Tweaklet #50 – Natural Painkillers

We all have different pain thresholds but one thing we have in common is that when pain strikes, we just want it to be gone.

I am no different when I have pain I want a quick fix. But the more I research healthy living, the more I realise the very real side effects of commercial pain killers. There are many different formulations of commercial pain killers but they all basically work on the nerve endings that send messages back to the brain to tell us we are injured. Pain killers interfere or block those messages and this changes the way your body responds to the inflammation.

As effective as many of these are in dealing with the symptoms, many people have a sensitivity to them, which may not be obviously apparent but can cause serious issues. Also, pain killers take anywhere from 24 hours to three weeks to clear your system and really do we want to be trying to eliminate a build-up of chemicals in our system?

As we once again turn to food for a solution let’s look at what nature has provided in the way of natural painkillers.

Hot and spicy foods are top of the list. Some would say that just eating them is painful but the properties of things like wasabi, Japanese horseradish and cayenne pepper can actually alleviate serious post-operative pain.

Wasabi works on blocking inflammation receptors and the capsaicin in Cayenne pepper works both internally on infections and externally on muscle soreness. You will see it as an active ingredient in many painkilling creams.

Many women know how effective Evening Primrose is in alleviating premenstrual pain and symptoms and in balancing hormones.

Arnica oil, if you haven’t heard of it, belongs in every medicine cabinet. It eases inflammatory pain, insect bites, bruises  and even arthritis pain.

Soaking in a bath of magnesium-rich Epsom salts is excellent for easing bone, joint and muscle pain and oils such as lavender and peppermint also provide relief for muscle pain and headaches. Apply them topically or pop some drops in an oil burner.

In another Tweaklet we’ll talk about pain-relieving hands-on techniques that you can seek out for further pain relief.

For now, let’s turn to food and see what we can find to ease any painful suffering before we pop a pill.

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Tweaklet #49 – Chilli

Do you like spicy food? Do you always reach for the chilli sauce or chopped chilli to go with your main meal? Or are you the opposite and shy away from anything spicy?

I love spicy food but I can’t handle spice that burns the back of my throat and makes me break out into a sweat. But according to new research, eating hot chillis could be the secret to a longer life!

Chillis, otherwise known as hot peppers, have been grown and used in food for thousands of years and like a lot of spices they have excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

They’re also good for weight loss as they speed up your metabolism, stop cravings and are natural appetite suppressants.

The capsaicin found in spicy foods actually lowers cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol accumulation in the body. And chilli’s anti-inflammatory properties make it great for heart health generally.

So what’s your spice level? If you’re new to chilli ease in gradually or you’ll put yourself off and that would be a shame. Build up gradually and try some ground spices like paprika and cayenne and if you’re buying fresh peppers, do your research to find out just how hot each variety is. Remember some of the smallest in size can be the most fiery!

A little tip, from painful personal experience, is when you’re chopping up fresh chilli peppers remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards and even then don’t go touching your eyes! Boy did I learn that one the hard way several times!

So, whilst we wait for further research on whether spicy food will help us live longer, let’s just get on and enjoy experimenting with adding some heat to our food. Time to spice up our lives Tweakleters!

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