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PAIN AND INFLAMMATION


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Pain and inflammation is the body's natural response to make a person aware there is an adverse condition developing that needs immediate attention and should not be ignored. Dulling pain by the use of pain medications without resolving the underlying root cause can lead to more serious damage.

Consuming a balanced highly nutritious diet of natural foods and getting proper restorative sleep can help the body to eliminate many causes of pain. Ice packs can relieve inflammation and warm baths can improve circulation and help with bone and joint pains. Cleansing the body of toxins can also help to relieve many types of pain. See the Cleanse and Detoxify page. See also Insomnia.

Many natural foods, herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to alleviate the pain. See anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving remedies below.

PAIN AND INFLAMMATION CAUSING FOODS

There are many seemingly healthy foods that can cause an inflammatory response in some people. This could be due to allergies, genetics,  a sedentary lifestyle or over indulgence of high glycoalkaloid or lectin containing foods and certain other foods that can trigger inflammation.

  • Alcohol can cause joint pain and inflammation and attacks the nerve endings in the body. Beer is high in purine that the body converts to uric acid, which can cause inflammation. Also, beer is made with gluten, so it is best to avoid it when suffering from joint pain.

  • Aspartame, a nutrient free artificial sweetener triggers an inflammatory response. Check labels of all foods as it can be added to any type of processed foods and drinks and even savoury products.

  • Corn oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids which are pro-inflammatory whereas omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are anti-inflammatory. Take extra fish oil to alleviate joint pain as it also contains vitamin D which is helpful to joint pain.

  • Eggs, especially the yolks, contain arachidonic acid that leads to the production of prostaglandins which trigger inflammation in the body. They also contain saturated fats.

  • Dairy: Saturated fats in full-fat dairy products like milk, butter and cheese can trigger adipose or fat-tissue inflammation, which in turn increases pain. The high level of protein casein in dairy products also triggers inflammation and pain.

  • Meat: Processed meat and red meat contain nitrites, purines and saturated fats that can increase inflammation and pain in the body. Red meat-derived glycan promotes the development of systemic inflammation and cancer progression. Avoid bacon, ham and sausages especially salami etc. Avoid duck, goose, lamb and pork as they are high in saturated fats. Consume more oily fish instead to benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory.

  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavour-enhancing food additive with preservative properties most commonly found in packaged foods like potato chips, frozen snacks, frozen dinners, canned and frozen Chinese foods, salad dressings and soups. MSG can trigger inflammation and pain in the body, including the joints. Avoid premade and processed foods as much as possible.

  • Refined grains: Refined grains and flour are high-glycaemic index foods that trigger the production of advanced glycation end-products that stimulate inflammation. Choose whole grains and brown rice and avoid wheat which contains gluten that can also cause pain and inflammation. Amaranth, quinoa, oat, coconut and rice flours are excellent alternatives.

  • Salt: Refined salt contains additives and chemicals such as ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate to make it free-flowing and this can affect fluid levels in the body. It is also void of the minerals that existed in the salt before it was processed. Minerals are stripped out of table salt to achieve high profits in industries that require these minerals. Unrefined seal salt and Himalayan pink salt crystals have these minerals required to avoid inflammation and pain.

  • Sugar: High amounts of sugar increase the level of AGEs in the body that cause inflammation. In addition, sugar triggers the release of inflammatory agents called cytokines in the body.

  • Whey protein products can promote inflammation and joint pain due to the gluten and casein found in them.

Components that cause allergies in some people leading to pain and inflammation

It is wise to try an elimination diet of the potential food allergens listed below to see if there is any improvement in pain and inflammation. This can be a long process as it can take just a few days or, in some cases, up to three months to see any improvement. See more on the Allergies page.

 

Glycoalkaloids

Aubergine, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes belong to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family that contain inflammation inducing alkaloids and, although not truly nightshades, ashwaganda, blueberries, goji berries and huckleberries also share the same alkaloids. The Solanaceae  family contains cholinesterase inhibiting glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids including, among others, capsaicin in peppers, nicotine in tobacco, solanine in aubergines and potatoes and tomatine in tomatoes. The glycoalkaloids in potatoes are known to contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and negatively affect intestinal permeability.

Many  who  suffer with arthritis or an arthritis related disease such as fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatism and other musculoskeletal pain disorders, have found that consuming foods that contain glycoalkaloids adversely affects their health.

These symptoms may dissipate in a few hours or days if ingestion is stopped, based on the sensitivity of the individual, the amount of nightshades consumed on a regular basis and their level of inflammation. However for some heavy consumers of nightshades the process of inflammation and pain reduction can take up to three months. Therefore it is a good idea to try eliminating all nightshades from the diet for three months to see if symptoms improve.

Some homeopathic remedies, prescriptions, over the counter medications as well as numerous processed foods contain nightshades so administration of these must be discussed with the health care provider so that they too can be eliminated.

Lectins

Lectins are a type of glycoprotein found in many plant foods. Seeds of the grasses such as rice, rye, spelt and wheat have exceptionally high levels of this defensive glycoprotein. It is used as a defence against the bacteria, fungi and insects which use N-Acetylglucosamine to build their cells walls. All animals, including birds, fish, humans and even worms, use N-Acetyglucosamine as a foundational substance for building the various tissues in their bodies, including cartilage, joints, bones and tendons.

The mucous known as the glycocalyx, or literally "sugar coat" is secreted in humans by the epithelial cells which line all the mucous membranes, from the layer of skin over the eyes and in the nasal cavities to the top to the bottom of the alimentary tube, as well as the protective and slippery lining of blood vessels. The glycocalyx is composed largely of N-Acetylglucosamine and N-Acetylneuraminic acid (also known as sialic acid) and lectins unique binding to these exact two glycoproteins is not accidental. Nature has designed lectin perfectly to attach to, disrupt and gain entry through these mucosal surfaces as a defence.

Viruses and lectins have many similarities. Both viral particles and lectin are very much smaller than the cells they enter and are taken into the cell through a process of endocytosis and both viruses and lectin gain entry through the sialic acid coatings of the mucous membranes (glycocalyx).

Because lectins are extremely small and resistant to decomposition by living systems they tend to accumulate and incorporate into tissues where they interfere with normal biological processes. It takes only 500 micrograms (about half a grain of sand) of ricin (a lectin extracted from castor bean casings) to kill a human. A single, one ounce slice of wheat bread contains approximately 500 micrograms of lectin but will usually only attack the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract after constant accumulation in the diet.

However, the disruptive and damaging effects of whole wheat bread consumption are formidable in someone whose protective mucosal barrier has been compromised by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use, or a recent bacterial infection or a viral infection such as herpes. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, increase intestinal permeability (as do the glycoalkaloids found in plants from the nightshade family) and may cause absorption of even larger-than-normal quantities of pro-inflammatory lectins.

Lectins can also cross the blood brain barrier and attach to the protective coating on the nerves, known as the myelin sheath, and is capable of inhibiting nerve growth factor, leading to neurodegenerative conditions.

Lectin has also been shown to have an insulin-mimetic action, potentially contributing to weight gain and insulin resistance. It can also cause leptin resistance by blocking the receptor in the hypothalamus for the appetite satiating hormone leptin. It also interferes with the production of secretin from the pancreas and lead to digestive and pancreatic disorders.

Lectin can also attach to sperm and ovary cells, indicating it may adversely influence fertility.

Lectin staining is used medically to investigate corneal dystrophies as there are lectin binding sites within the eyes. It may therefore be that an excess of lectin in the diet could be a contributory factor in some eye disorders.

Whole wheat, sprouted grains and wheat germ enriched products, all have considerably higher levels of lectins than their processed, refined and non-germinated equivalents and may be ironically contributing to making people significantly less healthy. This may be why the Paleo diet, which eliminates grains entirely from the diet, may be effective in improving the health and reducing pain and inflammation in some individuals.

Food sources of lectins include most fruits, grains, legumes, herbs, nuts, seeds, spices and vegetables and grain-fed animals. Some types of lectins are destroyed during processing and digestion however others are not and can cause the pain and inflammation and health problems mentioned above. The most common potentially 'toxic' lectin containing food groups are:tomatoes

  • Grains: (Especially wheat and wheat germ but also barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye and spelt).

  • Legumes: (all dried beans, including navy beans, soya beans and peanuts).

  • Dairy: (when cows are fed grains instead of grass).

  • Nightshades: (aubergines, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes).

NOTE: Dairy products may be potentially more harmful when pasteurised and processed because of the reduction of SIgA, an immunoglobulin that binds to and eliminates dangerous lectins.

To find out which of the lectin-containing food groups may be responsible for the disorders mentioned above try eliminating them from the diet for at least a month, one at a time, to see if pain and inflammation is reduced and any of the above disorders improve. Rarely does a person have to eliminate more than one or two of the lectin food groups on a long-term basis.

See more about Food Allergies and how they can be responsible for inflammation and pain anywhere in the body.


BONE AND JOINT PAIN

Often, pain in the joints and bones is through previous trauma or over use but it can also be because of deficiencies of minerals and phytochemicals in the diet. Certain medications such as 'statins' can cause debilitating pains in the bones and joints.

When bone and joint pain occurs, rest and a diet rich in the full range of phytonutrients, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids is essential. Gentle stretching exercises, warm baths and cold ice packs can alleviate inflammation. Taking pain killers and continuing to be active will only worsen the problem. Nutrient deficiencies especially vitamin D and calcium can cause bone density to be reduced. See the Bones page for natural remedies to heal bone and joint ailments.

Low back pain could be a tight or shortened psoas. (pronounced: So-as). The psoas is a hip flexor located deep in the abdomen attaching the femur to the pelvis and lumbar spine. The lumbosacral nerve plexus runs through it. Prolonged sitting and lack of exercise can shorten the psoas. When an individual stands after sitting for a while, the shortened psoas pulls the lumbar spine forward into increased lordosis (sway back). A stiff, achy or painful low back and sciatic pain is often a result. Light stretching exercises can help to eliminate this pain and avoiding sitting for too long can prevent it.

Boswellia (Boswellia serrata, Indian frankincense) is a tree with fragrant resin that has powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties that can rapidly alleviate pain especially that caused by osteoarthritis. In the case of people affected by arthritis, Boswellia is able to improve pain, mobility, and joint flexion after eight weeks of treatment.

See more pain-relieving remedies below.

