16 one-inch balls. Chill for about an hour before serving.

Big No-No’s & Alternatives
  • Fats and fats from animal products (saturated fat) such as fatty beef, pork and poultry skin, and those like ice cream, butter, whole milk, regular cheese, and bacon. Saturated fats are also found in coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil.
  • Choose low-fat or no-fat dairy products, lean cuts of beef and pork, and skinless chicken and turkey.
  • Trans fats found in baked products are as bad as saturated fats. Check labels and do not buy food products with trans fat.
  • Sugary foods, white flour baked goods, white rice, bread and other refined carbohydrates set up a state of inflammation in the body. Therefore, limit these foods as much as possible.
  • Alcohol and caffeine can interfere with the efficacy of some pain medications and exacerbate the side effects of others.
Nitika Sharma is Dietician, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.