Days 14 and 15: Find the natural cure

I want to first begin this post with this disclaimer: I am in NO WAY advocating that pharmaceuticals are bad and should not be used. Nor am I preaching some voo-doo herbal medicinal practices either. I’m simply just voicing my opinion as it relates to my health.

With that being said, I am going to explain my somewhat dependent relationship with certain head-ache and pain relievers. I’m by no means an obsessive pill popper but I hit the bottle more times that I think is necessary. With every sign of pain or bump and bruise, I’m after the Advil faster than you can say “pill.” I don’t have much of a pain tolerance [I’m a certified WIMP] and get kind of whiney when I’m in the slightest bit of pain. So for my comfort [and the sanity of those around me] I keep myself well stocked on all things Advil, Ibuprofen, Tylenol and Exedrin. 

Although I’m no where near a crazed drug addict or OC pill popper, as an inspiring nutritionist and certified health nut, I would like to find a natural cure  [if they exist] for the common things that pain me. Natural beats processed any day!

So I did a lot of research on the matter and was excited with how many natural cures I found for the common pains in my life. I also want to credit SELF’s April issue [see page 121] for their detailed article on a similar topic.

Headaches:

I know, pumpkin seeds and trout don’t really go well together, but these two foods are a god send when it comes to migraine and headache relief.

According to SELF magazine, pumpkin seeds are full of magnesium, which helps relax blood vessels. About 50% of people who suffer daily headaches are magnesium-deficient. So grab some of these toasty snacks for less head pain. And no, it doesn’t have to be Halloween to buy pumpkins, stock up on these fruits for added nutritional benefits all year around.

Trout [or any fatty fish], which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, help to lower our body’s production of prostaglandins, which alleviate blood pressure and increase swelling. A higher count of prostaglandins induce migraines and severe head aches. So head to stream and catch some fatty fish for a natural headache cure!

Cramps

 

Even though all I want when I’m crampy and cranky is a tub of ice cream and pizza, nibbling on some string cheese or edamame will do more to alleviate menstrual cramps than the junk food you normally elevate to. Calcium levels are known to drop before you have your period so drinking milk or eating dairy will keep them in tact.

Edamame, which is a whole source of soy, helps reduce many PMS symptoms, including cramps. According to SELF, the phytoestrogens, aka dietary estrogens found in soy, work with estradiol [sex hormone] to regulate and balance estrogen in our bodies. In lamen’s terms, this super bean works to keep our body balanced and our cramps at ease. [or non existant].

Muscle cramps & muscle soreness

After a super tough workout or a Charley Horse, all I want to do is lay in bed and not move until the pain has subsided. However, studies have shown that those who eat berries [especially tart ones] and sunflower seeds or almonds before they exercise or move have a significantly lower chance or experiencing muscle pain or damage.

The vitamin C found in many berries has been linked to slow wear and tear on our muscles and joints. C also plays an integral role in the creation of collagen, which makes up bones and cartilage. Tart versions of berries also reduce inflammation in muscles so grab a pint of tart cherry juice for less pain and stiffness in your joints!

Sunflower seeds and almonds also work to prevent muscle damage and strain due to their high level of Vitamin E [which is an antioxidant that works to contain free radicals as well as improve immune function and regulate metabolic processes.] This nutrient’s ability to contain the free radicals works to reduce muscle damage, inflammation, broken bones and torn tissue.

 Instead of running to the medicine cabinet when these pains start to bother you, hit your fridge for a natural cure 🙂 To be honest, after trying these out, they really did work to help reduce some of my pain. They are not nearly as effective as a drug, but they do work to prevent pain if the right amount is consumed.

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~ by therealnutritionist on March 26, 2010.

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