See also Bone and Joint Disorders


BURSITIS

This is the inflammation of one or more bursae (small sacs) of synovial fluid in the body. The bursae rest at the points where internal functionaries, such as muscles and tendons, slide across bone. Healthy bursae create a smooth, almost frictionless functional gliding surface making normal movement painless. When bursitis occurs, however, movement relying upon the inflamed bursa becomes difficult and painful. Movement of tendons and muscles over the inflamed bursa aggravates its inflammation, perpetuating the problem and muscles can become stiffened.

The common stinging nettle is a good remedy to prevent and relieve the symptoms of bursitis.

See more pain-relieving remedies below.


CRAMPS

Muscle cramps can be caused by vitamin deficiency, especially vitamin E, drugs, intense exercise,  lactic acid, dehydration or low levels of calcium, potassium or magnesium. These involuntary muscle spasms can also be caused by incorrect signals from the brain known as dystonia. It is a case of elimination to find the cause of repetitive cramps.

 

A common side effect of many prescription drugs is to cause cramping and, for example, diuretics that are taken for high blood pressure or heart disorders can cause an imbalance of potassium and magnesium levels.

Medications which deplete or block absorption of vitamin A, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) or zinc can lead to diminished levels of a vital amino acid called taurine in the body and this can lead to muscle cramps.

Check that medications are not the cause of muscle cramps by asking the doctor for an alternative and see if the cramps go away. See also Medications

CAUSES OF CRAMP IN THE FEET OR LEGS

  • Failure to stretch foot muscles daily.

  • Flat feet.

  • Foot problems such as sore feet.

  • Improper footwear.

CAUSES OF CRAMP IN ALL PARTS OF THE BODY INCLUDING THE FEET AND LEGS

Cramps that happen during the night have not been explained by scientists but dehydration or an imbalance of the electrolytes calcium, magnesium and potassium are a common cause. See below for natural foods containing these important minerals.

 

DRUGS THAT CAN CAUSE CRAMPS

 

A common side effect of many prescription drugs is to cause cramps. For example, diuretics that are taken for high blood pressure or heart disorders can cause an imbalance of potassium and magnesium levels which can lead to cramps. Cholesterol is required for the body to make vitamin D and vitamin D is required for proper calcium absorption and thyroid function, therefore drugs which lower the bodys level of cholesterol can interfere with levels of vitamin D and calcium which can lead to muscle pain and cramps. Check that medications are not the cause of muscle cramps by asking the doctor for an alternative and see if the cramps go away or try natural remedies which will not cause this nutrient imbalance. Some examples of drugs that can cause cramps are:

  • Albuterol, Proventil and Ventolin (all used to treat asthma)

  • Donepezil (used for Alzheimers disease)

  • Furosemide (a diuretic)

  • Lovastatin (used to lower cholesterol)

  • Neostigmine (used for myasthenia gravis)

  • Raloxifene (used to prevent osteoporosis)

  • Tolcapone (used for Parkinsons disease)

WHEN TO SEEK EMERGENCY MEDICAL ATTENTION

 

In most cases there is no need for concern, however, if any of the following also applies a professional health practitioner should be seen as soon as possible:

  • blood in the stools or urine.

  • fever and sweats.

  • inability to eat or feeling full very quickly.

  • inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas.

  • inability to pass urine.

  • pain and/or vaginal bleeding if pregnant.

  • pain in the scrotum if male.

  • pain and vomiting and shortness of breath.

  • pain and vomiting blood.

  • pain that spreads to the chest, jaw, left arm, neck or shoulder.

  • pale skin and clamminess.

  • pain lasting for more than an hour.

  • persistent bloating.

  • severe pain.

When any of the above applies it could be a sign of appendicitis, bacterial or viral infection, heart problems, intestinal blockage, kidney malfunction, miscarriage or possibly even cancer so it should be taken seriously and not ignored. Cramps that are recurrent and localised to one muscle group may suggest nerve root disease.

 

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory condition that causes muscular aches, cramps, pain and stiffness. Any muscles can be affected, but it mainly affects the shoulder and thigh. It can start at any age from 50 onwards but mainly affects people over the age of 60. Women are affected more  often than men and it affects about one in 2,000 people. Relief from this condition can be gained by making sure that the adrenal glands are making sufficient steroid hormones.

 

The first step is to cut out sugar, caffeine (found in coffee, tea and cola) and nicotine to reduce the stress being placed upon the adrenals. The next step is to boost the level of steroid hormone production. Pantethine, which is manufactured in the body from vitamin B5, plus vitamin B6 is essential for the proper functioning of the adrenal glands and for the production of natural steroids, called glucocorticoids. See below for natural foods that contain these nutrients. Many of the Nature Cures for cramps below also relieve pain and inflammation and can be of great benefit when suffering from polymyalgia rheumatic.aloe vera

NATURE CURES FOR CRAMPS

  • Abuta is an Amazonian herb which is used as an analgesic to relieve tooth pain, rheumatism and menstrual cramps.

  • Algae such as chlorella, dulse, Irish moss and spirulina are rich in minerals often missing in the diet which can lead to muscle cramps.

  • Aloe vera juice or gel can help with cramps taken internally or rubbed onto the affected area.

  • Apple cider vinegar can prevent and provide relief from leg cramps due to its potassium content. It can also  stop stomach cramps caused by diarrhoea or intestinal disorders. A table spoon per day is recommended and the easiest way to drink it is in a glass of apple juice or on salad, egg or fish dishes. Alternatively, add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of honey to a glass of warm water and drink for immediate relief from cramps.

  • Bicarbonate of soda: A quarter of a teaspoon of pure mined bicarbonate of soda, which has not been tainted with chemicals during the production process, taken in a glass of  filtered or bottled mineral water or milk can help to address the pH balance of the body. This can help to stop cramps in all parts of the body.

  • Camphor is antispasmodic and gives immediate relief from spasms and cramps when applied topically as a compress.

  • Garlic and ginger, consumed daily, can help improve circulation which can prevent cramps occurring.

  • Herbs and spices: allspice, aloe vera, basil, black pepper, black seed, borage, burdock root, cayenne chilli pepper, chamomile, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, dandelion, devil's claw, dong quai, false unicorn, fennel, feverfew, frankincense, ginger, holy basil, hops, lavender oil, linden, maqui berries, motherwort, mustard seeds, noni, nutmeg, oat straw, paprika, peppermint oil, periwinkle, rosemary, senega root, turmeric and wood betony all have relaxant and pain relieving properties and can be taken as teas or in meals or added to a warm bath. These herbs and spices will also help to fight off bacterial and viral infections which can also be the cause of cramps.

  • Nuts and seeds: Add a handful of nuts such as almonds and walnuts and seeds such as flax, hemp, sesame and sunflower to the daily diet to provide the nutrients necessary to prevent and resolve cramp in any part of the body.

  • Oat straw relieves cramps.

  • Papaya and pineapple: Foods containing proteolytic enzymes such as bromelain (pineapple) and papain (papaya) can help heal minor injuries and surgical wounds because they are anti-inflammatory and capable of being absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Cramp often occurs in stomach muscles after surgery.

  • Pineapple juice and coconut water can rehydrate the body which can be a cause of cramps and dehydration can often be caused by diuretic medications or sweating profusely after intense exercise or during fevers.

  • Prickly pear is the only plant to contain 24 of the known betalains, which are potent anti-inflammatory agents. Betalains are polyphenol pigments also found in beetroot. Betalains give prickly pears their purple, red and yellow colours.

  • Psyllium husks: Take one teaspoon of this fibre rich food with a large tumbler of filtered of bottled mineral water or juice every day. This will help relieve stomach cramps and also improve colon health and help with the absorption and digestion of nutrients necessary to relieve all types of cramps.

  • Quince is said to have properties that can relieve cramps in the abdomen and legs.

  • Radishes, rocket and mustard and all other peppery tasting leaves and vegetables have powerful antibacterial and relaxant properties which can resolve some types of cramps.

  • Red krill oil and extra strength cod liver oil capsules, taken daily for one month, can provide omega-3 fatty acids which are nutrients required for all molecular processes.

  • Sea salt: Muscle cramps, especially in the feet or legs, can often be relieved by swallowing a teaspoon of pure unrefined sea salt in a glass of warm water.

  • Sour cherries: Menstrual cramps are very common and can be very uncomfortable. Relief can be gained from consuming sour cherries or a quarter of a teaspoon of both nutmeg and unrefined sea salt in a large glass of bottled mineral water.

  • Tea tree oil: Soaking in a tea tree oil and sea salt warm bath stimulates the blood flow and relaxes the spasms which cause painful cramps. Adding powdered kelp seaweed or any of the herbs or spices from the list above, when running the hot water into the bath, can provide extra relief.

  • Watercress is rich in minerals and vitamins which can help address any nutritional imbalances.

  • Wine corks: There is one strange remedy, for night leg and feet cramps, which appears to work for many who had tried it and was recommended by a qualified doctor from Devon. Take the corks from red wine bottles (the actual cork ones not the new rubber type) and either grip one in each hand when going to sleep or place some in a stocking or muslin bag and leave them at the bottom of the bed overnight so that they are next to the feet. It has not been studied how this works but worth trying if suffering from painful night time cramps.

THE IMPORTANCE OF MINERALS IN THE DIET

 

Only traces of many minerals are required by the body but, due to modern day intense farming techniques and food processing and refining practises, much of the mineral content is lost. Minerals are something many people do not consider as essential as protein or vitamins but they are absolutely vital for many cellular processes. Although the body can store minerals, it cannot manufacture them so consuming a wide range of different coloured natural foods can help replenish stores that may be lost. This is as important for those that are unwell or taking medications as it is for those that do strenuous exercise or sports.

 

Minerals are lost through diarrhoea, perspiration and many drugs (including alcohol) block the absorption and manufacture of the phytonutrients which help absorption of minerals or cause the body to lose minerals in the urine and this can lead to cramps, pain and inflammation. Alcohol, for instance, causes the body to expel zinc in the urine, See below for natural foods rich in zinc which can replace that which is lost.

 

It is important to have a full blood count test done by the health practitioner to check for any nutrient deficiencies if suffering from repetitive cramps.

 

NOTE: Taking supplements of vitamin C or vitamin E can cause an imbalance in minerals. It is always healthier to consume natural foods rich in the required nutrients instead and to consume foods rich in vitamin C and E at the same time such as fruit and nuts.

