What if you could ease your stress, nausea, joint pain, and headaches just by changing what you eat? Your kitchen might be a better place than the pharmacy to find fixes for your ailments. Before you turn to over-the-counter or prescription medicine, try these natural food cures. 

ARTHRITIS/JOINT PAIN

Anti-inflammatories and vitamin C are the key to preventing, slowing, and relieving your arthritis and joint pain. Ginger and red bell pepper help reduce inflammation, while the vitamin C in berries, cantaloupe, and broccoli slows down wear and tear on joints.

COLD/FLU

We all know that vitamins strengthen the immune system and fight colds. The vitamin D in salmon produces bacteria and virus-destroying proteins, and sunflower seeds boost T-cell activity with vitamin E. Other foods that can ward off cold and flu symptoms are white button mushrooms (they contain polysaccharides that activate virus-killing cells) and yogurt, which increases levels of gamma interferon to fight infections.

DIABETES

Foods that contain healthy fats and proteins like beans, egg whites, and nuts will slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, which can stabilize blood sugar levels and keep your weight in check.

HEADACHE

When you get a headache, it’s likely that the culprit a hormone called prostaglandin, which can cause inflammation and pain. Omega-3’s found in fish like snapper and flaxseed lower the production of prostaglandin. Magnesium and riboflavin, found in black beans, quinoa, and spinach, also relieve headaches by relaxing your blood vessels. If you suffer from cluster headaches, the capsaicin in cayenne pepper can be helpful as well.

HEART DISEASE

Fiber carries out cholesterol compounds, so getting enough in your daily diet through foods like oatmeal, pinto beans, and sweet potatoes is a great way to improve your heart health. The potassium in sweet potatoes can also offset the negative effects that sodium has on blood pressure. In addition to reducing inflammation, omega-3’s lower triglyceride levels and raise good cholesterol levels, so make sure to eat plenty of salmon, too.

NAUSEA/STOMACH PAIN

Cramping is caused by irritated or inflamed muscles in the stomach and intestines. Fennel, ginger, and peppermint will help to alleviate irritation. Fiber in raspberries and probiotics in yogurt also ease symptoms and regulate stomach/intestinal function. 

PMS

Low-fat dairy like skim milk and reduced-fat cheese contain calcium, which can help lessen the cramps and mood swings associated with that time of the month. Manganese (found in pineapple) and magnesium (in almonds) also work to improve your mood and reduce water retention and bloating.

STRESS

Hormones like cortisol tend to cause stress, so reducing or inhibiting them is good way to cut down the chaos. Turmeric in curry, omega-3’s in shrimp and vitamin C in red bell peppers limit cortisol production and secretion. Pistachios can relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure, while low-fat carbohydrate sources like popcorn and whole wheat pretzels increase serotonin levels to make you feel more relaxed.

Do you have any food cures that have helped you? Share them here!

Sources:
Fitness Magazine
Mother Nature Network
Shine on Yahoo!
Prevention

Image courtesy of nutrilover on Flickr (CC BY 3.0)

 

 

 

 

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