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MIAMI (CBS4) – Relief from everyday aches and pains may be as simple as opening your refrigerator or pantry.

A big part of living in South Florida is living life naturally. More and more people are choosing to do that by pushing prescription or non-prescription medication aside and eating foods that will help them feel better.

“I’m in pain all the time, my back and my neck,” said Bruce Cuneo.

“I was swollen and not feeling good, fatigued and I couldn’t get out of bed,” said Melinda Farina.

While Cuneo and Farina each suffer from different debilitating conditions, they are both being treated with foods to help cure them.

“Here is are so-called anti-inflammation foods like vegetable oil, fish, walnuts, those things that are going to reduce the swelling, inflammation,” said Cuneo pointing out his new dietary standards. “I eat properly, I try to. I love fish, I like salmon. I like olive oil, I use extra virgin olive oil on everything. We’ve really streamlined my diet big time and added in a lot of beets, a lot of really good vegetables and fruits.”

Farina, 30, has gallstones.

“I didn’t want to go the route of taking out my gallbladder, that was scary for me,” said Farina.

She knew she needed relief. Before she turned to surgery, however, she met with nutritionist Robin Kaiden.

“You want quick pain relief, you take a pill and ‘bam’ things get better,” said Kaiden. “But what people don’t know is food, like olive oil, has a compound in it that acts like ibuprofen in your body and spices like turmeric can act like Motrin with the side effect.”

Many health experts say there are foods that can be fixes for a variety of aches and pains. For example, honey is known to soothe a sore throat; blue berries, garlic and onions can help reduce inflammation; the magnesium in oatmeal can help prevent migraines as can black coffee. Even the heat in hot peppers can make you feel better.

“Capcasin is the compound in hot peppers that’s definitely known as anti-inflammatory. If you think about it, medication originally came from natural sources, plants and foods, and we are really trying to promote a health diet and lifestyle to step away from having too many medications,” said registered dietician Rachel Wantiak.

Through changes in diet, Wantiak is working with Cuneo to reduce his chronic pain from arthritis.

“If you’re eating foods high in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, these are certain elements in foods that actually help reduce inflammation and therefore reduce pain,” said Wantiak.

If you are considering an eating lifestyle change which could impact your health, experts suggest you check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications.


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