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iVillage: Foods That Fight Chronic Pain

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Factor in Fish

The oils in salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies and many other fish can help reduce inflammation, and studies show they may lessen pain and improve other symptoms of conditions including arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) and severe menstrual cramping and pain. The omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA ) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in fish are believed to reduce pain and inflammation in the body by minimizing the body’s production of certain pain-stimulating substances including prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxanes. In studies, women with severe menstrual symptoms who consumed fish oils were able to stop taking their ibuprofen or other medication, or at least take less. Other studies of people with rheumatoid arthritis find that fish oil consumed alone can reduce pain and inflammation; when taken with other medication, it can have a synergistic effect, improving symptom relief so that you might need less of your medication. Talk to your doctor about the best way for you to get more fish oil into your diet. If supplements are not recommended, simply adding one or two more fish meals per week to your diet may help reduce your pain without side effects.

(CREDIT: Daisy Gilardini/The Image Bank/Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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