1. Choose pain-safe foods. Reduce inflammation by avoiding foods that may be causing or aggravating your pain.
2. Add soothing foods that ease pain. Different foods may improve blood flow, relieve inflammation, or balance hormones.
3. Use supplements if needed. Herbs, extracts, and vitamins can relieve pain.
Barnard explores a variety of medical conditions, such as migraines, arthritis, digestive problems, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes, herpes, sickle-cell anemia, kidney stones, urinary infections, and back, chest, breast, menstrual, and cancer pain. For each, Barnard explains the causes of the pain and what dietary changes are likely to alleviate it, with exercise and lifestyle recommendations. Barnard backs up his points with 30 pages of research citations.
Most of the recipes are quick to prepare, and include an elimination diet to avoid trigger foods. A nutritional breakdown (calories, fat, protein, carbohydrate, and sodium) accompanies each recipe. Following the advice in this book will not only relieve your pain, but increase your overall health. Highly recommended. --Joan Price
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
-?Lily Liu, Arkansas Children's Hosp. Lib., Little Rock
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
--Andrew Weil, M.D., author of 8 Weeks to Optimal Health and Spontaneous Healing
"Dr. Neal Barnard is a brilliant visionary, one of the leading pioneers in educating the public about the healing power of diet and nutrition. In Foods That Fight Pain he offers scientifically based rationales for nutritional therapies to help alleviate the everyday pains for which conventional medicine often has so little to offer. This may be one of the most practical and useful books you'll ever read. I highly recommend it."
--Dean Ornish, M.D., President and Director, Preventive Medicine Research and author of Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease
"Neal Barnard's book separates the wheat from the chaff in nutritional literature."
--Benjamin Spock, M.D.
"If we all were more careful in our choices of food and drink, our health would improve enormously. Dr. Barnard has been advocating healthful nutrition for many years. His message is beginning to be heard."
--William C. Roberts, Editor-in-Chief, American Journal of Cardiology, and Director, Baylor Cardiovascular Institute
"Dr. Barnard's Foods That Fight Pain is an incredibly valuable resource. I eagerly anticipate providing it to our patients."
--Ron Cridland, M.D., Health Promotion Clinic
"Dr. Neal Barnard is the only person who has both the scientific background and the knowledge of nutrition to write this book. It will, in a natural way, free many people from pain and eliminate their need for drugs that cause dangerous side effects."
--Henry J. Heimlich, M.D., President, The Heimlich Institute
"Today, after years of testing, discarding, and refining, we have arrived at a revolutionary way of thinking about pain. Research studies have given us the scientific basis not only for why foods work this magic, but also how to put it to use. This book translates these powerful new laboratory findings into simple steps that you can use."
--Neal Barnard, M.D., from the Preface
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Foods can fight pain. In the pages ahead, we'll discuss how this works, and specifically which foods or supplements will be most effective for your pain, along with recipes for turning those foods into delicious meals. But for the moment I want to establish something important: There is nothing speculative or far-out about the premise that foods can fight pain. On the contrary. The ideas presented in this book are drawn from a wealth of new research from prestigious medical centers around the world.
Years ago, findings showing that foods work against pain, even pain in its most severe forms, emerged as tentative and sometimes controversial theories. Physicians and scientists then rigorously investigated these concepts in human research volunteers. Today, after years of testing, discarding, and refining, we arrived at a revolutionary way of thinking about pain. Research studies have given us the scientific basis, not only for why foods work this magic, but also how to put it to use. This book translates these powerful new laboratory findings into simple steps that you can use.
Nutrients work against pain in four ways. They can reduce damage at the site of injury, cool your body's inflammatory response, provide analgesia on pain nerves themselves, and even work within the brain to reduce pain sensitivity.
The most important approach for you depends on the kind of pain you have. If you have arthritis, your goal is to stop the joint damage along with the pain. If you have cancer pain or chest pain, you can choose foods to affect the disease process itself. If you have shingles, diabetic nerve pains, or carpal tunnel syndrome, you need to fix a problem within the nerves. If you have a chronic backache, headaches, abdominal pain, or cramps, you just want the pain to disappear. Specific foods can help with all of these.
Different Foods for Different Kinds of Pain
Research studies have revealed special effects of certain foods and nutrients, as we will see in detail in the chapters that follow. Rice or peppermint oil, for example, can soothe your digestive tract. Ginger and the herb feverfew can prevent migraines, and coffee sometimes cures them. Natural plant oils can reduce arthritis pain. Cranberry juice can fight the pain of bladder infections. Vitamin B6 can even increase your pain resistance, to name just a few.
Whether we are talking about back pain, migraines, cancer pain, or anything else, there are three basic principles to using foods to fight pain. I will spell them out briefly here and, in the chapters that follow, will show you how to apply them.
Choose pain-safe foods. In headaches, joint pains, and digestive pains, for example, the key is not so much in adding new foods as in finding out which foods have caused your pain and avoiding them, while building your meals from foods that virtually never cause symptoms for anyone.
