Eat Away the Pain

No, this post is not about emotional eating – it is about foods that have anti-inflamatory powers! I do not take many medications, but there is Ibuprofen in our medicine cabinets, along with Vitamin D, and multivitamins (which I don’t take anymore). I eat a varied, healthy diet, so I shouldn’t need much supplementation. I do like taking Vitamin D because it is good for so many things and is very hard to get too much of and is also hard to find in foods. Plus, something like 80% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. I steer clear of multivitamins now because I don’t want to get too much of certain vitamins because some are can be toxic (too much of a good thing is bad, too). I keep them on hand in case I am feeling off, or know I will be traveling and not eating my usual balanced diet.

While I don’t have an issue taking Ibuprofen every once in awhile, I was intrigued by the thought of foods that contain compounds that reduce inflammation, similar to ibuprofen. Especially now that my mileage on the bike is increasing, adding more of these foods to my diet may help with muscle recovery and reduced muscle soreness. And I will take all the help I can get.

SOYBEANS AND TOFU
The research: Research published in The Nutrition Journal found that both soy and whey proteins build lean muscle mass, but soy protein also prevents exercise-induced inflammation.
My take: I don’t eat/drink a lot of soy or tofu. I have thought about adding tofu to my diet as a meat-substitute, but haven’t bit the bullet yet. I may try chocolate soy milk as a recovery drink instead of chocolate cow’s milk, though. And should stock up on frozen edemame

BLACK OR GREEN TEA
The research: Sports scientists at Rutgers University found that a nine-day supplement of black-tea extract decreased delayed-onset muscle soreness after cycling intervals. “The black-tea extract reduces the oxidative stress of the exercises and speeds recovery between intervals,” says assistant professor Shawn Arent, PhD.
My take: I have a cup of green tea every once in awhile, but really should add it to my daily afternoon snack. Easy enough!

CHERRIES
The research: Cherries have the highest levels of the antioxidants anthocyanins 1 and 2 (compared to any other fruit) which have been shown to relieve the pain associated with inflammation. “Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules in tart cherries suppress and treat the micro-tears in muscles,” says Declan Connolly, PhD. These molecules are also found in blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.
My take: I love cherries and think I will buy frozen cherries to add to green monsters. Yum!

SALMON AND TUNA
The research: The omega-3 fatty acids generally increase blood flow,” says Jay Udani, MD, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “This may help wash out inflammatory cells in damaged muscles” that cause pain and swelling.
My take: We usually have canned tuna around, so I need to eat more of it. And I want to eat more fish in general. I love fish and it is so good for you.

I am all for natural ways to heal my body, so I look forward to giving some of these a shot and making a mental note of what works and what doesn’t.

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