What to eat to alleviate shoulder pain

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - 2016/06/12: Mango mousse cake close up: Delicious pastry with strawberries and chocolate shards. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - 2016/06/12: Mango mousse cake close up: Delicious pastry with strawberries and chocolate shards. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

As many as a quarter of all Americans endure shoulder pain at some point. Despite how common such disorders are, they can cause significant suffering and disability.

A holistic approach is best for many health issues. If you want quick relief from shoulder pain, attacking the ache from several fronts works better than one method alone. Although you can’t spot-decrease agony any more than you can spot-reduce body fat, enriching your diet with anti-inflammatory foods can speed up recovery.

What are the best foods for shoulder pain that can help you feel better faster? Here’s what to eat to ease the ache.

Quick Relief From Shoulder Pain — Causes and Treatments

Before diving into diet, let’s take a quick look at the causes and treatments for common shoulder injuries. Shoulder pain sometimes arises from an acute injury, like a broken bone or dislocation. However, it more frequently occurs because of chronic ailments like arthritis and bone spurs, exacerbated by poor posture and repetitive motion.

Treating shoulder pain can take various forms:

  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Injections
  • Pain medications
  • Massage
  • Braces
  • Holistic approaches, like yoga and dietary management

Your physician will ultimately determine the treatment regimen that’s right for you. However, nothing can stop you from applying self-help measures if you can’t afford care or complementing your current regimen with holistic therapies.

The idea is to keep your body from working against your purposes. The best pain medications in the world won’t be as effective if you’re riddled with systemic inflammation stemming from a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy habits like smoking. The right self-care measures bring quick relief from shoulder pain — or any other ailment you might face.

Best Foods for Shoulder Pain to Aid in Your Recovery

Now that you understand how shoulder pain can start and how it’s treated, let’s dig into the chow. What are some of the best foods for shoulder pain to aid in your recovery? Here’s a list.

1. Turmeric
This root spice contains curcumin, one of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances known in the natural world, especially when combined with black pepper for better absorption. Fortunately, it’s also a staple in most Indian cuisine, and whipping up a healthy curry could help you find quick relief from shoulder pain.

Why not try this 5-ingredient lemon-turmeric quinoa to speed recovery? Quinoa is an ancient grain that’s safe for folks with gluten sensitivities, delivering healthy fiber and added protein:

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (or a tablespoon of lemon juice)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons powdered turmeric
  • Salt and black pepper to taste (the pepper is essential for bringing out the curcumin)

Stir everything together and enjoy!

2. Hot Peppers
What earns hot peppers a spot on the list of the best foods for shoulder pain? It’s a not-so-secret ingredient called capsaicin, the stuff that makes you sweat. You’ll spy this ingredient if you look at the labels of many OTC shoulder pain relief creams. It works as an external salve, but it also helps ease inflammation when taken internally.

Luckily, you can get creative with hot peppers in your cooking, cooking the burn with seafood like a contestant on Master Chef or chopping them into salsa for topping your tacos. The amount of capsaicin is measured on a Scoville scale, but don’t think you have to go ghost pepper fiery to reap the benefits — even a mild serrano provides perks.

3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower contain various antioxidants to ease systemic inflammation. They also act as a “cleanse” of sorts by filling your body with healthy fiber.

Fiber adds bulk to your stool, helping ease the go and giving your large intestines a nice “scrubbed” feeling. It also nourishes your intestinal microbiota, a colony of beneficial bacteria that sends messages to your brain. Some of these communications affect your immune response — and inflammation levels.

4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If you’re concerned about your heart health, you probably keep extra virgin olive oil on hand at all times. This stuff is glorious for making bread dippers and adorning holiday canapes with none of the saturated fat you’ll find in butter.

EVOO has a relatively low smoke point, so it’s not your best bet for stir-frys. However, it’s glorious over pasta or as part of a salad dressing.

5. Fatty Fish 
Fatty fish is your best food source of omega-3 fatty acids. These wonders are powerhouses for reducing inflammation. Studies show that they reduce the production of molecules, such as cytokines, that scientists link to systemic inflammation.

You should eat fatty fish at least twice a week for best results. Perhaps celebrate fish fry Friday and take a tuna salad sandwich for lunch?

6. Avocados
Avocados contain a combination of healthy fats and antioxidants that make them an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. They’re so beneficial that they can even offset the effects of less healthy choices — so pairing guacamole with that ground beef taco in the deep-fried shell is a wise idea.

Even though avocados are high in fat, they’re the type your body needs. One study found that people who paired avocado with hamburgers had a reduced inflammatory response and didn’t increase their triglycerides compared to those who had the patty alone.

7. Berries
Berries are rich in antioxidants. How do they fight inflammation? They prevent free radicals from damaging your body’s cells, which alerts your immune system that there’s trouble afoot.

Fortunately, berries are a snap to include in your diet. Sprinkle a few over your oatmeal or salad — the dried ones last about forever, making them friendly for tight food budgets.

8. Dark Chocolate
Do you want a sweet way to fight inflammation? Reach for some dark chocolate. While the milky kind has some perks, you want the deep stuff for the greatest antioxidant punch.

Fortunately, dark chocolate pairs divinely with berries. Why not treat inflammation and enjoy a decadent dessert with this 6-ingredient vegan berry chocolate tart?

  • 1 sheet vegan puffed pastry
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 30 grams dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vegan butter

Place your puffed pastry on a greased baking sheet. Mix your strawberries, sugar and vanilla in a separate bowl and place around the pastry. Fold the edges of the tart and brush butter on the edges. Bake for 15 minutes, remove, add chocolate and bake for another five minutes or until golden.

What to Eat to Alleviate Shoulder Pain 

A holistic approach is best when you want quick relief from shoulder pain. You should follow your treatment regimen as directed by your doctor, complemented by your healthy lifestyle.

Try the best foods for shoulder pain above to fuel your recovery. You’ll feel back to your old self in no time.

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