After returning on a long flight from Bali to San Francisco, I developed this horrible pain in my right hand. All of my joints hurt and were inflamed and my wrist hurt as well. I had a particularly busy schedule when I returned and was worried about how I would get through the day. I immediately put myself on my pain relief protocol, which includes foods that reduce inflammation and other pain relief strategies. I developed this protocol to heal a lot of my own injuries as well as my clients. Years ago, when I first started practicing massage, I developed terrible tendonitis in my forearms and worried I would not be able to continue practicing massage. I researched all of the foods that reduce inflammation and developed this protocol. I have used it every time my tendonitis flared up and was able to practice massage full-time for 9 years. I chose to cut back to part-time 4 years ago when I started practicing Hypnotherapy. Focusing on the foods that reduce inflammation can really help you remain pain-free.
Pain Relief Protocol. This protocol includes foods that reduce inflammation and pain.
1. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. If the pain you are having is acute pain, you can follow this eating plan, which is filled with foods that reduce inflammation, for four or five days and eat nothing but these foods. If your pain is more chronic, it would be best to include more of these foods that reduce inflammation in your diet. If you suffer from chronic pain, it would be best to focus your diet around protein, vegetables, low sugar fruits, berries and fresh vegetable juices. Wild game and grass fed beef are also good to include in your diet as well as they contain higher amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, and are foods that reduce inflammation. You should also be sure to avoid all grains, sugar and processed foods, as these are the most inflammatory foods.
Food that reduce inflammation and pain:
Fatty fish such as Wild Salmon, Halibut, Sardines, Mackeral. These fish are foods that reduce inflammation. They do this because they contain high amount of Omega 3 fatty acids which are very anti-inflammatory. They also contain the lowest amount of mercury. Tuna and Swordfish also contain a lot of Omega s, but their mercury content is so high that I don’t recommend them. Please only use wild fish as farmed fish are not fed their natural diet, and because of that, they contain very low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids and are not good for reducing inflammation.
Dark green leafy vegetables such as Kale, Swiss Chard, and Spinach are foods that reduce inflammation.
Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are also foods that reduce inflammation.
Green Vegetable juice (see below)
Ginger tea (see below)
2. Juicing. Fresh vegetables juices are very healing and anti-inflammatory. I would avoid fruit juices as they are too high in concentrated sugar. Even though fruit is natural, it still contains a lot of sugar which won’t help you when you in pain.
Many people do not understand the difference between juicing and blending. Juicing extracts the nutrients from the vegetables and discards the fiber. This is great because with all of the fiber excluded, your body can take in the nutrients within minutes, without having to digest it. Juice contains massive amounts of concentrated nutrients which provide an immediate flood of nutrients to your whole system. A blender uses the whole food including the fiber. A blended drink or smoothie isn’t bad, but it takes way longer to digest and longer for the nutrients to reach your system. If your digestion isn’t really good, you may not absorb all of the nutrients. Fresh vegetable juice is more like a medicine, where a blended drink is more like a food, and when you are in pain, you need medicine. To make fresh vegetable juice, you need a juicer. I recommend this one. I have had one of these for over 20 years and it is really high quality.
The following juicing combination is what I recommend. I recommend drinking 16-24 ounces a day on an empty stomach. You should consume half of it when you wake up and half of it before lunch. You need to wait 15 minutes before eating.
Anti-Inflammatory Juicing Blend:
5 stems of Kale
5 Carrots, unpeeled
3/4 inch of ginger, unpeeled
6 stalks of celery
Makes 24 ounces.
3. Take Fish Oil. Fish oil is very anti-inflammatory. According to and article on WebMD, fish oil is very effective for pain, and they recommended taking 2-4 grams per day. The article states that fish oil may be even more effective when taken with tumeric (see below). In a study published in the Surgical Neurology International medical journal in 2006, 80% of the participants were able to reduce their pain levels by taking fish oil and 60% were able to get off of NSAIDs.
4. Take Tumeric. Tumeric is one of the foods that reduce inflammation. The powder can be added to smoothies. A good recipe that can help you get more tumeric in your diet is chicken coconut curry. You can also make this with shrimp for more variety. You can also take Tumeric in capsules, like this.
5. Drink Ginger Tea. Ginger is another one of the foods that reduce inflammation. It is best to use fresh ginger root. What you do is take a couple of large pieces and peel and chop them and boil them in a pan of water for about an hour. Strain and let it cool. You can either drink this warm or cold throughout the day. You can add Stevia to improve the taste. You can use ginger tea bags, but the fresh root is more effective.
6. Use Arnica both topically and orally. Arnica is a powerful homeopathic remedy that reduces pain and inflammation. It generally works best for acute pain within the first 36 hours of developing the pain. When I used to practice massage full-time, I worked in a day spa when I was starting out. One day, I was forced to do 8 deep tissue massages in a day with no breaks. The veins in my hand completely swelled up and turned purple. I used Arnica and woke up the next morning and my hand was fine. I also let my employer know that I was not going to do that many massages in one day ever again. You can use the topical gel right on the injury and also take the pills.
