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20 Pain Killers in your Kitchen

A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO TAKING MEDICATION
20 Painkillers in Your Kitchen

Make muscle pain a memory with ginger

When Danish researchers asked achy people to jazz up their diets with ginger, it eased muscle and joint pain, swelling and stiffness for up to 63 percent of them within two months. Experts credit ginger’s potent compounds called gingerols, which prevent the production of pain-triggering hormones. The study-recommended dose: Add at least 1 teaspoon of dried ginger or 2 teaspoons of chopped ginger to meals daily.

Cure a toothache with cloves

Got a toothache and can’t get to the dentist? Gently chewing on a clove can ease tooth pain and gum inflammation for two hours straight, say UCLA researchers. Experts point to a natural compound in cloves called eugenol, a powerful, natural anesthetic. Bonus: Sprinkling a ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves on meals daily may also protect your ticker. Scientists say this simple action helps stabilize blood sugar, plus dampen production of artery-clogging cholesterol in as little as three weeks.

Heal heartburn with cider vinegar

Sip 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water before every meal, and experts say you could shut down painful bouts of heartburn in as little as 24 hours. “Cider vinegar is rich in malic and tartaric acids, powerful digestive aids that speed the breakdown of fats and proteins so your stomach can empty quickly, before food washes up into the esophagus, triggering heartburn pain,” explains Joseph Brasco, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Center for Colon and Digestive Diseases in Huntsville, AL.


Erase earaches with garlic

Painful ear infections drive millions of Americans to doctors’ offices every year. To cure one fast, just place two drops of warm garlic oil into your aching ear twice daily for five days. This simple treatment can clear up ear infections faster than prescription meds, say experts at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Scientists say garlic’s active ingredients (germanium, selenium, and sulfur compounds) are naturally toxic to dozens of different pain-causing bacteria. To whip up your own garlic oil gently simmer three cloves of crushed garlic in a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil for two minutes, strain, then refrigerate for up to two weeks, suggests Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., co-author of the book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy. For an optimal experience, warm this mix slightly before using so the liquid will feel soothing in your ear canal.


Chase away joint and headache pain with cherries

Latest studies show that at least one in four women is struggling with arthritis, gout or chronic headaches. If you’re one of them, a daily bowl of cherries could ease your ache, without the stomach upset so often triggered by today’s painkillers, say researchers at East Lansing ’s Michigan State University . Their research reveals that anthocyanins, the compounds that give cherries their brilliant red color, are anti-inflammatories 10 times stronger than ibuprofen and aspirin. “Anthocyanins help shut down the powerful enzymes that kick-start tissue inflammation, so they can prevent, as well as treat, many different kinds of pain,” explains Muraleedharan Nair, Ph.D., professor of food science at Michigan State University . His advice: Enjoy 20 cherries (fresh, frozen or dried) daily, then continue until your pain disappears.


Fight tummy troubles with fish
Indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases…if your belly always seems to be in an uproar, try munching 18 ounces of fish weekly to ease your misery. Repeated studies show that the fatty acids in fish, called EPA and DHA, can significantly reduce intestinal inflammation, cramping and belly pain and, in some cases, provide as much relief as corticosteroids and other prescription meds. “EPA and DHA are powerful, natural, side effect-free anti-inflammatories, that can dramatically improve the function of the entire gastrointestinal tract,” explains biological chemist Barry Sears, Ph.D., president of the Inflammation Research Foundation in Marblehead , MA . For best results, look for oily fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout and herring.


Prevent PMS with yogurt
Up to 80 percent of women will struggle with premenstrual syndrome and its uncomfortable symptoms, report Yale researchers. The reason: Their nervous systems are sensitive to the ups and downs in estrogen and progesterone that occur naturally every month. But snacking on 2 cups of yogurt a day can slash these symptoms by 48 percent, say researchers at New York ’s Columbia University . “Yogurt is rich in calcium, a mineral that naturally calms the nervous system, preventing painful symptoms even when hormones are in flux,” explains Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a professor of gynecology at Yale University .


