Many people suffer from little aches, pains, or inconveniences that make life just a bit harder. Perhaps you struggle with sleep, suffer from seasonal allergies, or deal with joint pain, iron deficiency, or muscle cramps. Any number of small things can make your busy life that much more challenging, particularly if it interferes with your daily activities. Fortunately, many of these ailments can be treated, if not cured, by foods you can find at your local grocery store.
Bananas for Relaxation
Bananas contain a number of beneficial vitamins such as magnesium and potassium. These aid sleep by relaxing the muscles and can also work to alleviate muscle cramps. They also contain tryptophan, the same component in turkey that causes sleepiness. Tryptophan converts into serotonin and melatonin which further aids sleep.
Local Honey for Allergies
Honey from local bees can improve seasonal allergies by aiding the body in building immunity against allergens. Because bees rely on pollen and nectar for nourishment – the same pollen that causes your allergy symptoms to flare – local, raw honey can function in a similar way to a vaccine.
Cherries for Sleep
Tart cherries naturally contain a high amount of melatonin, the chemical our brains produce for sleep. Have a handful of cherries as a bedtime snack, or drink a cup of cherry juice before bed. Thanks to the melatonin found in cherries, consuming them before bed can work against insomnia, helping you achieve a deeper sleep, making you feel more rested and alert.
Fish for Joint Pain
Fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines have a high content of omega-3 fats. A good number of studies have shown that by increasing your intake of omega-3 fats, you can reduce joint pain caused by arthritis.
The typical Western diet is high in omega-6 fats which are found in meats and corn. Therefore, it is recommended that you reduce consumption of omega-6 fats while increasing your intake of omega-3 fats. If you’re not a fan of fish but suffer from joint pain, walnuts and flaxseeds also have a substantial amount of omega-3 fats.
Herbal Infusions for Digestive Health
Herbal tisanes are excellent alternatives to over-the-counter medications when suffering from stomach issues like bloating, cramping, gas, and other digestive issues. The menthol in peppermint tea provides relief to a stomach ache and bloating by helping relax the stomach and intestinal muscles. Chamomile tea has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory elements that calm not just the stomach, but often the entire body. Ginger tea is known for soothing nausea and boosting digestion. All three teas are carminatives and can be consumed to relieve discomfort from gas in the stomach and digestive system.
Dark, Leafy Greens and Orange Juice for Low Iron
Of course, meat is the best source of easily absorbed iron, but meat also brings a higher concentration of inflammatory fats. While humans cannot absorb plant iron as easily, plants can still be a beneficial source of iron.
Dark greens like spinach and kale are great sources of iron, but these iron-rich foods are best paired with foods rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C aids the body in absorbing iron, making it easier to glean more iron from non-animal sources. A spinach salad with mandarin orange slices, for example, can be a good way to combat any symptoms of iron deficiency.
The way you feel is directly linked to how you eat. Many ailments can be either treated or cured with an alteration of your diet. A little research from reputable sources can lead you to a lifestyle free of daily annoyances like joint pain, sleeplessness, or seasonal allergies.
It is important to bear in mind, however, that food is not a substitute for medication. If you have a serious illness and need medication, then use diet to supplement necessary treatments, not as a replacement. The number of steps to a healthier existence is equal to the number of steps to your local grocery store.
Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.