NUTRIENTS THAT CAN HELP TO CURE AND PREVENT CRAMPS

Actin is a cellular protein which is involved in muscular contraction, cellular movement and maintenance of cell shape and it also maintains the integrity of muscles. Natural foods rich in actin include: beef, chicken, cod, halibut, lamb, rabbit, salmon, scallops, soya beans, tuna, turkey and venison.

 

Alanine, also known as 3-aminopropionic acid, is an amino acid that combines with histidine to help form carnosine. Alanine elevates carnosine concentration in muscles and is useful in preventing cramps for individuals participating in sports which require explosive actions. Natural foods that are rich in this nutrient are: apples, apricots, beef, buckwheat, chlorella, cod, egg white, lamb, plums and prunes, quinoa, rye, millet, salmon, seaweed, sesame seeds, shellfish, soya beans, spirulina, sunflower seeds, veal, venison and whelks.

 

Arginine is used by the body to make nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes the blood vessels which can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. Arginine also combines with another amino acid, glycine, to produce creatine which is involved in muscle contraction. A deficiency of this nutrient could lead to muscle cramps and it is especially important for children. Foods rich in arginine are: almonds, amaranth, apples, apricots, beef, black seeds, buckwheat, cod, egg white, nuts, peanuts, pheasant, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, seaweed, sesame seeds, shellfish, soya beans, sunflower seeds, spirulina, tofu and walnuts.

 

Boron is a necessary mineral in order to maintain correct levels of calcium in the body. It is also involved in the metabolism of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Natural foods rich in boron include: almonds, apples (red), avocados, bananas, broccoli, carrots, chia seeds, chick peas, grapes (red), hemp seeds, honey, legumes, onions, oranges, pears, prunes, raisins, potatoes, parsnips, sumac, teff and walnuts.

 

Caesium, like potassium, enters cells and helps to maintain a balance of electrical charges between the inside and the outside of cells so that cells can perform tasks that depend on those electrical charges. Muscle and nerve cells require changing electrical charges in order to function properly and a lack of this mineral can lead to muscle cramps. Natural foods rich in caesium are: milk, mineral water, oily fish, shellfish and most fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

 

Calcium: Without adequate levels of this mineral in the diet, the contractions of the heart will become faulty, the muscles will not contract properly to make the limbs move and blood will not clot. Calcium also stimulates enzymes in the digestive process and coordinates the functions of all other minerals in the body.  Supplements are not advised as they can lead to disorders of the kidneys and bladder and kidney stones.

 

Highest sources of calcium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Dried herbs such as basil, dill, marjoram, rosemary and thyme 2113 mg

  • Cheese such as goat’s, gruyere, parmesan, Romano and Swiss 1376 mg

  • Sesame seeds 975 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 961 mg

  • Tinned fish with bones such as sardines, mackerel and pilchards 383 mg

  • Tofu 372 mg

  • Almonds 264 mg

  • Flaxseeds 255 mg

  • Chlorella 221mg

  • Mussels 180 mg

  • Oysters 170 mg

  • Brazil nuts 160 mg

  • Prawns 150 mg

  • Tripe 150 mg

  • Scallops, spirulina and watercress 120 mg

  • Whole milk and whole yoghurt 113 mg

  • Chinese cabbage 105 mg

  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as dandelion greens, kale, spinach, Swiss chard and turnip greens  99 mg

  • Okra 77 mg

  • Soya beans 75 mg

  • Boneless fish such as bass, herring, pike, perch, pollock and rainbow trout 74 mg

  • Kidney beans 70 mg

  • Eggs 60 mg

  • Broccoli 47 mg

Chromium deficiency can result in glucose intolerance (diabetes) which can caused cramps in the feet and legs. This deficiency could be caused by the soil levels of chromium which has been leached out due to modern day farming techniques and the widespread consumption of refined and processed foods which are typically low in chromium.

 

Highest sources of chromium in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Brewer's yeast 400 g

  • Mussels 128 g

  • Brazil nuts 100 g

  • Oysters 57 g

  • Dates (dried) 29 g

  • Pears 27 g

  • Shrimp 26 g

  • Wholemeal flour 21 g

  • Tomatoes 20 g

  • Mushrooms 17 g

  • Broccoli 16 g

  • Barley (wholegrain) 13 g

  • Hazelnuts 12 g

  • Maize (wholegrain) 9 g

  • Egg yolk 6 g

  • Herring 2 g

NOTE: One μg is one microgram.

 

Natural sources chromium in alphabetical order: aloe vera, barley, black pepper, Brewer's yeast (always check label), broccoli, eggs, dulse, goat's milk, green beans, green chilli peppers, legumes, lentils, lettuce (romaine), mussels, oats, onions, organ meats, oysters, potatoes, rye, spices, spirulina, sumac, tomatoes and whole grains.

 

Copper is linked in thyroid metabolism especially in hormone production and absorption. Copper, together with zinc improves the absorption of vitamin D, the vitamin which aids in the absorption of calcium and a lack of any of these nutrients could lead to cramps.

 

Copper is found in most green and dark coloured legumes and vegetables as well as red meats, seafood and whole grains such as adzuki beans, alfalfa, allspice, almonds, amaranth, apples, apricots, artichoke (globe and Jerusalem), aubergine, basil, beef, beetroot, berries, black eyed peas, black seeds, black strap molasses, bok choy, brassicas, buckwheat, cantaloupe, capers, caraway seeds, cashew nuts, chaga mushrooms, cherries, chlorella, clams, courgette, daikon, dates, dried beans, drumstick leaves, dulse, durum wheat, egg yolk, fennel, goji berries, grapes, guava, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, horseradish, kelp, kidney beans, kiwi fruit, kombu seaweed, lamb, lemons, lentils, mango, marrow, mosambi juice, melon, millet, mushrooms, nuts, oats, oily fish, organ meats, pears, peas, persimmon fruit, pistachio nuts, plums, poppy seeds, potatoes, propolis, prunes, pumpkins and their seeds, quinoa, rabbit, radishes, raisins, raspberries, rye, sage, sesame seeds and oil, shellfish, spinach, spirulina, spring onions, strawberries, sumac, Swede, tea, teff, venison, walnuts, watercress, whole grains and yams.

 

Gold is a good electrical conductor and there are many reports which state that gold increases the ability of each cell to conduct better electrical impulses which can help prevent and resolve cramps in the muscles. Colloidal gold is found in all purple coloured natural foods such as aubergine, beetroot, black grapes, grape seeds, plums and prunes.

 

Iodine is important for thyroid function and a disorder of the thyroid gland can cause cramp.

 

Highest sources of iodine in micrograms serving

  • Chlorella, dulse, spirulina algae and kelp (1 tablespoon or 5 g) 750 g

  • Himalayan crystal salt (half a gram) 450 g

  • Cranberries (4 oz or 114 g) 400 g

  • Lobster (3.53 oz or 100 g) 100 g

  • Cod (3 oz or 85 g) 99 g

  • Plain yoghurt (8 oz or 227 g) 75 g

  • Seafood, clams etc (3.53 oz or 100 g) 66 g

  • Potato (one medium size) 60 g

  • Milk (8oz or 227 g) 59 g

  • Shrimp (3 oz or 85 g) 35 g

  • Navy beans (4 oz or 114 g) 32 g

  • Turkey (3 oz or 85 g) 34 g

  • One medium sized egg 24 g

  • Cheddar cheese (1 oz or 28 g) 23 g

  • Tinned tuna (3 oz or 85 g) 17 g

  • Gouda cheese (1.42 oz or 40 g) 14 g

  • Prunes (five) 13 g

  • Strawberries (8 oz or 227 g) 13 g

  • Butter beans (4 oz or 114 g) 8 g

  • Lean beef (3 oz or 85 g) 8 g

  • Apple juice (8oz or 227 g) 7 g

  • Peas (4 oz or 114 g) 3 g

  • Green beans (4 oz or 114 g) 3 g

  • Banana (one medium) 3 g

Lithium has an effect on the potassium and sodium balance in the body and lack of this mineral can lead to cramps.

 

Highest sources of lithium in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Milk 7533 g

  • Eggs 7373 g

  • Tomatoes 6707 g

  • Mushrooms 5788 g

  • Cucumbers 5017 g

  • Pork 3844 g

  • Black Tea 3737 g

  • Red Cabbage 3579 g

  • Cauliflower 3462 g

  • Beef 3428 g

  • Swede 2966 g

  • Paprika 2316 g

  • Poultry 2379 g

  • Marjoram 2289 g

  • Soft Cheese 2276 g

  • Asparagus 2217 g

  • White Cabbage 1874 g

  • Herring 1734 g

  • Cocoa 1728 g

  • Potatoes 1592 g

  • Apples 1449 g

  • Rice 1260 g

  • Butter 1070 g

  • Cinnamon 1046 g

  • Barley 995 g

  • Wheat Flour 905 g

  • Lentils 748 g

  • Semolina 538 g

  • Honey 527 g

  • Bananas 383 g

  • Red Wine 329 g

  • White Wine 305 g

Natural sources of lithium in alphabetical order: aubergine, bell peppers, black strap molasses, chilli peppers, eggs, goji berries, hemp seeds, kelp, milk, mineral water, oily fish, organ meats, paprika, potatoes, rabbit, seaweed, shellfish, sumac, sweet potato, tomatoes and venison.

 

Magnesium is involved in releasing energy from the diet and is involved in a good functioning nervous system and muscles and therefore a lack of this mineral can lead to muscle cramps.

 

Highest sources of magnesium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Rice bran 781 mg

  • Basil, coriander, dill and sage 694 mg

  • Hemp seeds 640 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 535 mg

  • Raw cocoa 499 mg

  • Flaxseeds 392 mg

  • Brazil nuts 376 mg

  • Sesame seeds 353 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 346 mg

  • Chia seeds 335 mg

  • Chlorella 315 mg

  • Wheat germ 313 mg

  • Cashew nuts 292 mg

  • Almonds 268 mg

  • Caraway seeds 258 mg

  • Black strap molasses and dulse 242 mg

  • Buckwheat 231 mg

  • Spirulina 189 mg

  • Oats 177 mg

  • Durum wheat 144 mg

  • Macadamia nuts 130 mg

  • Adzuki beans 127 mg

  • Kelp 121 mg

  • Millet 114 mg

  • Kale 88 mg

  • Amaranth 65 mg

  • Globe artichoke 60 mg

  • Okra and nettles 57 mg

  • Chestnuts 54 mg

  • Rocket 47 mg

  • Dates 43 mg

  • Plantain 37 mg

  • Lentils 36 mg

  • Butternut squash 34 mg

  • Coconut 32 mg

  • Potatoes with skin 30 mg

  • Passion fruit 29 mg

  • Savoy cabbage, halibut 28 mg

  • Bananas, rabbit 27 mg

  • Green beans 25 mg

  • Peas 24 mg

  • Raspberries 22 mg

  • Guava 22 mg

  • Blackberries 20 mg

  • Courgettes 18 mg

  • Kiwi fruit, fennel, figs 17 mg

  • Endive 15 mg

  • Cucumber, lettuce 13 mg

NOTE: Soils where crops are grown intensely can be lacking in this important mineral so organically grown natural foods are a better choice.