Tame chronic pain with turmeric

Studies show turmeric, a popular East Indian spice, is actually three times more effective at easing pain than aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, plus it can help relieve chronic pain for 50 percent of people struggling with arthritis and even fibromyalgia, according to Cornell researchers. That’s because turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, naturally shuts down cyclooxygenase 2, an enzyme that churns out a stream of pain-producing hormones, explains nutrition researcher Julian Whitaker, M.D. and author of the book, Reversing Diabetes. The study-recommended dose: Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of this spice daily onto any rice, poultry, meat or vegetable dish.


End endometrial pain with oats

The ticket to soothing endometriosis pain could be a daily bowl of oatmeal. Endometriosis occurs when little bits of the uterine lining detach and grow outside of the uterus. Experts say these migrating cells can turn menstruation into a misery, causing so much inflammation that they trigger severe cramping during your period, plus a heavy ache that drags on all month long. Fortunately, scientists say opting for a diet rich in oats can help reduce endometrial pain for up to 60 percent of women within six months. That’s because oats don’t contain gluten, a trouble-making protein that triggers inflammation in many women, making endometriosis difficult to bear, explains Peter Green, M.D., professor of medicine at Colombia University .


Soothe foot pain with salt

Experts say at least six million Americans develop painful ingrown toenails each year. But regularly soaking ingrown nails in warm salt water baths can cure these painful infections within four days, say scientists at California ’s Stanford University . The salt in the mix naturally nixes inflammation, plus it’s anti-bacterial, so it quickly destroys the germs that cause swelling and pain. Just mix 1 teaspoon of salt into each cup of water, heat to the warmest temperature that you can comfortably stand, and then soak the affected foot area for 20 minutes twice daily, until your infection subsides.


Prevent digestive upsets with pineapple

Got gas? One cup of fresh pineapple daily can cut painful bloating within 72 hours, say researchers at California ’s Stanford University . That’s because pineapple is natually packed with proteolytic enzymes, digestive aids that help speed the breakdown of pain-causing proteins in the stomach and small intestine, say USDA researchers.


Relax painful muscles with peppermint

Suffering from tight, sore muscles? Stubborn knots can hang around for months if they aren’t properly treated, says naturopath Mark Stengler, N.D., author of the book, The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies. His advice: Three times each week, soak in a warm tub scented with 10 drops of peppermint oil. The warm water will relax your muscles, while the peppermint oil will naturally soothe your nerves — a combo that can ease muscle cramping 25 percent more effectively than over-the-counter painkillers, and cut the frequency of future flare-ups in half, says Stengler.


Give your back some TLC with grapes

Got an achy back? Grapes could be the ticket to a speedy recovery. Recent studies at Ohio State University suggest eating a heaping cup of grapes daily can relax tight blood vessels, significantly improving blood flow to damaged back tissues (and often within three hours of enjoying the first bowl). That’s great news because your back’s vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs are completely dependent on nearby blood vessels to bring them healing nutrients and oxygen, so improving blood flow is essential for healing damaged back tissue, says Stengler.


Wash away pain injuries with water

Whether it’s your feet, your knees or your shoulders that are throbbing, experts at New York ’s Manhattan College , say you could kick-start your recovery in one week just by drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Why? Experts say water dilutes, and then helps flush out, histamine, a pain-triggering compound produced by injured tissues. “Plus water is a key building block of the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones, your joints’ lubricating fluid, and the soft discs in your spine,” adds Susan M. Kleiner, Ph.D., author of the book, The Good Mood Diet. “And when these tissues are well-hydrated, they can move and glide over each other without causing pain.” One caveat: Be sure to measure your drinking glasses to find out how large they really are before you start sipping, she says. Today’s juice glasses often hold more than 12 ounces, which means five servings could be enough to meet your daily goal.


Heal sinus problems with horseradish

Latest studies show sinusitis is the nation’s number one chronic health problem. And this condition doesn’t just spur congestion and facial pain, it also makes sufferers six times more likely to feel achy all-over. Horseradish to the rescue! According to German researchers, this eye-watering condiment naturally revs up blood flow to the sinus cavities, helping to open and drain clogged sinuses and heal sinus infections more quickly than decongestant sprays do. The study-recommended dose: One teaspoon twice daily (either on its own, or used as a sandwich or meat topping) until symptoms clear.


