Five Pain-Reducing Foods

The American Chronic Pain Association states that 35 percent of American adults suffer from chronic pain. 26 percent of Americans aged 20 and older also suffer from pain that lasts at least 24 hours, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Pain, especially chronic pain, is a result of inflammation- the body’s natural response to injury. David Maine, MD, of the Center for Interventional Pain Medicine at Mercy Medical Center explained:

“Inflammation is a normal process. Acute inflammatory responses can cause pain, but are beneficial. Without those immune responses, used to heal and prevent infections, we’d all be in trouble. But chronic inflammatory changes can disrupt all sorts of signals in muscle growth and health.”

Today, chronic pain sufferers can find relief in numerous medications and treatments. However, there are several foods that can help manage the pain as well:

  • Salmon

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Rich in Omega 3, salmon is beneficial for the body in so many ways. It boosts hearts health thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. The fish oil fights inflammation in other areas of the body as well, which significantly reduces pain and swelling.

  • Ginger

The healing properties of fresh ginger are known to help a range of ailments, including the common cold and upset stomachs. Apparently, it is also able to reduce pain by 25 percent. In fact, studies have shown that ginger may be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin.

  • Cherries (and other red, purple and blue fruits)

These delicious snacks have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in antioxidants, as are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and red grapes. Cherries are known to fight inflammation related to heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

  • Olive Oil

Highly anti-inflammatory and a great pain reliever, olive oil can easily be added to various cooked and uncooked dishes. Scientists believe the effects of long-term olive oil consumption may be as helpful as NSAIDs, but without the potentially harmful side effects.

  • Green Tea

Rich in a compound known as EGCG, green tea battles inflammation and also repressed the production of substances that harm cartilage and bone. The magic drink alleviates pain, banishes toxins from the body and strengthens immune response.

Varied Health Benefits of Peanuts

<h2>Peanuts Battle Diabetes Type 2</h2>

Given that the salted peanut is the no. 1 most popular nut snack for Americans, it is always good to learn about additional health benefits it offers.  A recent report in the Health News Digest taken from a Diabetes Care issue, has found that by consuming two ounces of nuts (like peanuts) instead of another carbohydrate on a daily basis, blood glucose control and blood lipids can be improved for people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes.

Indeed, according to one expert, David Jenkins, MD, PhD, DSc, “nuts, including peanuts, can make a valuable contribution to the diabetic diet by displacing high glycemic index carbohydrates and replacing them with vegetable fats and vegetable proteins which have been shown in the long term to be associated with better cardiovascular health and diabetes prevention.”

<h2>Protein-Packed Peanuts</h2>

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But for those not battling diabetes, can the yummy snack also be beneficial?  Apparently so.  Peanuts have a significant amount more of protein than any other nut and also provide substantial amounts of mono and polyunsaturated oils.  According to the report, “increased proportions of fat and protein, especially of plant origin, may confer metabolic benefits and reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease and diabetes.”

<h2>Anti-Oxidant Rich</h2>

Another great reason to eat peanuts is that research has also revealed that they are very high in antioxidants, possibly even more so than a lot of fruits.  Indeed, for those eating the roasted variety, they can enjoy them in the knowledge that they have more antioxidants than even blackberries, strawberries, carrots and beets with their high levels of antioxidant polyphenols.

So it seems like there are many reasons to enjoy the nutty snack. It’s true that peanuts are high in calories, but if eaten in moderation, research has also revealed that they can help control weight as they significantly curb hunger.

Eat Your Crust!

Since we are on the subject of antioxidants and food, here is another bit of interesting information which can help you achieve a healthier diet without too much extra effort.

German researchers have discovered that the crust of bread is much richer in the disease fighting compounds known as antioxidants than the bread itself. This is the first study which has shown that bread crust may actually be healthier than the inside of the bread, welcome news to those that like to use bread crusts to stuff their holiday chickens and turkeys, but not such good news to those among us who remove the crusts from the bread before they eat a sandwich.

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The researchers looked for antioxidants in the crust, the baked bread, and in the flour before baking. What the scientists found was startling. Before the process of baking, there is no trace of a particular and unusual type of antioxidant known as pronyl-lysine. After baking, this compound was found as much as 8 times more abundantly in the crust as compared to the  softer, inside part of the bread.  Darker breads, such as pumpernickel or whole wheat also increase the total amount of antioxidants available in the end product, especially the crust. However, the researchers also discovered that overcooking of the bread reduces the amount of antioxidants and so over baking should be avoided. So all I can say is, “Eat your crust!”

Finally, Something We Like Which is Good For Us: Pizza

You probably already know that pizza is a popular food, but did you know that in the United States upwards of 350 slices are eaten every single second? That astounding number of pizza slices eaten at every moment attests to the infatuation Americans have for this easy to eat, tasty and quite healthy fast-food.  You might be surprised to hear that pizza is healthy, considering its high cheese and oil content, but if prepared the correct way, pizza can be quite a healthful food.

Food chemists explain that the key to preparing a healthy pizza pie is to make the crust with whole wheat flour and to bake in a very hot oven. Using whole wheat flour in place of white flour is the single most important factor in pizza making which causes the release of the disease fighting compounds known as anti-oxidants.  It has been shown that antioxidants can protect people from developing cancer and heart disease. The longer the pizza was cooked, and the higher the temperature, also contributed to raising the levels of antioxidants in the pizza. It also helps to let the dough rise longer. Doubling the dough-rising time from one day to two also doubled the amount of antioxidants found in the pizza.

It is nice to know that with a minimum amount of effort pizza can go from being just a tasty treat to a healthful meal for you and your family. Here is a recipe for healthier pizza crust that you can easily make yourself.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust with Enhanced Antioxidant Availability
1 packet active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100-110°F)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
The day before…
•  Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl. Stir with whisk until yeast dissolves.
•  Add honey, oil and salt. Stir with whisk until honey and salt dissolve.
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•  Measure flour into large mixing bowl. Add water mixture to flour.
•  Mix with wooden spoon until dough forms.
•  Transfer dough to floured surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Dough may be sticky.
•  Divide dough into 3 sections and shape each section into a ball.
•  Transfer dough balls to a lightly oiled pan, leaving a few inches for each ball to raise.
•  Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap.
•  Store pan overnight (~18 hours) in the refrigerator.
The day of…
•  Allow dough to come to room temperature. (about 30 minutes)
•  Preheat oven to 500°F.
•  Roll each ball out to a 12 inch circle on a pizza screen.
•  Top with tomato sauce, cheese and desired toppings.
•  Put pizza in middle rack of preheated oven. Bake for 6 – 8 minutes, until crust gets browned.
•  (A pizza pan or stone can also be used to bake the pizzas. Baking times may change.)