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Kymythy’s kitchen nutrition: Natural anti-inflammatories

Dear Kymythy,

Are there any foods that may help with muscle stiffness, aches, and pains?

Kymythy answers: There are many delicious foods that contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds. But first, let’s make sure you’re not consuming foods that are actually increasing your discomfort.  

Sugar really disrupts your body chemistry in many negative ways and can make your body and mind feel tired and achy. People often crave sugar, which comes in many forms, when their body feels sluggish and they want a boost of energy. Unfortunately, while the immediate rise in blood sugar may give you a short-lived burst, the drop in blood sugar that soon follows will make you feel worse than before. Caffeine works in a similar manner; quick boost, then long fall. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the mornings you wake up with especially stiff achy muscles followed an evening before that contained a sugary dessert, alcohol (another form of sugar), or coffee.  

If you need a snack after dinner, before bed, or anytime, try eating some good protein instead. A handful of raw nuts or seeds will provide you with nutrients that help steady your blood sugar and provide the amino acids that muscles need to be in good health. Make sure the nuts or seeds are fresh and raw. When they’re roasted or toasted, they become rancid and detrimental to health.  

You definitely want to increase your consumption of foods rich in antioxidants as these repair cell damage and help make you feel better all over. Raw veggies are loaded with antioxidants, so include them with every meal. Other foods with powerful anti-inflammatory action include ginger, bromelain, and the omega-3 fats in fish.  

Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Try grating some into juice, tea or your favorite recipes. Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory found in fresh pineapple and the stem is especially rich in it. As for omega-3 fats found in fish, this is one of the few times I will recommend that you take them in supplement form. Unfortunately, fish is so contaminated with toxins these days, that it’s best not to eat it too often. But, because the omega-3 essential fatty acids are so beneficial to your body in numerous ways, I do recommend that you take good quality fish body oil daily. It’s anti-inflammatory and lubricating to joints and muscles, among other benefits. You might try making a great beverage with fresh pineapple and ginger. Add a spoon of fish oil (there are great tasting ones out there) and you’ve got a super smoothie to keep you moving smoothly! 

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