Beat bladder infections with blueberries

Eating 1 cup of blueberries daily, whether you opt for them fresh, frozen or in juice form, can cut your risk of a urinary tract infection (UTIs) by 60 percent, according to researchers at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. That’s because blueberries are loaded with tannins, plant compounds that wrap around problem-causing bacteria in the bladder, so they can’t get a toehold and create an infection, explains Amy Howell, Ph.D. a scientist at Rutgers University .


Heal mouth sores with honey

Dab painful canker and cold sores with unpasteurized honey four times daily until these skin woes disappear, and they’ll heal 43 percent faster than if you use a prescription cream, say researchers at the Dubai Specialized Medical Center in the United Arab Emirates . Raw honey’s natural enzymes zap inflammation, destroy invading viruses and speed the healing of damaged tissues, say the study authors.


Fight breast pain with flax

In one recent study, adding 3 tablespoons of ground flax to their daily diet eased breast soreness for one in three women within 12 weeks. Scientists credit flax’s phytoestrogens, natural plant compounds that prevent the estrogen spikes that can trigger breast pain. More good news: You don’t have to be a master baker to sneak this healthy seed into your diet. Just sprinkle ground flax on oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce or add it to smoothies and veggie dips.


Cure migraines with coffee

Prone to migraines? Try muscling-up your painkiller with a coffee chaser. Whatever over-the-counter pain med you prefer, researchers at the National Headache Foundation say washing it down with a strong 12- ounce cup of coffee will boost the effectiveness of your medication by 40 percent or more. Experts say caffeine stimulates the stomach lining to absorb painkillers more quickly and more effectively.


Tame leg cramps with tomato juice

At least one in five people regularly struggle with leg cramps. The culprit? Potassium deficiencies, which occur when this mineral is flushed out by diuretics, caffeinated beverages or heavy perspiration during exercise. But sip 10 ounces of potassium-rich tomato juice daily and you’ll not only speed your recovery, you’ll reduce your risk of painful cramp flare-ups in as little as 10 days, say UCLA researchers.

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Five Natural Remedies to Reduce Inflammation

By Carey Rossi     Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Inflammation — what does the word mean to you? For most people, it’s a swollen cut or the swelling that occurs with pain or injury. And while, yes, these outward signs indicate inflammation, this same action happens deep inside the body. This natural process takes place when the body’s normal protective mechanisms are lacking or even over-acting.

In some, inflammation is chronic because their bodies are exposed to stress: internal, such as eating a high-fat diet or smoking; and external, such as difficult relationships or life events, like a divorce or death of a loved one. Research has shown that chronic inflammation is linked to a wide range of health problems including arthritis, allergies, cancer, diabetes and heart disease, among others. Luckily, there are many natural remedies for inflammation that effectively work to provide natural inflammation relief.

1. Açai Berry
All hail, antioxidants and the Amazon berry that has an abundance of them — açai (pronounced: ahh-sa-ee). According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Açai-rich juice may reduce levels of inflammation markers linked to conditions such as heart disease by protecting cells from oxidative damage.

“Given the high content of certain specific polyphenols in the juice blend, the increased antioxidant protection [in the body] after consumption of the juice blend, and the anti-inflammatory capacity in vitro, further research is warranted to evaluate whether juice blend consumption may provide reversal of risk markers in subjects with conditions such as arthritis, obesity, chronic viral diseases, cardiovascular disease and compromised cognitive function, as well as other conditions associated with chronic inflammation,” wrote lead author Gitte Jensen from Holger NIS Inc., a contract research laboratory.

Other research has indicated that the açai berry contains a wide array of inflammation-fighting antioxidant compounds and has great potential to be used as a natural inflammation remedy.

2. Flax Seed Oil
A tiny super seed chock full of essential omega-3 fatty acids can give inflammation a one-two punch. The omega-3s its oil contains can help the body reduce C-reactive protein, a marker that is present in the body when inflammation is present. According to a study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, healthy post-menopausal women who ate low-fat muffins enriched with flax seeds for six weeks saw a 15% reduction C-reactive protein. Flax seeds also contain lignans, which may protect against breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

Flax seeds and flax seed oil have many health benefits, and as this research indicates, they may serve as an effective remedy to naturally decrease inflammation.


