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Thanksgiving-recipes (2)

02 Nov

Thanksgiving is a time for family, fun and, of course, food. So why not take advantage of that fact and serve some pain-fighting fare to your guests this year?

Cherry Goodness

Consider harnessing the anti-inflammatory power of cherries in your holiday cuisine. These bright red berries are full of anthocyanins – the compound that gives the berry its vibrant color and its punch of antioxidants. Anthocyanins actually block inflammation and pain enzymes in the same way as NSAIDs. They’ve even been shown to help athletes reduce muscle damage during long workouts, in addition to helping them recover faster.

For double the cherry goodness, why not consider this delectable Betty Crocker recipe for Cherry-Glazed Turkey with Dried Cherry Apple Stuffing. Altogether, it contains 2 cups of cherry goodness. That’s a lot of pain-fighting power, especially considering the fact that cherries have a higher antioxidant capacity than grapes, oranges, plums, raspberries and strawberries combined,.

You can also try pairing cherries with the other seasonal red fruit: cranberries. Like cherries, cranberries also pack a healthy punch, since they’re rich in vitamin C, fiber and, of course, antioxidants. Combining these two power fruits together makes for a truly pain-fighting – and delicious – dish. Try this simple, four-ingredient Martha Stewart recipe for Cranberry and Dried Cherry Relish to get your antioxidant fix this Thanksgiving.

Grab some Ginger

Ginger’s nausea-reducing properties aren’t all this root has going for it. It also acts as an effective painkiller. It’s anti-inflammatory properties are particularly effective against migraines, arthritis and muscle pain. It’s also been proven to reduce chronic knee pain.

Whip up some pain-fighting vegetables with this recipe for Orange-Ginger-Glazed Carrots. Not only do you get the anti-inflammatory goodness of ginger, but also the biotin, fiber, potassium and vitamin C from the carrots.

For another nutrient-packed dish, try this Food & Wine recipe for Cranberry, Ginger and Orange Chutney, which has all the antioxidant goodness of cranberries and the anti-inflammatory power of ginger, along with a supercharged punch of vitamin C from the oranges.

Add Some Spice

While hot peppers aren’t generally a central part of holiday cuisine, maybe it’s time for a change. Hot peppers like chilies, jalapenos, habaneros and cayenne peppers get their spicy kick from an ingredient called capsaicin. Capsaicin, which is present in many topical creams, can be helpful for reducing pain related to backaches, arthritis and muscle pain.

If you’re ready to add a little kick to your meal – and help reduce your pain in the process – consider making this Serious Eats recipe for Habanero-Brined Roasted Turkey. Altogether, the recipe calls for 10 habanero peppers, so get ready for some serious heat.

Make it Minty

Mint is not only an extremely versatile ingredient – showing up in recipes for drinks, sides, main courses and, of course, deserts – it’s also great when it comes to fighting pain. Specifically, mint is useful in combatting headaches and back pain, as well as treating muscle spasms .

Mint works especially well when paired with corn, which contains fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C and antioxidants. Add in the pain-reducing kick of jalapenos, and you’ve got a wallop of pain-fighting power. This Food & Wine recipe for Charred Corn Salad with Mint, Parsley and Cilantro might just make the perfect side dish.

If you’re not sick of carrots – or you want to replace the carbohydrates found in traditional mashed potatoes – here’s a Fine Cooking recipe for Carrot Mash with Orange and Mint. Together, the orange, carrots and mint provide a healthier alternative to traditional potatoes, and help your body block the enzymes that cause inflammation and pain.

Bon appetit!

Taken together, these Thanksgiving recipes can not only spice up your traditional holiday foods, but also help you and your family members decrease pain and inflammation. This holiday season, focus on your friends and family – not your pain.

For more pain-fighting recipes, check back in December for our Winter Toolkit, featuring expert advice from horticulturalist Melinda Myers.

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31 Oct

Thanksgiving is a time of family, food and fun; it shouldn’t be a time of pain. While the joys of good food and good company may distract you in part from your pain levels, here are five other easy tips to make this Thanksgiving the best one yet.

  1. Travel in comfort. Managing pain while you travel to and from your destination is just as important as managing it during your festivities – if not more. No matter how you’re traveling – whether by car, plane or train – utilize lumbar support to ensure a proper sitting position. Using something as simple as a pillow between your back and the seat can help you prevent lower back pain.

    Additionally, make sure you are sitting on your “sitting bones” instead of your tailbone (which may require you to sit on a small cushion or a rolled up towel). If you’re driving, plan various stops along the way to get out, stretch and walk around. If you’re flying or traveling by other means, try to get up and walk around every so often when it’s safe to do so.
  1. Add some pain-fighting foods to the menu. Lessening the levels of inflammation in your body is an important component of controlling pain. So on a day dedicated to food, why not set about lessening your pain levels with anti-inflammatory ingredients. Cherries, ginger, mint and hot peppers, for instance, can be a great way to add a new kick to your traditional dishes – and reduce your inflammation. For ideas on pain-fighting Thanksgiving recipes, check out this article.

  2. Avoid the alcohol. Alcohol can be detrimental to your pain in various ways. For one, it wreaks havoc on your quality of sleep, which, in turn, can worsen you pain levels the next day. For another, alcohol can interfere with many medications, including opioids. Alcohol slows down your nervous system (including brain activity) and painkillers slow down your respiration (including breathing). When you combine the two, the effects are magnified, causing a dangerous slowdown of your systems that can actually hasten an overdose. In fact, alcohol is a factor in almost18.5% of opioid-related emergency room visits and over 21% of opioid-related deaths.[1]

    In case you need another reason not to drink, alcohol can actually promote inflammation. The liver’s process of breaking down alcohol creates dangerous by-products, which can not only damage liver cells, but also increase inflammation throughout the body and weaken the body’s natural defenses.[2]
  3. Replace your after-dinner nap with a walk. Instead of sleeping off the turkey-related tiredness, shake it off with a brisk walk. When sitting down for a long meal, it’s inevitable that your joints will stiffen, which can often cause joint pain. Moving around actually lubricates those joints, decreasing your pain levels. So throughout the day, try to get some family members to join you in a walk around the block. Your joints will thank you.

  4. Stop and stretch. Throughout the day, whether you’re cooking, eating, cleaning or watching the big game, take some time to loosen up your muscles, which get stiff just like your joints. Here are some simple suggestions.
    • Neck stretch: Sit on your right hand and slowly lower your left ear down to your left shoulder until you feel a stretch in your right shoulder. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat two or three times on both sides.
    • Mid-back stretch: Pinch your shoulder blades together for three to five seconds. Repeat five times. This stretch can be done every 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Low back stretch: In a chair, rock forward on your seat, arching your lower back forward as much as you can. Then rock back and curve your back, with your chest moving toward your knees. Repeat this five times.
    • Hamstring stretch: While sitting, extend one leg out straight, bend forward and reach toward your toes until you feel a stretch behind your knee. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides.

For more stretches to reduce pain, download Advanced Pain Management’s comprehensive stretching guide, which contains step-by-step instructions on a variety of back and neck pain exercises, along with expert tips on exercise and posture.

Download your free stretching exercises for pain reduction

[1] CDC. “Alcohol Involvement in Opioid Pain Reliever and Benzodiazepine Drug Abuse–Related Emergency Department Visits and Drug-Related Deaths — United States, 2010.” October 10, 2014. Accessed October 7, 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6340a1.htm.

[2] National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Beyond Hangovers.” September 2010. Accessed October 7, 2016. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Hangovers/beyondHangovers.htm.

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