 

Manganese aids in the coordination of nerve impulses and muscular actions, the metabolism of glucose and the formation of thyroxin which is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Diabetes, thyroid gland dysfunction and poor elasticity of the muscles can all be a result of a lack of manganese in the diet and all of these disorders can lead to cramps.

 

Highest sources of manganese in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Cloves 60.1 mg

  • Rice bran 14.2 mg

  • Pine nuts 8.8 mg

  • Mussels 6.8 mg

  • Hazelnuts 5.6 mg

  • Pumpkin seeds 4.5 mg

  • Whole wheat 2.1 mg

  • Cocoa beans 3.8 mg

  • Soya beans 2.2 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1.9 mg

  • Garlic 1.7 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 0.08 mg (depending upon source)

  • Egg yolks 1.1 mg

  • Black beans 1.1 mg

  • Dried peas 0.39 mg

  • Kidney beans 0.2 mg

NOTE: Manganese is concentrated in the outer covering of nuts, in the green leaves of edible plants and green vegetables such as peas and runner beans.

 

Omega-3 fatty acids help the body absorb nutrients, smooth muscle cell proliferation and can supply energy for extended periods of physical activity which can prevent muscle cramps. Natural foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include: anchovies, black seeds, borage, carp fish, chia seeds, cod liver oil, durum wheat, flaxseed, hemp seeds, kale, krill oil, leafy greens, maqui berry, melon, milk, millet, mustard greens and seeds, oats, octopus, oily fish, pepperwort, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, rapeseed, raspberries, rye, shellfish, soya, spirulina, squid, sumac, Swede and walnuts.

 

Ornithine is a non-essential amino acid which is involve with the production of the growth hormones which are needed to build and maintain muscle, especially during intense physical training and lack of this nutrient can lead to muscle cramps. Natural foods containing ornithine are: beef, cheese (non-pasteurised), eggs, organ meats, fish, plain yoghurt and venison.

 

Potassium regulates bodily fluids and prevents dehydration and is important as an alkalizing agent in keeping a proper acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues. It is also essential for muscle contraction and a lack of this mineral can lead to cramps.

 

Highest sources of potassium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Dried basil, chervil, coriander, dill, parsley 4240 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 3427 mg

  • Raw cocoa 2509 mg

  • Whey powder 2289 mg

  • Paprika and chilli powder 2280 mg

  • Yeast extract 2100 mg

  • Rice bran 1485 mg

  • Black strap molasses 1464 mg

  • Dried soya beans 1364 mg

  • Spirulina 1363 mg

  • Pistachio nuts 1007 mg

  • Squash and pumpkin seeds 919 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 850 mg

  • Prunes 732 mg

  • Almonds 705 mg

  • Dates 696 mg

  • Whelks 694 mg

  • Dried figs 680 mg

  • Clams 628 mg

  • Watermelon seeds 648 mg

  • Chestnuts 592 mg

  • Cashews 565 mg

  • Avocados 485 mg

  • Walnuts 441mg

  • Guava 417 mg

  • Brussel sprouts (juiced raw) 389 mg

  • Bananas 358 mg

  • Passion fruit 348 mg

  • Kiwi fruit 316 mg

  • Apricots 259 mg

  • Coconut water 250 mg

  • Orange juice 200 mg

Silica has a powerful influence on the absorption of minerals required by the body and hence can prevent cramps occurring. It enhances the function of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and boron. Natural foods rich in silica include: almonds, apples, asparagus, bamboo, beetroot, cherries, cucumber, grapes, honey, mineral water, onions, peanuts, radishes,  yams and the juices and green leaves of most vegetables.

 

Strontium can relieve bone pain, reduce fractures and improve mobility in persons suffering from osteoporosis, and reduce cavities in teeth. It also has a a cartilage growth promoting affect which can help arthritis sufferers.

Natural sources of strontium are: cabbage, goat's milk, lettuce, kelp, onions, mineral water, octopus, oily fish, root vegetables, seaweed and shellfish.

 

Sulphur is critical to many of the body's biological processes and without adequate sulphur glucose metabolism is inhibited and this can lead to metabolic syndrome, low energy levels, weight gain and muscle and skeletal disorders which causes inflammation and pain.

 

Highest sources of sulphur in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Scallops 520 mg

  • Lobster 510 mg

  • Crab 470 mg

  • Prawns 370 mg

  • Mussels 350 mg

  • Haddock 290 mg

  • Brazil nuts 290 mg

  • Peanuts 260 mg

  • Cod 250 mg

  • Oysters 250 mg

  • Chicken livers 250 mg

  • Cheese (parmesan) 250 mg

  • Caviar (fish roe) 240 mg

  • Peaches (dried) 240 mg

  • Cheese (cheddar or stilton) 230 mg

  • Salmon 220 mg

  • Beef 220 mg

  • Eggs 200 mg

  • Apricots (dried) 160 mg

  • Almonds 150 mg

  • Rabbit 130 mg

  • Walnuts 100 mg

  • Peppercorns 100 mg

  • Cabbage 90 mg

  • Spinach 90 mg

  • Brussel sprouts 80 mg

  • Chickpeas 80 mg

  • Figs (dried) 80 mg

  • Coconut 80 mg

  • Hazel nuts 80 mg

  • Mung beans 60 mg

  • Dates 50 mg

  • Split peas 50 mg

  • Onions 50 mg

  • Leeks 50 mg

  • Radishes 40 mg

NOTE: Many plant foods contain sulphur, but the amount of sulphur is low unless the plants are grown in sulphur-rich soil.

 

Vitamin B4 (adenine) A deficiency of adenine can lead to headaches and muscle cramps. Natural sources of adenine are: alfalfa, aloe vera, apples, avocado, bananas, blessed thistle, blue cohosh, brewer's yeast, burdock, caraway, cascara sagrada, catnip, cayenne chilli pepper, chlorella, cloves, couch grass, cress, ginger, golden seal, hawthorn, honey, hops, jojoba, kelp, ladys slipper, mullein, oranges, propolis, rose hips, royal jelly, sage, spearmint, spinach, spirulina, tangerines, thyme, tomatoes, whole grains, yucca and all green leafy vegetables and herbs.

 

Vitamin B5, (pantothenic acid) is vital for good muscle function and a lack of this vitamin can lead to burning feet syndrome and cramps.

Highest sources of vitamin B5 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Brewer’s yeast 13.5 mg

  • Chicken livers 8.32 mg

  • Rice bran 7.39 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 7.06 mg

  • Whey 5.62mg

  • Yeast extract 4.60 mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 3.59 mg

  • Fish roe 3.50 mg

  • Spirulina 3.48 mg

  • Paprika 2.51 mg

  • Wheat germ 2.26 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 2.09 mg

  • Goose 1.83 mg

  • Lobster 1.67 mg

  • Duck 1.50 mg

  • Peanuts 1.40 mg

  • Buckwheat 1.23 mg

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is vital for the balance of potassium and sodium in the body and therefore a deficiency of it in the diet can lead to cramps. It also useful for balancing hormones and can help to prevent cramps during menstruation.

Highest sources of vitamin B6 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Rice bran 4.07 mg

  • Sage 2.69 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 1.50 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1.35 mg

  • Wheat germ 1.30 mg

  • Garlic 1.24mg

  • Pistachio nuts 1.12 mg

  • Tuna fish 1.04 mg

  • Beef or calf’s liver 1.03 mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 0.97 mg

  • Salmon 0.94 mg

  • Turkey 0.81 mg

  • Venison 0.76 mg

NOTE: Wild salmon (0.94 mg) contains far more vitamin B6 than farmed salmon (0.56 mg) and fresh salmon and tuna are far richer in vitamin B6 than tinned.

Vitamin B7 (biotin or vitamin H) can help to prevent muscle pain and cramps when in adequate supply.

Highest sources of vitamin B7 in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Chicken livers 180 g

  • Egg yolk 60 g

  • Walnuts 39 g

  • Oatmeal 35 g

  • Peanuts 34 g

  • Fish 20 g

Natural sources of vitamin B7 in alphabetical order: ashitaba, almonds, avocado, Brewer's yeast, cabbage, cashew nuts, cauliflower, coffee beans (raw unprocessed), cranberries, cucumbers, egg yolk, hazelnuts, lamb, milk, mushrooms, onions, organ meats, peanuts, pecans, pistachio nuts, pork, poultry, raspberries, soybeans, strawberries, sunflower seeds, Swiss chard, tea, whole grains, walnuts and yoghurt.

 

Vitamin B8 (inositol) acts as an analgesic for pain control. Deficiency can be caused by alcohol and coffee which block absorption of inositol. Antibiotics and many other medications and recreational drugs block B vitamins and vital co-factors like inositol from being absorbed. Stress and intense exercise uses up all nutrients (especially the B-group vitamins and their co-factors) at a much faster rate.

Highest sources of vitamin B8 (200 mg plus per 100 grams)

  • Grapefruit

  • Oranges

  • Mandarin oranges

  • Cantaloupe

  • Kidney beans

  • English peas

  • Stone ground wheat

  • Swede (kohlrabi)

Highest sources of vitamin B8 (100 - 200 mg per 100 grams)

  • Green beans

  • Butter beans

  • Split peas

  • Black-eyed peas

  • Limes

  • Blackberries

  • Artichokes

  • Okra

  • Kiwi fruit

  • Nectarines

Highest sources of vitamin B8 (10 - 100 mg per 100 grams)

  • Mango

  • Prunes

  • Potatoes

  • Pumpkin

  • Soya beans

  • Carrots

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Watermelon

  • Cherries

  • Apricots

  • Squash

  • White kidney beans

  • Pinto beans

  • Butter beans

  • Aubergine

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Cabbage

  • Asparagus

  • Peppers

  • Collard greens

  • Tomatoes

  • Courgettes

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) A major function of vitamin B12 involves its participation in the development of nerve cells. A coating which encloses the nerves, called the myelin sheath, forms less successfully whenever B12 is deficient. Although the vitamin plays an indirect role in this process, consumption of foods rich in vitamin B12 has been shown to be effective in relieving pain and other symptoms in a variety of nervous system disorders. Low levels of vitamin B12 can result in a sore tongue, weakness, fatigue, weight loss, back pain, lethargy and apathy.

