Many of us turn to nutritionists or dietitians when we want to plan a menu that will help us lose weight, but it turns out that you’ll want to get their professional advice even in cases where you feel dizzy, you have a cold, or experience unexplained abdominal pain. All these are cases in which we are usually in a hurry to reach for the medicine cabinet, but you may want to go to the refrigerator first. The following sections include foods that nutritionists and dietitians choose to eat when they encounter various types of pain, and you may want to adopt them as part of your first aid kit.
1. Colds or flu
“When I’m down and out with a winter bug, I reach for hot soup with ginger, garlic, chicken, and carrots,” says Georgie Fear, a dietitian specializing in gastrointestinal disorders. “Hot liquids help clear clogged up nasal passages, and ginger and garlic may aid in the immune system and ease an upset stomach. Fluids are important for the immune system to do its work, as are protein in the chicken and vitamin A in the carrots.” It helps the body to fight a cold, and its combination with vegetable soup prevents inflammation, and since it’s one of the easiest things to make, you won’t have to spend much time in the kitchen to help yourself feel better.
2. A headache
“When I have a headache, it’s usually because I’ve done a poor job hydrating or I skipped my morning coffee,” says Pamela Bede, a sports dietitian, and nutrition sciences expert at the University of Miami. “That means that I will be reaching for water first and, if that doesn’t work, adding in some caffeine from antioxidant- and potassium-rich java.” If the recommendation seems strange to you, note that most of the drugs that fight headaches contain caffeine. Caffeine constricts blood vessels in the brain, making it a quick solution for reducing severe headaches. However, if the source of your headaches is stress, Debra Nessel, a dietitian at Torrance Medical Center in California, recommends eating a handful of almonds. “They act as a pain reliever because they contain salicin, which is also an agent in popular over-the-counter painkillers.” Because of this, they act as natural remedies for everything and always help with aches and pains.
To calm her stomach, Nessel chooses to add a little ginger powder to her green tea. “You can add it to any foods, either freshly grated or as a powder, to help relieve stomach aches and nausea,” she says. This recommendation is in line with research conducted at the University of Exeter in the UK, where Ginger was found to help fend off nausea and vomiting problems of all kinds, whether its stomach upset, seasickness or even chemotherapy. “If things haven’t gotten graphic and I just feel queasy, I’ll also eat some dry starchy foods to help calm my stomach,” says Fear, claiming that eating some animal crackers, pretzels, or cheerios, will make you feel better.
4. Asthma attacks
Although you may not be able to part with your inhaler completely, there are still nutritional recommendations that you may be happy to apply and adopt. Fear recommends slowing the inflammatory processes that may cause the onset of an attack by eating blueberries or raspberries for dessert. The polyphenols contained in these berries are useful for reducing the immune system’s sensitivity and therefore useful in reducing attacks.
5. Menstrual pain
“Because I often want to eat everything I see,” says Fear, “I try to stock up on fresh fruit.” The physiological and hormonal processes accompanying menstruation cause many women to develop a desire for sweets, but processed sugars in chocolates and other snacks may actually worsen various menstrual symptoms. The natural sugar in the fruit, on the other hand, has a lower glycemic value, so it can enjoy the taste without suffering the side effects. At the same time, fruit is rich in potassium which helps regulate the fluid balance in the body, thus reducing bloating that also affects quite a few women.