Pain Busters Hidden in the Fridge

Daily Mail (London), September 29, 1998 | Go to article overview

Pain Busters Hidden in the Fridge


Byline: ANGELA DOWDEN

RATHER than pop painkillers or put on a brave face, you could ease or even eliminate a lot of pain simply by changing the way you eat. In his soon-to-be-published book, Foods That Fight Pain, Dr Neal Barnard explains that nutrients work to kill pain in four ways. They can reduce damage at the site of injury, cool the body's inflammatory response, provide an inhibitory effect on the pain nerves themselves, and even work within the brain to reduce pain sensitivity. Here we look at some of the most common sources of pain and explain how changing your diet can help...

BACK PAIN

IT is thought that when discs and vertebrae are starved of oxygen and nutrients, they begin to degenerate, causing waste to build up in the area, irritating nerves and causing back pain.

The solution, says Barnard, is to use diet to open up the arteries, so that nutrients and oxygen can once again nourish the affected discs and vertebrae.

He recommends that meals are based on grains, legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils), vegetables and fruit.

All animal products - including meat, fish, eggs and dairy products - should be avoided and the intake of vegetable oils kept to a minimum.

Barnard also recommends ensuring complete nutrition by taking a 5mcg supplement of vitamin B12 every day.

MUSCLE PAIN

MAGNESIUM is a mineral involved in muscle relaxation.

Barnard suggests that to ease muscle pain you should take 300mg of magnesium a day and increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods such as wholegrains, beans and pulses.

The same triggers that exacerbate migraine - see below - can also worsen muscle pain, so try eliminating these foods from your diet for eight weeks.

Boosting levels of the chemical sero-tonin by eating carbohydrate, breads, pasta, potatoes or fruit can also help relieve the pain.

JOINT PAIN

TO help pinpoint how food may help or hinder joint pain, Barnard recommends that for four weeks you eat only 'pain-safe' foods.

These include brown rice, cooked or dried fruits (but not citrus fruits), cooked green, yellow and orange vegetables, and plain or carbonated water (but no other beverages). Avoid dairy products, corn, meat and poultry, wheat, oats, rye, eggs, citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts and coffee.

The next step is to find out which of the trigger foods has been causing the problem by reintroducing 'pain-inducing' foods at a rate of one every two days. …

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