Highest sources of vitamin B12 in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Clams 98.9 μg

  • Liver 83.1 μg

  • Barley grass juice 80 μg

  • Nori seaweed 63.6 μg

  • Octopus 36 μg

  • Caviar/fish eggs 20.0 μg

  • Ashitaba powder 17.0 μg

  • Herring 13.7 μg

  • Tuna fish 10.9 μg

  • Crab 10.4 μg

  • Mackerel 8.7 μg

  • Lean grass fed beef 8.2 μg

  • Duck eggs, goose eggs, rabbit 6 μg

  • Crayfish, pork heart, rainbow trout 5 μg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 4.8 μg

  • Lobster 4 μg

  • Lamb, venison 3.7 μg

  • Swiss Cheese 3.3 μg

  • Salmon 3.2 μg

  • Whey powder 2.37 μg

  • Golden chanterelle mushrooms 2 μg

  • Tuna 1.9 μg

  • Halibut 1.2 μg

  • Chicken egg 1.1 μg

  • Chicken, turkey 1.0 μg

  • Ashitaba 0.4 μg

NOTE: One μg is one microgram.

Vitamin B15 (pangamic acid) can reduce the build-up of lactic acid in athletes, hence, lessening muscle fatigue and cramps. Natural foods rich in this vitamin include: apricot kernels, beef blood, Brewer's yeast, brown rice, buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and whole grains.

 

Vitamin B16 (dimethylamino acetic acid) can reduce lactic acid build-up in the blood during strenuous exercise or stressful events hence preventing cramps in the muscles. Natural foods that contain this vitamin include: Brewer's yeast, brown rice, buckwheat,  lamb, legumes, liver, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and whole grains.

 

Vitamin D (secosteroids) is required because it increases the absorption of calcium and is involved with proper thyroid gland function and a deficiency of this vitamin can cause muscle twitching and cramps. The skin can make vitamin D from sunlight but this will not take place for those who cover their skin or wear sun block or through a window. In the northern hemisphere the sun is too weak during October to April for this process to take place therefore, in all these cases, natural foods containing vitamin D should be added more often to the diet such as: aloe vera, aubergine, carp fish, cheese, cod liver oil, eel, eggs, goat's milk, halibut, hemp seeds, krill oil, oily fish, rosehips, sea bass, swordfish, trout, tuna (fresh), turbot, white bait and wild mushrooms.

 

Highest sources of vitamin D per serving

  • Krill oil - 1 teaspoon: 1000 IU

  • Eel - 85 g or 3 oz: 792 IU

  • Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU

  • Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU

  • Cod liver oil - 1 teaspoon: 440 IU

  • Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU

  • Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU

  • Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU

  • Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU

  • Raw milk - 1 glass or 8 oz: 98 IU

  • Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU

  • Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU

  • Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU

  • Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU

NOTE: One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms.

Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols) helps to increase manganese and zinc absorption, promotes faster healing and a reduction of scar tissue and nourishes the muscles which can help to prevent cramps.

Highest sources of vitamin E in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Wheat germ 149.4 mg

  • Hemp seeds 55 mg

  • Hazelnut oil 47 mg

  • Almond oil 39 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 38.3 mg

  • Chilli powder 38.1 mg

  • Paprika 38 mg

  • Rice bran oil 32 mg

  • Grape seed oil 29 mg

  • Almonds 26.2 mg

  • Oregano 18.3 mg

  • Hazelnuts 17 mg

  • Flaxseed oil 17 mg

  • Peanut oil 16 mg

  • Hazelnuts 15.3 mg

  • Corn oil 15 mg

  • Olive oil 14 mg

  • Soya bean oil 12 mg

  • Pine nuts 9.3 mg

  • Cloves (ground) 9 mg

  • Peanuts 8 mg

  • Celery flakes (dried) 6 mg

  • Spirulina 5 mg

  • Dried apricots 4.3 mg

  • Bell peppers (red), eel, olives and salmon 4 mg

  • Jalapeno peppers 3.6 mg

  • Anchovies 3.3 mg

  • Broccoli, chicken, chilli peppers (sun-dried), cod, crayfish, dandelion greens, egg yolk, duck, goose, pecan nuts, spinach, tomatoes (tinned or pureed) turkey and turnip greens 3 mg

  • Avocado, beef, bilberries, blue berries, butter, chicory greens, cinnamon (ground), crab, halibut, herring (pickled), mackerel, marjoram, mustard greens, pistachio nuts, poppy seeds, sardines, sesame seeds, Swiss chard, trout, tuna, turnips and walnuts 2 mg

  • Fish roe 1.9 mg

  • Asparagus, kiwi fruit and parsnips 1.5 mg

  • Black berries 1.2 mg

  • Chlorella 1.1 mg

 

Zinc, together with copper improves the absorption of vitamin D which aids in the absorption of calcium. It also is the healing mineral which can help with cramps associated with scar tissues or trauma. Alcohol causes the expulsion of zinc so it is advisable to consume more zinc rich foods when drinking often.

 

Highest sources of zinc in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Oysters 78.6 mg

  • Chlorella 71 mg

  • Wheat germ 16.7 mg

  • Beef 12.3 mg

  • Calf's liver 11.9 mg

  • Hemp seeds 11.5 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 10.3 mg

  • Sesame and watermelon seeds 10.2 mg

  • Bamboo shoots, endives and gourds 9 mg

  • Chervil (herb) 8.8 mg

  • Lamb 8.7 mg

  • Venison 8.6 mg

  • Alfalfa seeds (sprouted), amaranth leaves, Crimini mushrooms, Irish moss and tea 8 mg

  • Crab 7.6 mg

  • Lobster 7.3 mg

  • Agave, basil, beefalo, broccoli, elk, emu, oats, ostrich, spinach and turkey 7 mg

  • Cocoa powder 6.8 mg

  • Asparagus, chicken livers, laver seaweed, mushrooms, parsley and rice bran 5.7 mg

  • Cashew nuts 5.6 mg

  • Pork 5.1 mg

  • Jute (herb), lemon grass, mung beans, Portobello mushrooms, radishes and shiitake mushrooms 5 mg

  • Agar seaweed, butterbur, cauliflower, chicory, Chinese cabbage, chives, coriander, green beans, lentils, lettuce, okra, rocket, spring onions, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes and wasabi (yellow) 3.4 mg

  • Peanuts 3.3 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 3.1 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 2.9 mg

  • Anchovies and rabbit 2.4 mg

  • Cabbage, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, , kidney beans, navy beans, spirulina and turnip greens 2 mg

  • Mussels 1.6 mg

  • Arrowroot, artichokes (globe), beetroot, bell peppers, black eyed peas, borage, broad beans, Brussel sprouts, butter beans, cabbage, carrots, celery, chilli peppers, courgettes, dandelion greens, garlic, horseradish, kale, kelp, mustard greens, peas, pinto beans, potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, Swede, sweet potato, tomatoes (red),  wakame (seaweed), watercress and winged beans 1.2 mg

NATURE CURES TIPS TO PREVENT CRAMPS

  • Always do warm-up exercises before intense physical activity.

  • Avoiding acid forming foods from the nightshade family such as aubergines, bell peppers, tomatoes and white potatoes when suffering from repetitive cramps.

  • Cut out processed, refined and sugary foods and unnecessary drugs and cut down on alcohol and coffee.

  • Drink six glasses of filtered of bottled mineral water per day and always drink the last glass before going to sleep to keep the body hydrated overnight.

  • Ensure that the diet includes all colours of vegetables and fruits during the week to ensure there is adequate mineral and vitamin intake.

  • Have a full blood count test done by the health practitioner to check for any nutrient deficiencies. Ask for a print out of your blood test results to keep a personal record.

  • If suffering from stomach cramps try removing milk or wheat from the diet as this could be due to lactose or gluten intolerance.

  • Including fermented and probiotic foods in the diet such as brine pickles, kimchi, Kombucha, miso soup, sauerkraut and plain yoghurt with live cultures can help to relieve many types of cramps as it replaces the beneficial bacteria in the stomach which are responsible for manufacturing nutrients and keeping infections away.

  • Menstrual cramps are very common and can be very painful. Relief can be gained from consuming sour cherries or a 1/4 teaspoon of both nutmeg and unrefined sea salt or Himalayan pink salt crystals in a large glass of bottled mineral water.

  • Never go swimming after eating a full meal.

  • Raw juice therapy can help to prevent and relieve cramps. The best natural foods to juice are: beetroot, carrot, celery, cucumber, ginger, grapefruit, lemon, lettuce, lime, pineapple, sour apple and sour cherry.

  • If suffering from stomach cramps try removing milk or wheat from the diet as the cramping may be due to lactose or gluten intolerance.

  • Stretching and non-weight bearing exercises can help to prevent cramp.

  • Take the time to relax when eating a meal. Make sure to chew food well and do not drink liquids with meals as this dilutes the stomach acid and can lead to digestive disorders and improper breakdown of nutrients.

See more natural remedies for cramp relief below.


HEAD PAIN

Headaches and migraines can be caused by dehydration, eye strain, allergies to foods containing certain elements such as tannins, food additives and artificial sweeteners, toxins such as aluminium or over indulgence in coffee, sugar, table salt and alcohol or nutrient deficiencies.

The faeces from the worms that live in beer pipes can cause bad headaches if the publican does not clean the pipes regularly once a week at least.

To alleviate headaches, rest and natural nutritious foods that rehydrate and reduce inflammation as well as cleanse the body of toxins are the best way to recover. See Cleansing

Finding out the root cause of headaches is vital. So an elimination process, where foods are removed from the diet one at a time for two weeks, is a good idea when headaches are frequent.

Have the vision tested to ensure this is not the cause of frequent headaches.

Pineapple juice can rehydrate when dehydration is the cause.

