Achy joints, dreadful migraines, chronic back pain, toothache, stomach cramps, eye strain… the list goes on.
We are all struck by some sort of ache and pain at some point in our lives.
And for most of us, the natural reaction can be to reach for the painkillers.
But, have you ever stopped to think about why pain actually occurs, and if there is anything you can do to curb it, other than popping pills?
Pain is often an expression of inflammation in the body, explained Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com.
Here, she and her fellow experts, reveal how you can reduce inflammation and get rid of pain, simply by changing your diet.
‘It’s time to say “no”, to painkillers and manage your pain naturally,’ Ms Wilkinson told Daily Mail Online.
1. GET YOUR FIVE-A-DAY
It is one health message that no-one can claim to be unaware of – eating five pieces of fresh fruit or vegetables each day is beneficial to a person’s general health and wellbeing.
However, a specific benefit of eating a rainbow of colours, is that it can also help to get rid of pain, Ms Wilkinson said.
‘They are alkalising to the body,’ she explained.
‘One of the most important aspects of reducing inflammation and pain is to ensure a good acid-alkaline balance in the blood.
‘Most fresh vegetables are alkalising, in particular green vegetables such as spinach, rocket, broccoli or green beans – aim to include two servings a day of these.
‘Most fruits are also alkalising, although eat them in moderation due to the sugar content.’
Fellow nutritionist, Cassandra Barns, added: ‘They are high in antioxidants, which neutralise free radicals produced at the site of inflammation.
‘You can find them in dark-coloured berries, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach and the orange vegetables and fruit such as carrots, sweet potato and apricots.’
Ms Barns said if you are struggling to hit the five-a-day target, it can be beneficial to take a supplement, such as Natures Plus AgeLoss First Day Healthy Inflammation Response – a complex of antioxidant-packed botanicals, including grape seed, bilberry and blueberry.
‘They are also packed in vitamin C,’ Ms Wilkinson added.
‘Vitamin C contributes to the normal function of the immune system (that governs inflammation) and to the normal formation of collagen for the health of cartilage and bones.
‘Think: red cabbage, kiwi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and papaya.’
Fats in our diet are metabolised in the body and turned into ‘local hormones’, known as prostaglandins.
Ms Wilkinson explained: ‘Depending on the type of fat, these local hormones can either increase inflammation or reduce it.
‘There is evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids reduce it. In contrast, omega-6 fatty acids are linked to increasing inflammation (ones that are found particularly in red meats and dairy products).’
Dr Marilyn Glenville, a leading nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar, said: ‘Good sources of omega-3 fats are oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel and halibut.
‘Aim to have a serving of these around three times a week.
‘Other good (vegetarian) sources of omega-3 fats are flaxseeds (linseeds) and chia seeds.
‘Buy cold-pressed flaxseed oil or chia seed oil and use it in your salad dressing.’