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Slowing Pains

A nutritional approach for easing chronic pain

July 2024

The foods we eat can also play a powerful role in reducing inflammation and alleviating chronic joint pain. (Photos by Rawpixel from freerangestock.com, thebittenword.com via Flickr Commons, Steve Buissinne via Free Range Stock, Jakub Kapusnak from stocksnap.io)

by Vanessa LaFaso Stolarski, Contributing Columnist

Some people claim to be able to predict the weather by joint pain flare-ups, but barometric pressure isn’t the only culprit and medicine isn’t always the only answer. While medications may provide some temporary relief, some come with undesirable side effects. Fortunately, the foods we eat can also play a powerful role in reducing inflammation and alleviating chronic joint pain.

Inflammation is a common trigger for most chronic pain conditions. When the body senses injury, it prompts the release of fluid. This system is a natural mechanism designed to protect the affected area from further damage. The fluid surrounds organs or joints like a bubble until healing is complete. However, just as any organic matter will do when submerged in liquid for too long, the tissue will eventually degrade and break down. This is why prolonged inflammation is often a catalyst to other serious health conditions.

Understand the root cause of chronic joint pain and harness the healing power of nutrition with the following strategies:


Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, as well as in plant sources like walnuts and flaxseeds, are potent anti-inflammatory powerhouses. These healthy fats help regulate the body’s anti-inflammatory response, which reduces swelling and alleviates pain. Aim for 2,000-3,000 mg daily.


Berries, turmeric and leafy greens like mustard, beets or turnips can neutralize harmful free radicals and combat inflammation. These natural compounds not only reduce in ammation but also protect against chronic diseases.


Nobody says you have to completely eliminate french fries from your life, but too much of a good thing can exacerbate pain. Processed meats, fried foods and sugary beverages are known to promote inflammation and should be limited.


Water helps flush out toxins and supports the body’s natural healing process. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses daily and incorporate hydrating fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, watermelon and tomatoes into your diet.


While a well-balanced diet should be the foundation of any anti-inflammatory approach, certain supplements can provide additional support. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been shown to have potent anti-in ammatory properties. Other supplements like fish oil, ginger and bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapples) may also help.

Remember, chronic pain management is relative to the individual, and nutrition is just one piece of the puzzle. Consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to develop a comprehensive plan tailored to your specific needs and health conditions.

Vanessa LaFaso Stolarski is a certified nutrition counselor, weightlifting coach, life coach and stress-management specialist.

All health-related content and media provided by Cooperative Living or its website(s) is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.