Almonds; eating 10 - 12 almonds can provide the same relief as 2 aspirins.

Black seed has head pain relieving properties.

Himalayan pink salt crystals. Add one to two teaspoon of the pink crystals to a cup of warm water and add the juice and zest of half a lemon and one teaspoon of honey for instant migraine relief. NOTE: Do not try this remedy if suffering with high blood pressure.

Passion fruit contains components which have the ability to relax the nerves and relieve headaches.

Mustard seeds consumed on a regular basis have been found to be beneficial for reducing the frequency of migraines.

Coconut oil, lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oil can relieve headaches when rubbed onto the temples and forehead.

NOTE: Essential oils are not suitable for pregnant or breast feeding women or children under 5.

Three mint leaves, 1/2 a sliced cucumber and 1/2 a lemon squeezed (all organic) in a glass of mineral water can help to relieve headaches.

Chlorella and spirulina can remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body which can cause headaches.

Low levels of tin can cause headaches.

The food additive E621 monosodium glutamate found in most processed meat products can cause headaches.

Yeast products like torula yeast, brewer's yeast, yeast spreads etc contain glutamic acid which can cause headaches.

See below for more Remedies To Reduce Pain.


ORGAN PAIN

Constant pain in the torso, chest, left arm, groin, stomach and abdomen must be investigated promptly to establish the cause. Taking pain killers and carrying on as normal is not the answer because the underlying cause could be serious and further damage or even organ failure could be the result. Appendicitis, bacterial and fungal infections, heart attacks, intestinal blockages, peritonitis, viral infections and any disorders of the bladder, gall bladder, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and spleen must be treated by a professional health practitioner immediately.

A poor unbalanced diet is usually the root cause of many organ disorders therefore changing the diet to healthy natural foods can eliminate the risk of developing any of these conditions and having to undergo surgery or take powerful medications with serious side effects.


MIGRAINE

Migraines are caused by a misfiring of the nervous system. There is an overwhelming build-up of nerve cell activity in the brain stem at the base of the brain and the effect of this spreads in a cascade to produce the migraine headache that lasts for several hours to a day or more before it gradually recedes. The misfiring can spread to other parts of the brain to produce visual distortions, pins and needles in the face and strange tastes before the headache starts. Some sufferers may recognise that they are building up to an attack days before it starts. Different sufferers have many different patterns of symptoms. Migraines can also cause nausea (feeling sick) and an increased sensitivity to light or sound.

Migraine sufferers have trigger zones, the most common ones being at the back of the head, over the eyes and over the temples. These are due to the distribution of the Occipital Nerve and the Ophthalmic Branch of the Trigeminal Nerve.

Migraine sufferers commonly experience an 'aura' between 20 minutes and one hour before the headache stage of their migraine. An aura is a warning sign that a migraine is about to happen. The main symptoms of an aura are visual problems such as blurred vision (difficulty focussing), blind spots, flashes of light, or a zigzag pattern moving from the central field of vision towards the edge. Other aura symptoms include tingling sensations (pins and needles) in the face, lips and tongue, or in the arms and legs; speech problems such as slurred speech; dizziness; a stiff neck; and, very rarely, loss of consciousness.

The main symptoms of migraine are an intense, throbbing or pounding headache often affecting the front or one side of the head, nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (being sick), and an increased sensitivity to light and sound. The throbbing headache is often made worse by the person moving. Other symptoms of migraine might include poor concentration, feeling hot or cold, perspiration (sweating), and an increased need to pass urine. People might also experience stomach aches and diarrhoea. It is common for people to feel tired for up to two or three days after a migraine.

DIETARY MIGRAINE TRIGGERS

Lack of food (dieting), irregular meals, dehydration, alcohol, caffeine, certain foods (see below) and certain food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame (a sweetener), Tyramine and nitrates can trigger a migraine.

Certain foods, especially those that contain tannins, can trigger migraines such as beans (red), betel nut, blueberries, cinnamon, cloves, cheese, cocoa, corn, cranberries, cumin, grapes, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, strawberries, tarragon, tea, thyme, vanilla, walnuts and red wine.

Other food and drinks that can be responsible are: apples, bananas, berry juice, black tea, carob beans, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, cumin, citrus fruits, grape juice, ice cream, legumes (dark coloured), nuts, sour cream, St John's Wort, tarragon, vanilla, wood smoked fish or meat.

The food additive E621 monosodium glutamate found in most processed meat products can cause migraines.

Yeast products like torula yeast, brewer's yeast, yeast spreads etc contain glutamic acid which can cause migraines.

If food is the culprit eliminating these from the diet then introducing one at a time can help discover triggers for migraines.

EMOTIONAL MIGRAINE TRIGGERS

Anxiety, anger, excitement, shock and stress can trigger migraines

PHYSICAL MIGRAINE TRIGGERS

Hormonal changes during a womans menstrual cycle and those with high blood pressure may be more prone to migraines.

Tiredness, loss of sleep, irregular sleep, tension in the neck or shoulders, eye strain (for example, after using a computer screen) and dental problems (for example, teeth grinding) can also bring on a migraine.

Bright lights, loud noises, a smoky atmosphere, some sleeping tablets and smoking tobacco can also cause migraines in susceptible people.

NATURE CURES FOR MIGRAINES

Try eliminating the above to see if this stops migraines occurring. Discovering the cause can then provide the right treatment. The following foods can help treat migraines. Pineapple is good if dehydration is the cause. Reducing salt intake can help to lower blood pressure if this is a cause. See the Nature Cures High Blood Pressure page for more remedies.

Drink plenty of bottled or filtered water.
Vegetables: alfalfa, chicory, chlorella, okra, parsnips, spinach.
Whole grains: all whole grains especially barley, brown rice, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, teff.
Fruits: cherries, papaya, pineapple
Herbs: basil, black seed, borage, burdock root, dandelion, holy basil, feverfew, linden, maqui berries, motherwort, mustard seeds, noni, wood betony.
Spices: nutmeg, paprika.
Derivatives: black strap molasses, honey, psyllium husks.

Quinoa is high magnesium and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) which provides relief for migraine sufferers.

See more natural remedies for pain and inflammation below.


NERVE PAIN

Nerve damage and pain can result from a poor unbalanced diet, trauma, obesity, alcohol abuse, infections, viruses, diabetes, bone disorders and repetitive strain syndrome. Finding out the cause and then making the necessary adjustments to lifestyle is the way to eliminate pain and inflammation without medication. Inflammation can trap and pinch nerves causing excruciating pain so foods that help to reduce inflammation in the body should be consumed. See below.

Ylang ylang strengthens the nervous system and repairs any damage, reduces stress on the nerves and protects them from developing a number of nervous disorders.

Some can be affected by nerve pain after a shingles attack. See the Shingles section for Nature Cures remedies.

NEURALGIA

The term neuralgia refers to a combination of two words "neuro" meaning relating to nerves and "algesia" meaning sensitivity to pain.

Normally, pain is triggered by the stimulation of pain receptors but in the case of neuralgia, pain occurs without excitation of these receptors and is instead caused by an abnormal change in the structure or function of the nerves.

There are two main types of neuralgia which are categorised according to the location of the pain:

Central neuralgia
This describes neuralgia originating in the spinal cord or brain. This is a severely painful situation caused when the ninth cranial nerve is impacted due to swelling of the surrounding blood vessels.

Peripheral neuralgia
This refers to neuralgia originating in the peripheral nervous system.

Some of the most common examples of neuralgia include:

Atypical trigeminal neuralgia
Characterized by an aching and burning in the cheeks, sinuses, forehead, jaws, eye area and temples along with a persistent headache and, occasionally, an electric shock-like sensation. Unlike typical neuralgia, this neuralgia can also be felt across the scalp and neck.

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia A rare disorder that causes repeated pain in the tonsil and surrounding area of the throat and back of the tongue due to a disorder of the glossopharyngeal nerve.

Occipital neuralgia
Also sometimes called Arnold's neuralgia. In this condition, damage to the lesser and greater optical nerves causes pain or reduced sensation in the neck, back of the head area and behind the eyes.

Postherpetic neuralgia
Which arises as a result of herpes varicella virus and follows a herpes zoster outbreak, otherwise known of as shingles. This condition causes a variable degree of pain which may range from mild to severe and can be felt as a burning or stabbing sensation.

Trigeminal neuralgia
Where pain originating from the trigeminal nerve causes intense facial pain that may be felt as an electric shock sensation, a shooting pain or a burning, crushing or pressing feeling.

Camphor oil can make the blood vessels contract and thereby reduce pressure on the nerves.

Yang ylang strengthens the nervous system and repairs any damage,  reduces stress on the nerves and protects them from developing a number of nervous disorders.

See more pain-relieving remedies below.

PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY

This is a result of nerve damage, often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet, but it may also occur in other areas of the body. The pain is like a tingling and burning sensation and the sufferer may feel like they are walking on cobblestones if it is located in the feet. It can result from problems such as traumatic injuries, metabolic problems, infections such as shingles, Lyme disease, alcoholism, shingles, thyroid disease and kidney failure, exposure to toxins, autoimmune disorders such as HIV, neurological conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome and malnutrition. Statin drugs and chemotherapy can also cause neuropathy.

Diabetes is the number one cause of peripheral neuropathy, since up to half of all diabetics will experience nerve damage. However, autoimmune conditions such as coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and gluten ataxia have also been linked with peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common non-digestive symptoms of coeliac disease and sometimes an individual will have no noticeable gastrointestinal symptoms of coeliac disease, but instead have mainly peripheral neuropathy and other neurological symptoms.

See Food Allergies.

In many cases, if it is caused by an underlying condition that can be treated or resolved, peripheral neuropathy symptoms improve with time.

NATURE CURES FOR PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY

Light non weight bearing exercise such as swimming, cycling and yoga are very useful in treating peripheral neuropathy.

If the feet are affected by peripheral neuropathy, any wounds or blisters must be taken care of well, as infection can set in very easily. Regularly soaking them in a bowl of warm water with some tea tree oil, coconut oil or aloe vera is beneficial and will kill off any bacteria or fungal infections.

A balanced diet is important when suffering from peripheral neuropathy, especially for diabetics. Alcohol and tobacco should be eliminated as well as sugar, processed foods, fast foods, foods sprayed with pesticides and trans-fatty acids. Sweeteners and additives contained in diet drinks and processed foods such as MSG and a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important. Often the diet is too rich in omega-6 fatty acids so therefore more omega-3 fatty acids rich foods should be consumed.