3. Quercetin
What do red grapes, broccoli and green tea have in common? They all contain quercetin, a natural antioxidant that has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Recently, Chinese researchers reported in the November 2008 issue of Molecular Biology Reports that quercetin negatively alters intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1)—one of the important pro-inflammatory factors—especially in the early phase of inflammation.

As more and more research reveals, quercetin has great potential to serve as a natural anti-inflammatory, and may also boost immunity.

4. Zinc
Many people take zinc to fight off a cold or virus, and now research shows that zinc may also be a natural inflammation remedy. Popping zinc regularly can help reduce inflammation and has also been shown to fight infections in older people. Researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, tested whether zinc supplementation decreases oxidative stress. They found that consuming 25 mg three times a day for three months decreased TNF-alpha, a cytokine that amplifies inflammation. (Bao B, et al. Transl Res. 2008 Aug;152(2):67-80. Epub 2008 Jul 11.)

5. Fish Oil
It shouldn’t surprise you that more research has emerged touting this omega-3-rich super supplement’s natural anti-inflammatory powers. The latest comes from the United Kingdom. Researchers found that taking 3.5 g of fish oil daily for six weeks may activate anti-inflammatory and lipid modulating mechanisms believed to impede the early onset of coronary heart disease. (de Roos B et al. Proteomics. 2008 May;8(10):1965-74.)

Fish oil is well known for its ability to improve cardiovascular health and to fight inflammation naturally. Research has shown that it may even be a viable alternative to NSAIDS for back pain and for the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arhritis.

Keep in mind that while supplements can help tame inflammation in your body, you can make lifestyle choices to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Stay away from trans fats in your diet. Exercise on a regular basis (but don’t over do it since that can cause inflammation!) and keep stress at bay by adopting mindful activities, such as yoga, tai chi or meditation.

The bottom line is, chronic inflammation has been recognized as perhaps the cheif culprit in many diseases which can dramatically affect the quality of your life as you age. Do what it takes to keep inflammation to a minimum with proven natural anti-inflammatory supplements such as açai berry, flax seed oil, quercetin, zinc and fish oil, and by making anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle choices.

About the Author
Carey Rossi is a writer and editor with 10 years of experience covering all aspects of nutrition and fitness. She was the editor-in-chief of Better Nutrition, a shopping magazine for natural living, and the founding editor of Muscle & Fitness Hers. In addition, her work has appeared in Muscle & Fitness, Looking Good Now, Healthy Family, Vegetarian Times and Natural Health. She is the author of No More Diets Ever, Lose Weight the Natural Way.


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5 Foods to Help Fight Spring Allergies

It’s springtime — the season of runny noses and itchy eyes. Consider adding these foods to your diet to lessen your irritating symptoms.
By Alexandra Sifferlin   March 29, 2012

Nuts

When it comes to keeping the sniffles of seasonal allergies at bay, maintaining a healthy diet is one of your first lines of defense, says Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “The best way to manage allergies is first and foremost to work with your doctor to get you on the best treatments out there. The sad news is there is no cure. A seasonal allergy is a genetic disease of the immune system. But even before you think about medications, it is really critical that you go into allergy season with a healthy diet,” says Tringale.

Studies show that a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3s can ease seasonal allergy suffering. A 2007 study found that children from the Greek island of Crete who ate a Mediterranean diet — high in fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, and nuts — were less likely to develop allergy and asthma symptoms. “Allergies cause inflammation of the tissues lining the nose and throat. Finding foods that decrease inflammation will lead to relief,” Tringale says.

Nuts are one good choice. They’re a healthy snack and are high in magnesium and vitamin E. Magnesium protects against the wheezing that accompanies asthma, and vitamin E boosts immunity while simultaneously protecting the body from free radicals, which cause tissue damage and inflammation. “Most tree nuts, like walnuts and pecans, do the trick. Nuts also come with a lot of fat,” however, cautions Tringale, so don’t go overboard, especially if you’re battling your weight.