In the Lancet of October 12, 1991, arthritis researchers announced the results of a carefully controlled study that tested how avoiding certain foods could reduce inflammation. Often the culprits were as seemingly innocent as a glass of milk, a tomato, wheat bread, or eggs. By avoiding specific foods, many patients improved dramatically: pain diminished or went away, and joint stiffness was no longer the routine morning misery. The same benefit has been seen for migraines. While there are also benefits to be gained from certain supplements, particularly natural anti-inflammatory plant oils, identifying your own sensitivities is an enormously important first step.
Sugar may affect pain, at least in certain circumstances. As we will see in chapter 12, researchers at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis tested its effects on a group of young men. They attached a clip to the web of skin between their fingers, and wired the clip to an electrical stimulator. They gradually increased the voltage, and asked the men to say when they felt any pain and at what point they found it intolerable. As the researchers then infused a dose of sugar, the volunteers found that they could feel the pain sooner and felt it more intensely. The researchers then tested diabetics, who tend to have more sugar in their blood than other people, and found that they too were more sensitive to pain than other people.
What would it mean if some part of your diet, whether it was sugar or anything else, were to cause pain to hurt just a bit extra, without your realizing what was causing this problem? In fact, there are many foods that trigger pain and aggravate inflammation. Choosing pain-safe foods is as important as bringing the special healing foods in.
Add soothing foods that ease your pain. Foods that improve blood flow are of obvious importance in angina, back pain, and leg pains. Foods that relieve inflammation help your joints to cool down. Other foods balance hormones and will come to your rescue if you have menstrual pain, endometriosis, fibroids, or breast pain. Hormone-adjusting foods have also been the subject of a considerable amount of research in cancer, as we will see.
Use supplements if you need them. I encourage you to explore the benefits of herbs, extracts, and vitamins that can treat painful conditions. Some have been in use for a very long time and have been tested in good research studies, as we will see. Do this under your doctor's care, so that a nutritional approach can be integrated with other medical measures as needed, and so that you have a solid diagnosis.
Why Didn't My Doctor Tell Me?
In presenting the information in this book, I have given particular emphasis to dietary approaches that have been tested in reputable research studies. Science usually begins with anecdotal observations, followed by small research studies that establish the foundation for more controlled studies. I will not avoid these two lines of evidence if that is the best we can do in certain areas, but the better the test, the more confidence we can have that a new approach will actually do what it is supposed to. I have included references to scientific journals for those who would like to refer to them, as well as information about treatments that are just now emerging.
Unfortunately, your doctor is not likely to tell you-and may well not know--most of what you will read in this book. In treating pain, many doctors rely on a very restricted range of treatments, while vital research showing what is actually causing the problem and how to correct it very often gathers dust in medical libraries.
The fact is, when a shiny nugget of potentially life-saving information appears in a medical journal, very few doctors will ever even see it. For even the most conscientious doctors, it is a challenge to keep up with more than a few of the thousands of journals that appear every month, even though the very answers we are seeking might be found there. Only a handful of these journals ever publicize their findings in the popular press. The vital information they hold is simply buried in medical archives.
Of course, it is a very different story when a research study favors the use of a new drug. Then the drug company will hire a public relations firm, pay for massive mailings to physicians, and advertise in medical journals. The company will sponsor medical conferences that highlight the role of the drug and pay speakers to discuss it. They are skilled at getting a busy doctor's attention, motivated by millions of dollars in profits. But no industry makes money if you stop eating a food that causes your migraines. No surgical supply company makes a cent if you open your arteries naturally through diet and lifestyle. A pharmaceutical company's bottom line does not improve if you use natural anti-inflammatory foods instead of expensive drugs. And without the PR machinery paid for by industry, some of the most important findings never make their way onto a doctor's desk. Patients with arthritis, migraines, menstrual cramps, or even cancer who ask their doctors what they should be eating to regain their health get no answers, simply because no one has brought new information to the doctor's attention.
In spite of the economic forces that often slow progress, we have every reason to be optimistic about the future of medicine. More and more doctors are integrating nutrition into their practices, and scientific journals are responding with reports on its efficacy. Studies in leading allergy journals are showing the links between migraines and food sensitivities, the Journal of Rheumatology has published a series of reports on how foods affect the joints, The Lancet is reporting the new approaches to back pain and heart disease, and the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms the value of something as simple as cranberry juice for bladder infections.
Use What Works
When it comes to our health, we simply want what works. Very often that means a change in diet, since every hormone, neurotransmitter, and blood cell in your body needs nutrients in order to do its job. On the other hand, sometimes the best choice is a prescription. Most ulcers, for example, are caused by a bacterial infection, and all the "ulcer diets" in the world are not nearly as effective as two weeks of antibiotics. In fact, I have included information on treating ulcers with drugs just so you can get back to the foods you may have been missing.
Please use the information in this book in consultation with your doct...