Natural sources of omega 3 (linolenic acid) are: anchovies, chia seeds, collard greens, flaxseed, halibut, herring, kale, mustard greens, oily fish, pumpkin seeds, rapeseed, soya, walnuts, cod liver oil, menhaden, octopus, shellfish, spinach, spirulina and squid

Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant which can treat peripheral nerve degeneration caused by diabetes. It is a sulphur containing fatty acid that works as an antioxidant in both water and fatty tissue, enabling it to enter all parts of the nerve cell and protect it from the damage caused by peripheral neuropathy. Natural sources of alpha lipoic acid are brewers yeast, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, organ meats, peas and spinach

Cysteine detoxifies the body by helping it produce glutathione. Natural sources of cysteine are: broccoli, egg yolks, garlic, oats, onions, poultry, red peppers, spirulina, yogurt (plain, organic with live cultures)

Magnesium soothes the nervous system. Natural sources of magnesium are: alfalfa, aloe vera, almonds, apples, ashitaba, bananas, baobab fruit, black pepper, black strap molasses, brown rice, chia seeds, cocoa beans (raw), coconut, cucumber, dates, figs, halibut, legumes, lemons, mineral water, nuts, oats, oily fish, okra, parsnips, passion fruit, peaches, prunes, quinoa, rabbit, restharrow, sesame seeds, soya beans, spinach, spirulina, suma, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, walnuts and gluten-free whole grains

Vitamin B6 deficiency can aggravate or even cause neuropathic pain. Foods rich in vitamin B6 are: ashitaba, avocados, bananas, barley, beef, brewer's yeast, brown rice, buckwheat, carrots, collard greens, eggs, oats, potatoes, peanuts, pistachio nuts, poultry, quinoa, sage, soybeans, spirulina, sunflower seeds, venison, walnuts and gluten-free whole grains

Cayenne pepper massaged into the skin has been known to relieve neuropathic pain.

Scutellaria (skullcap) soothes the entire nervous system. The suggested dosage is fifteen drops of tincture in a glass of water three to six times a day or as needed for pain.

Evening primrose oil can be effective in preventing nerve damage and in keeping the condition from getting worse.

Colloidal silver may help nerves regenerate and studies in Hungary found specific silver receptors on human nerve tissue.

Camphor oil can make the blood vessels contract and thereby reduce pressure on the nerves.

Yang ylang strengthens the nervous system and repairs any damage,  reduces stress on the nerves and protects them from developing a number of nervous disorders.

See more pain-relieving remedies below.


SCIATICA

This is when the nerve running from the spine down the back of the thigh becomes pinched. It can happen for a variety of reasons and cause great pain and disability due to inflammation. One way to cure sciatica is to have someone strong and taller than you stand back to back with you. Then link arms and allow them to gently lift you backwards over their back while you remain relaxed and limp and then they should gently bounce you on their spine. This can release the trapped nerve and provide instant and permanent relief.

NOTE: This will only work for those that have managed to get the nerve pinched within the spinal discs. It will not work if the pinched nerve is due to something like a cyst or tumour. If it is due to an injury this should not be attempted.

Hot and cold treatment can relieve inflammation. Use a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and place over the area of pain for 15 minutes then replace with hot water bottle wrapped in a towel for a further 15 minutes. Alternate these treatments a few times during the day to bring down inflammation.

A major function of vitamin B12 involves its participation in the development of nerve cells. A coating which encloses the nerves, called the myelin sheath, forms less successfully whenever B12 is deficient. Although the vitamin plays an indirect role in this process, consumption of foods rich in vitamin B12 has been shown to be effective in relieving pain and other symptoms in a variety of nervous system disorders.

Foods rich in vitamin B12 are: ashitaba, beef (lean grass fed), blue cheese, calf's liver, clams, cod, eggs, goat's milk, halibut, lamb, milk, octopus, oily fish, organ meats, rabbitshellfish, spirulina, veal, venison, yoghurt (organic live).

See more pain-relieving remedies below.


TOOTHACHE AND GUM PAIN

Inflamed gums are often a sign of an imbalance of the bacteria that lives in the intestines. Alcohol and tobacco can lead to gum recession and inflammation and eventually to tooth loss. Sugary foods and corn syrup are the biggest cause of tooth decay because sugar feeds the pathogenic bacteria in the mouth as well as the intestines. Citrus fruit can also damage the teeth.

Natural toothpastes, coconut oil and bicarbonate of soda used after every meal can prevent tooth damage and clean the mouth without adding toxins from chemicals that exist in most commercial toothpaste brands. Mouthwashes containing alcohol should be avoided as these can provide an environment in the guts that allows parasites to thrive. Green tea can also help cleanse the mouth of bad bacteria and provides many phytonutrients which the body needs. See the Tooth and Gum page for more natural remedies.
 


NATURE CURES TO REDUCE PAIN, CRAMPS AND INFLAMMATION

Any illness that ends with itis is an inflammatory disease. This is a list of natural foods with anti inflammatory and pain relieving properties:

  • Abuta is an Amazonian herb that is used as an analgesic to relieve tooth pain, rheumatism and menstrual cramps.

  • Apple cider vinegar helps reduce joint pain by eliminating accumulated toxins from the joints and connective tissues. Due to its alkalising effect, it is particularly beneficial for those suffering from arthritis. Plus, it is rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Mix one to three teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar and a little honey in a cup of warm water. Drink this solution two or three times a day, preferably before meals. This treatment can be taken on a regular basis because, in addition to helping with joint pain, it is good for overall health and cleanses the liver.

  • All spice can relieve stomach pains and used as a compress can relieve rheumatism

  • .
  • Aloe vera juice or gel can help with heartburn, cramps, personal mood swings and bad breath.

  • Basil tea is good for arthritis, rheumatism and joint pain as it is analgesic and anti-inflammatory.

  • Cinnamon and/or ginger powder, in tea, can be used to relieve chronic inflammatory pain and stiffness in joints.

  • Use mineral bath crystals or powdered kelp seaweed for a relaxing bath. Add some drops of tea tree oil

  • Coconut water can rehydrate the body quickly to relieve headaches.

  • Fenugreek: Swallow one teaspoon of finely ground fenugreek seeds followed by a glass of lukewarm water. Do this daily in the morning until the pain is relieved. Alternatively, soak one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in water overnight and eat them the next morning.

  • Feverfew is an effective for treating migraines. It reduces inflammation, which takes pressure off the nerves and can help prevent migraines entirely.

  • Frankincense can alleviate the pain in joints rapidly with its anti inflammatory properties but may cause acid reflux. To combat this take with ginger. Ginger is also a natural anti-inflammatory, but it increases stomach acid secretion, so it will help with digestion of the frankincense. Daikon radish can also assist with absorption of frankincense and is high in calcium and other phytonutrients beneficial to the bones.

  • Ginger tea: Crush an inch of ginger root and add it to boiling water and leave to steep for 20 minutes. This homemade tea reduces inflammation in the same amount of time as it takes an aspirin to work.

  • Consuming 250 mg of ginger root four times a day is as effective as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen for relieving pain in women associated with their menstrual cycle.sour cherry
  • Ginseng has analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity similar to ibuprofen and can help those with rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Maqui berries are the richest source of anthocyanins of any other natural food. The anthocyanins give plants their dark purple and blue colour and exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory activity, and do it as well as drugs for the same purposes, without the negative side effects.

  • Mineral water: Drink at least a litre of bottled mineral water throughout the day

  • Oat straw mends bones, relieves cramps and strengthens teeth.

  • Olive oil: contains a compound known as oleocanthal has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen.

  • Pineapple juice can rehydrate the body quickly to relieve headaches and pineapples contain bromelain that is an enzyme that helps to rid the body that can cause inflammation and pain in various tissues and organs of the body. To maximize bromelain's anti-inflammatory effects, pineapple should be eaten alone between meals or its enzymes will be used up digesting food. The potassium in pineapple can help to balance electrolytes which can reduce cramps.

  • Prickly pear is the only plant to contain 24 of the known betalains, which are potent anti-inflammatory agents. Betalains are polyphenolic pigments also found in beetroot. Betalains give prickly pears their purple, red and yellow colours.

  • Scutellaria contains a compound known as baicalin that is as powerful as ibuprofen in reducing pain without the side effects.

  • St. Johns wort is twice as effective as ibuprofen as a pain-killer.

  • Turmeric: For joint pain and inflammation mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little honey in a glass of warm milk. Drink it daily, at least for a few days.

More foods with anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties

 

NOTE: grapefruit can interact with certain medications. Check before consuming.

HERBS WITH ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND PAIN RELIEVING PROPERTIES herbs and spices

Aloe vera, basil, burdock root, coriander, dandelion, devil's claw, dong quai, false unicorn, fennel, feverfew, frankincense, holy basil, hops, lavender oil, linden, motherwort, oatstraw, peppermint oil, periwinkle, rosemary, senega root and white willow bark.

See more on the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.

NOTE: Essential oils and rosemary are not suitable for pregnant or breast feeding women.

SPICES WITH ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND PAIN RELIEVING PROPERTIES

Allspice, black pepper, cayenne chilli pepper, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, paprika and turmeric.

HOW TO USE HERBS AND SPICES

Infusions (teas)

Infusions are a simple way of extracting the active principles of herbs through the action of hot water. The preparation of infusions is similar to way tea is prepared. This method is used to extract the volatile components of the dried or green aerial parts of herbs and plants like flowers and leaves. Infusions may use single herbs or a blend of herbs, vegetables, fruits and spices and are drunk hot or cold. Certainly this is the most common and cheap method of extracting the medicinal compounds of herbs.

Tinctures

Most of the volatile components of medicinal plants and herbs are soluble in alcohol. By immersing dried or fresh parts of plants in alcohol, the active principles are easily extracted at concentrations that exceed those that can be achieved by infusion or decoction. Highly concentrate solutions that will last for one to two years are a convenient way to store and use medicinal plants constituents.

Ideally tinctures should be made using pure ethyl alcohol distilled from cereals. However, since this product is not available to the public, good Vodka with 45-35% alcohol can be used. The extraction is fairly quick. A 50% mixture of herbs and alcohol kept in a tightly closed jar will hold a tincture ready for use at the prescribed dosage. Never use methyl alcohol, methylated spirits, isopropyl alcohol or any other kind of unknown spirit to make tinctures.