Apples

An apple a day helps keep your allergies away. In the Crete diet study, researchers found that people whose diets incorporated apples as a staple had greater protection against both allergies and asthma. Apples are rich in quercetin — a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties. Much of the benefits come from the peels, which are also packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, which prevent cellular damage.

Another 2007 study found that pregnant women who ate apples reduced the risk of their children developing asthma. Researchers looked at the eating habits of women during pregnancy and, later, their children’s reported allergies. Kids whose moms ate the most apples during pregnancy were less likely to report wheezing or to have doctor-confirmed asthma at age 5, compared with kids whose moms ate few apples.

Snacking regularly on apples, or other healthful foods high in antioxidants, may help prevent wheezing in adolescence too. Dr. Jane Burns of the Harvard School of Public Health studied the relationship between poor diet and respiratory symptoms and said in a statement, “Our study, as well as other research, suggests that higher intakes of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory micronutrients are associated with lower reports of cough, respiratory infections, and less severe asthma-related symptoms.”



Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have natural anti-inflammatory effects that boost the immune system — and most allergies happen when your immune system is out of whack, according to Dr. William Sears, author of the upcoming book, The Omega-3 Effect.

“If you were to come into my office with seasonal allergies and say to me, ‘Dr. Bill, I would like the best and safest medicine for my allergies,’ I would surprise you by scribbling on prescription pad, ‘Eat 6 ounces of Alaskan salmon twice a week,’” says Dr. Sears.

According to Dr. Sears, patients frequently complain about dry skin and eczema during the allergy season, and fish can alleviate those irritations. “All the ‘itises’ — dermatitis, bronchitis, arthritis, colitis — all of them are made better by the more seafood you eat,” says Dr. Sears. “Because omega-3s have total anti-inflammatory effects, sometimes people will notice that when I treat them with fish, their skin is softer and their asthma is better.”

In the same  2007 study looking at pregnant women and apple consumption, researchers found that moms who ate fish during pregnancy reduced the risk of their children developing asthma or allergic diseases. The kids whose moms ate fish one or more times a week were less likely to have eczema than children of mothers who never ate fish.

Dr. Sears’ top 3 fish picks:

  1. Wild Alaskan salmon: “This is my top pick because it has the most nutrients, with the least amount of pollutants, that are best for allergies,” he says.
  2. Alaskan tuna: Dr. Sears recommends Alaskan seafood because it is well policed and regulated. (Tuna is high in mercury, however, which means that certain at-risk groups, like pregnant women and children should limit consumption.)
  3. Anchovies and sardines

If you’re not a fish fan, you can try omega-3 and algae supplements or fish oil to boost your allergy defenses.


Red Grapes

The skin of red grapes is high in antioxidants and resveratrol — an anti-inflammatory compound. Eating foods high in antioxidants can reduce inflammation in your entire body. According to Tringale, antioxidants protect cells from the oxidative damage that causes diseases, and they have immune-boosting compounds. Other foods high in antioxidants include berries, legumes and potatoes. “Vegetarians are in good luck,” says Tringale.

WebMD reports that grapes contain flavonoids that can also lower the bad cholesterol levels and relax blood vessels. Grape leaves are also known to reduce inflammation and draw tissues together. When choosing grapes, go for the red variety — they have more antioxidants than white or blush grapes.


Tomatoes

“Fruity vegetables” like tomatoes are high in vitamin C and a good choice for the sneezing season. Studies show tomatoes can build your tolerance against asthma and respiratory issues. Vitamin C is an immune system booster and natural antihistamine, which suppresses swelling.

The antioxidant compound lycopene in tomatoes is also good for the body. A study from the University of Tel Aviv found that men who added 30 milligrams of lycopene to their daily diets improved their bodies’ ability to fight off asthma attacks by 45%. You can get lycopene not only from whole tomatoes, but also from tomato sauce and extract. “The added protection may come from lycopene’s antioxidative properties within the body,” study author Dr. A. Ben-Amotz, told ABC News.

Other “fruity vegetables,” aside from tomatoes, are also key: in a seven-year Spanish study, children who consumed more than 40 grams of fruity veggies a day — including eggplants, cucumber, green beans and zucchini — were much less likely to suffer from childhood asthma than those who ate less.

source: Time.com