Top 10 Anti-inflammatory foods (natural painkillers)

Joint pain and inflammation related disorders are almost something every single one of us deal with at one point in our life, whether we realize what the culprit is or not. If we do not target the inflammation triggers and eliminate it, we will not benefit fully from any healing recovery program. First step: identify the triggers and then the second step is to include as many of the top 10 anti-inflammatory foods from below list as possible with each meal. Keep in mind, that most people need not eliminate every possible trigger noted down here - everyone is different and has a different tolerance threshold.

Common Triggers:

  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Sugar
  • GMO
  • Wheat + Corn
  • Grain fed beef and farm raised fish
  • Nightshades (eggplant, tomato, potatoes, peppers, and tobacco – smokers often suffer joint pain as a side effect to the habit)
  • Coffee
  • Legumes (especially peanuts contain lectin compounds that trigger inflammation) 
  • Dairy (mucus forming, especially store-bought which is pasteurized)

Natural Pain Reducers:

  1. Omega 3 Fats – These can be found naturally in many forms of food including grass fed beef and cold water fish.
  2. Pineapple – Pineapple contains a host of very powerful anti-inflammatory enzymes that help the body heal.  When choosing this food make sure you buy it fresh.  The natural enzymes are not present in canned pineapple. 
  3. Berries – Contain powerful phytonutrient antioxidants that help the body control inflammation and enhance the immune systems ability to aid in healing.  Make sure you are buying organic to avoid chemical residues and pesticides.
  4. Green Tea – Green tea helps the body to detoxify toxic compounds.  This process helps your cells protect the DNA from free radical damage.  Drink 2-3 glasses of tea daily to achieve a therapeutic effect.
  5. Beef –  You must understand that not all beef is created equally.  Cows on feed lots typically eat chemically laden corn.  How can you expect to get healthy when eating such an unhealthy animal.  Look for Grass Fed Beef.  Grass fed beef is rich in CLA, a powerful fat that helps the body metabolize fat and lose weight.
  6. Turmeric – is a natural spice commonly used in Eastern cuisine.  It contains a very powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. The anti-inflammatory and pain reducing effects of curcumin have been well studied making this natural compound one of natures strongest aids for pain.
  7. Garlic – This powerful allium vegetable provides strong anti-inflammatory compounds.  Garlic has been wildly researched to help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer, and improve lymphatic flow.  
  8. Ginger – Ginger is a root that has traditionally been used to help relieve nausea, indigestion, and heart irregularities.  It has is a powerful anti-inflammatory food.  It works by blocking the enzyme cyclo oxygenase (COX).  This is the same mechanism of action as commonly prescribed pain medications use.
  9. Water – Lack of water contributes to chronic muscle spasm, and increased blood viscosity.  Both contribute to poor healing and inflammation.  As a general rule of thumb, drink enough water so that you are having to urinate 3-4 times per day.
  10. Foods or Supplements Rich in Vitamin C –vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory.  It is lost when we are under long term stress and consuming large quantities of caffeine.
Reference: Reumatizam. 2013;60(1):32-6.