MORE TIPS TO ELIMINATE PAIN AND INFLAMMATION

  • Avoid acid forming foods from the nightshade family which can increase painful inflammation. Foods such as aubergine, bell peppers, tomatoes and white potatoes.

  • Avoid sugar, coffee and all other drinks containing caffeine

  • Consume six different colours of fruits and vegetables everyday. See Nature's Colour Codes

  • Include probiotic foods in the diet such as natural live yoghurt, brine pickles, kimchi, kombucha and miso soup.

  • Purchase a  powerful 900 watt juicer and start drinking raw juices through out the day. The best natural foods to juice are: beetroot, carrot, cucumber, grapefruit, lemon, lettuce, pineapple, sour apple, sour cherry and spinach

  • Reduce meat intake and consume more oily fish and 1000 mg of krill oil daily.

  • Replace sugar with pure honey and sweet fruits.

  • Replace table salt with natural unrefined coarse sea salt, Himalayan pink salt crystals, kelp, seaweed or spices

NUTRIENTS THAT CAN HELP REDUCE PAIN AND INFLAMMATION

Anthocyanins are as effective as ibuprofen and naproxen at suppressing the inflammation-associated enzyme known as cyclooxygenase-1 and 2.

Natural sources of anthocyanins

Acai berry, apples (red), aubergine, beans (black and red), beetroot, bilberries, blackberries, black currants, black rice, blueberries, broccoli tops (purple), cabbage (red), cashew nuts, cherries, chokeberries, cranberries, elderberry, grapefruit (pink), grapes (red and black), kidney beans, maqui berries, mulberries, onions (red), oranges (blood), pears (red), plums, potatoes (red skinned), pomegranates, radishes (red), raspberries, rhubarb, rosehips, saw palmetto berries, strawberries, sumac, sweet potato (purple variety), Swiss chard and winged beans.

Foods containing proteolytic enzymes such as bromelain (pineapple) and papain (papaya) can help heal minor injuries because they are anti-inflammatory and capable of being absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Bromelain and papain can help reduce pain and swelling and promote faster healing in people with a variety of painful conditions including back strain.

A combination of foods rich in vitamins B1, B6 and B12 has proved useful for preventing pain linked to vertebral problems as well as reducing the amount of anti-inflammatory medications needed to control pain.

Foods rich in copper, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc can help alleviate pain and inflammation

Natural foods rich in tin can relieve pain and inflammation.

Natural sources of tin

Barberry, beef, bilberry, blessed thistle, brewer's yeast, devils claw, dog grass, dulse, eggs, Irish moss, juniper, kelp, lady slipper, liquorice root, marshmallow root, milk, milk thistle, nettle, organ meats, pennyroyal, rabbit, red clover, seaweed,  senna, shellfish, valerian, vegetables, whole grains, yarrow and yellow dock root.

NOTE Tin may interact with iron and copper, particularly in the gut, and so inhibit absorption of these elements so foods containing tin should be consumed separately to foods rich in iron and copper.

THE IMPORTANCE OF MINERALS IN THE DIET

 

Only traces of many minerals are required by the body but due to today's farming and food processing techniques much of the mineral content has been lost. Minerals are something many people do not consider as essential as protein or vitamins but they are absolutely vital for many cellular processes. Although the body can store minerals, it cannot manufacture them so consuming a wide range of coloured natural foods can help replenish stores that may be lost.

This is as important for those that are unwell or taking medications as it is for those that do strenuous exercise or sports. Minerals are lost through perspiration and many drugs (including alcohol) block the absorption and manufacture of the nutrients which help absorption of minerals or cause the body to lose minerals in the urine. For example alcohol causes the body to expel zinc in the urine. See the Minerals page for natural sources of all the essential minerals required by the body.

NATURE CURES RECIPE TO ELIMINATE PAIN AND INFLAMMATION

This highly nutritious meals will not only reduce inflammation and pain but will also provide all the essential phytochemicals and minerals to correct the balance of nutrients in the body to aid with healing. If consumed at least once a week it will also prevent further damage and infections. If suffering from diverticulitis, nuts and seeds should be avoided but steeping nuts and seeds in hot water for 30 minutes then straining and drinking as a tea provides a way to ingest their nutrients. Adding honey, herbs, spices and lemon juice to the tea can provide more essential nutrients and improve the taste.


Fish Salad Ingredients

Method

Lightly stir fry mushrooms, broccoli tops, garlic and spring onions in the rapeseed oil. Place in a large bowl and add all other ingredients and mix well. Add more rapeseed and sesame oil if the mixture is too dry. Keep in the refrigerator and consume within three days. Yoghurt can also be added to make a more creamy dish.


avocado


purple broccoli tops

turmeric
turmeric

radishes
radishes

pineapple
pineapple

spinach
spinach

basil and parsley
 

 parsley and basil


walnuts

Dessert, Breakfast or Snack

Berries (red, blue and black), sour cherries ginger and cinnamon with low fat live probiotic yoghurt.

See more nutritious recipes on the Nature Cures Healthy Recipes page.

Blending

 

To make it easier to consume a wider range purchase a blender and puree your selection of different coloured fruit, steamed vegetables, legumes, herbs and spices in a blender as potage soups and juices. Add organic probiotic live yoghurt for a creamy effect.

 

When vegetables and fruits are first chopped they should be left aside for 10 minutes for beneficial chemical reactions to take place. Then they should eaten raw or lightly steamed and consumed straight away because they begin to lose nutritional value after this. Pre-packed chopped fruit and vegetables have very little nutritional value compared to freshly prepared natural food.

 

Cleansing

 

Through stools, urine, tears and sweat the body rids itself of toxins that would otherwise build up and lead to sickness and disease. Fevers and skin eruptions are actually a natural part of the cleansing process and should not be suppressed. Cleansing allows the body to restore balance and occurs when imbalance is too great and threatens health and life. Ingesting live organic natural plant foods encourages this process. Visit the Cleanse and Detoxify page to find out which natural foods can help the body clean itself inside and out.

 

Teas

 

Nutrients from seeds, fresh or dried herbs, leaves and roots can be ingested easily without the bulk by making them into teas. Simply pour hot (but not quite boiling) water over them leave to steep for 20 minutes then strain and sip the juice. Try experimenting and making unusual teas by mixing different herbs, spices and adding honey or coconut juice.

 

Juicing

 

Juicing is another way to gain high nutrition with less bulk in the daily diet. See the Nature Cures Raw Juice Therapy page for more information.

 

Sprouting

 

To gain a wide selection of essential nutrients in small portions of sprouts try growing your own in a jam jar with just a daily rinse of water. Visit the Nature Cures Micro Diet Sprouts page to find out how to grow beans, seeds, whole grains and legumes.
 


 

EXTERNAL REMEDIES TO ELIMINATE PAIN AND INFLAMMATION

Compresses and poultices using any of the above mentioned herbs and spices can provide pain relief as can adding them to a hot bath.

Poultice and Compress

There are various types of poultices that can be used to treat a wide variety of complaints from acne, arthritis and respiratory conditions to bruises and sprains. Some people advocate the use of porridge, carrot, bread, milk, potatoes, clay, cabbage and herbal poultices and many use poultices as a home remedy for their horses' ailments. A poultice will also help ease out anything that's embedded under the skin such as wood or metal splinters and can also bring boils or abscesses to the surface and draw out bee sting poison.

A homemade poultice is made by mashing herbs, plant material or another substance with warm water or natural oils to make a paste. Pure pressed coconut oil is especially good to use. The paste can be applied directly to the skin and covered with a piece of clean cloth. If the herb used is potent such as onion, garlic, ginger, mustard, etc., it is advisable to place a layer of thin cloth between the skin and the herb. The cloth can then be covered with plastic wrap to hold in the moisture. The poultice should be changed every 3 to 4 hours or more if it dries out. Then the area should be washed with soap and dried thoroughly and left uncovered.

A compress is used the same way but usually warm liquids are applied to the cloth instead of raw cold substances. Tinctures or herbal infusions are great for compresses.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy helps relieve joint pain by improving circulation and soothing inflammation. In fact, several studies indicate that regular massage can improve pain, stiffness and range of motion in the affected joint. To massage the affected area, use warm oil like coconut, olive, mustard, castor or garlic oil and apply gentle pressure while massaging.

Apple cider vinegar and olive oil for joint pain: Massage the affected area with a mixture of one tablespoon each of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Do this daily until the joint pain is gone.

Cayenne pepper contains a compound called capsaicin with natural analgesic or pain-relieving properties. Slightly heat one-half cup of coconut oil. Mix in two tablespoons of cayenne pepper powder. Apply it on the affected area, leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse it off. Do this a few times a day. NOTE: Cayenne may initially cause a burning sensation. Do not apply it on open skin or wounds.

Coconut oil, lavender oil and peppermint oil can relieve headaches when rubbed onto the temples and forehead.

NOTE: Essential oils are not suitable for pregnant or breast feeding women or children under 5.


WHAT TO AVOID WHEN

NOTE: Motherwort may be habit forming.

CAUTION: Many herbs are powerful and can react with medications. Always check before taking at the same time as any drugs.

NOTE: Some nutritional yeasts, especially brewers yeast, can  also interact with medications. Those who are on Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor antidepressants (MAOIs) medication are especially at risk. It is also best avoided by those carrying the herpes virus as it can induce a attack.

Only eat the following fruit and vegetables if they are organic because of the risk of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides:

  • Apples

  • Asparagus

  • Aubergine

  • Avocado

  • Bananas

  • Bell peppers

  • Blue berries

  • Canataloupe

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflower

  • Celery

  • Cherries

  • Chilli peppers

  • Cocoa beans

  • Coffee beans

  • Collard greens

  • Courgettes

  • Cucumbers

  • Grapefruit

  • Grapes

  • Kale

  • Kiwi fruit

  • Lettuce

  • Mange toute peas

  • Mangos

  • Mushrooms

  • Nectarines

  • Onions

  • Oranges

  • Papaya

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Pineapples

  • Plums

  • Potatoes

  • Raspberries

  • Runner beans

  • Spinach

  • Spring onions

  • Squash

  • Strawberries

  • Sweet corn

  • Peas frozen

  • Tomatoes

  • Watermelon


See also:

Kratom, also known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant indigenous to the Thailand region and grows in Southeast Asia that has natural pain-killing and sedative abilities. See  kratomproject.org

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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