7. Use Ice. Ice can be as effective as taking Ibuprofen without harming your liver. You can use it as often as once an hour for 10 minutes. During the first 3 days of an injury or a flare-up of pain, you should only use ice. After that you can alternative between heat and ice.
8. Get Checked for Magnesium Deficiency. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. It is estimated that 75% of all people are deficient in magnesium. The cause of this are our soils being depleted, consuming too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine, stress, and taking certain pharmaceutical drugs. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle pain, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, PMS, muscle cramping, twitching and heart palpitations. Green leafy vegetables are high in magnesium and are foods that reduce inflammation. If you think you are deficient, you should check with your doctor before taking any nutritional supplements. If do need to take magnesium and your doctor okays it, the most absorbable forms of magnesium are ionic magnesium which comes in a liquid form and magnesium citrate.
9. Get Massage Therapy. Massage therapy is great for reducing inflammation and pain. You can either go to a professional massage therapist or get a massage tool. I am a professional massage therapist and practice in San Francisco. If you are in the area or will be traveling here, you can check out my website here. I also recommend these massage tools, the Thumper, iNeed, Jeanie, or Theracane. I have all of these products and highly recommend them.
10. Take Gelatin. Gelatin is another one of the foods that reduce inflammation. Gelatin comes from the structural protein collagen found in many animals. Collagen is a fibrous protein that strengthens the bodys connective tissues. It contains high amounts of amino acids important in helping to prevent the weakness and break down of cartilage in joints. I recommend this one which comes from cows that have been grass-fed. The kinds found in the supermarket are generally of low quality and will not work well. You can mix it into your ginger tea or put it in a smoothie. You can also make jello with it. In a study reported on WedMD, patients who took 10 grams of gelatin a day significantly reduced their pain levels.
Great list! So many people do not realize (or are ignorant) that food does effect our health. So many fake foods people are eating cause inflammation but they/we continue to eat it…. crazy!
Processed foods are so inflammatory, it is crazy.
Excellent Post and great tips! It’s really amazing how much inflammation can be reduced by simply changing your diet alone. Another big one is proper hydration -so many people today are drinking the WRONG kinds of things that are very inflammatory. Just kicking one’s soda habit could reduce all kinds of inflammation!
Hi Lydia, That is such a good point. Things like soda and even fruit juices due to their high content of sugar are very inflammatory.
A well written article! And wow have Ilearned so much in relation to inflammation and autoimmunity more in depth recently! Keep up the great work!! Trish
I take turmeric every day. Thanks for the list of other foods I should eat.
Great tips! So many people don’t realize that they have inflammation within their body…just from the foods they’re eating. I love my fish!
Brilliant article! I pretty much eat/drink most of the things on your list. I wil share this with my friends too.
Great post! Inflammation is the root of so many problems – I love that you have an official protocol to combat it with food.
Great post. I already practice some of these, but there are a few tips I need to add to my life…I’m going with massage, first ;). Thank you for the great info!
Thanks so much Kristen.
Great article! I shared this on G+ the other day as I can align myself with all of your points. I love that you added turmeric. =)
Jessica, Thank you so much. Tumeric is great.
Great post! I will be sharing!
I always need more ideas for foods that reduce inflammation, with a healing ankle and all…
Awesome post to keep bookmarked just in case!
Great article! I do many of these things including taking gelatin. But I do take issue with everyone suggesting that Great Lakes’ gelatin is from grass-fed cows. That’s what the company will claim to anyone who calls or emails but no where on their site or on the packaging does it say that their bovine are grass-fed. Why can’t they be more transparent? I prefer this brand: Vital Proteins. “Grass-fed and pastured” is prominently displayed on their very informative website and on the packaging itself. The only thing Great Lakes is willing to put on their business website is that they’re kosher which has nothing to do with grass-feeding/grass finishing animals. Not being upfront makes me very suspicious of them. We must be very careful with some of these companies out there – dishonesty abounds. But gelatin has helped me tremendously with my achey joints. I also read elsewhere that our bodies are able to make rapid use of this gelatin in rebuilding our joints where they’ve weakened. Homemade bone broth is also a good source of gelatin.
Thanks so much for this information. I will definitely look into the brand of gelatin you talked about, it sounds a lot better and more reliable. Do you have any idea how much gelatin people need to rebuild weak joints?
Thanks for this really helpful and accurate list! I especially like the link to the curry recipe, the mention of using arnica not only topically but orally, and the issue of magnesium deficiency. Great!!
Thanks so much.
Yes Massage therapy is great for reducing inflammation and pain. I personally try this. Thanks for sharing with us.
I use ice. it is very effective and workable. Thank you very much for your great post.
Thanks for your kind words Abul. Ice is very effective. Many health professionals feel it is just as effective as Ibuprofen, without all the side effects of course.