Chronic Pain: Make it Stop
If you’re suffering from chronic pain, you’re not alone. In this day and age of highly
advanced, “make life easier” technology and “doc-in- the box” medicine, chronic pain has found
a way to become almost an epidemic in the United States. It’s not just the sedentary lifestyle that
so many of you live that’s caused this epidemic, it’s bad medical advice, improper exercise
programs, de-conditioned bodies, and diets filled with junk foods, processed foods, and foods
that I consider indigestible. The truth is that inflammation is fueled by processed foods, fast
foods, and saturated fats that are found in all grains, sugar-laden drinks and snacks, rice, and all
foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils. Caffeine and alcohol also cause or increase
inflammation. However, there are foods that can make a tremendous difference in your life; and
those foods are part of a plantarian lifestyle.
For example, ginger is a root that is used to add flavor to everything from Asian dishes to
cookies. In its pure and fresh form, ginger has been helpful in alleviating upset stomachs and
nausea, but now it’s also gained a reputation for fighting inflammation, the main cause of pain.
Tumeric, or curcumin, a spice used in Indian foods alongside curry, is also an anti-inflammatory
that has been shown to alleviate chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Thyme, an herb that’s
used in cooking to boost the flavors of many foods, has been found to contain compounds that
research suggests may inhibit with the perception of pain and is considered to be as effective as
dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug. However, they will do little or nothing to help you if
they’re not fresh.
Vegetables that reduce or stop the inflammation/chronic pain cycle include such tasty
items as broccoli, cauliflower, and other cruciferous (the flowers are in the shape of a cross)
vegetables that have been shown to protect the body from developing arthritis. It would also be
wise to add consumption of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, bell peppers, fresh kidney beans,
and bok choy to the pain-alleviation diet. Foods rich in vitamin C lower the risk of developing
rheumatoid arthritis by 30 percent. Eggplant is high in anthocyanidins which are strong
antioxidants that help reduce inflammation as do foods with the highest amount of beta-
cryptoxanthin and vitamin E such as squash, collard greens, dark leafy greens, and sweet
peppers. Dark greens and the aforementioned cruciferous vegetables have higher amounts of
vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and other phytochemicals that fight diseases.
Here’s a little tip: the more colorful the vegetable, the higher the nutrient and anti-oxidant
content and the lower the starch content. For example, bell peppers come in several colors and
hot peppers, such as cayenne and chili, have high levels of capsaicin, which is used in many
OTC creams to lower inflammation and pain. Beets are also high in anti-oxidants and vitamin C,
betalains (plant pigments), and fiber, and all reduce inflammation and protect against heart
disease and cancer. Hang on, though because it doesn’t end there. Add to this list the benefits of
garlic and onions which produce the same effects as pain medications like ibuprofen—blocking
inflammation pathways—and onions contain quercetin and allicin which produce the free radical
fighter, sulfenic acid.
Tomatoes, which are a fruit that some say wear vegetable suits, are high in lycopene
which also lowers inflammation in the lungs and the whole body. As for regular fruits, oranges,
strawberries, pineapples, and mangos contain high levels of vitamin C, and cherries,
blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes are high in anthocyanidins. While consumption of
all fruits helps fight inflammation, berries have been shown to have extremely high anti-
inflammatory properties—blueberries help protect against intestinal inflammation of the
intestines and ulcerative colitis.
Red grapes and berries contain resveratrol, a chemical compound that have anti-
inflammatory benefits which are increased when combined with turmeric. Tart cherries, not
sweet cherries, are the highest in anti-inflammatory content of all foods and leads to the
reduction in the use of pain medications when a routine part of the chronic-pain sufferer’s diet.
By now you should have a true appreciation for the benefits of a plantarian diet. Not only
does it provide the nutrient rich foods your body needs to function well, it prevents or fixes
problems that don’t require medical and pharmaceutical intervention. Give it a try. You have
nothing to lose besides your chronic pain and the excess weight you’ve put on while eating all
those unhealthy foods.