Can Food Reduce Muscular Tension?

I often wondered whether food could reduce muscular tension, after all, it had a huge impact on my fatigue and energy levels when I was recovering from ME Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

It may come as a surprise that your diet can be easily adjusted very simply by way of food or supplements to ensure efficiency and well-being throughout your body.

Below is a list of various food sources and supplements which are easily incorporated into your daily intake which are easy to source. There also are some additional items listed at the bottom that may be slightly trickier to obtain but are easily obtained via the internet.

Magnesium- what helps and what doesn’t

A Magnesium deficiency can leave you feeling anxious, and stressed as well as affecting muscles (tension) try peanuts which are a great source of Magnesium.  On a personal note I have found that whenever I feel stressed cashews and pistachios seem to make me feel calmer….or perhaps it’s just I was a squirrel in my previous life 😉

Great Sources of Magnesium: beans, nuts and vegetables.

 Caffeine can cause magnesium loss. Foods with caffeine include coffee, tea, some energy drinks and bars, and some types of soda

Soy milk is high in phytoestrogens as well as magnesium, however, some suggest soy is unhealthy to eat in large quantities because it may raise oestrogen levels and suggest it may cause thyroid problems.

 Foods for pain and inflammation relief

There are no hard and fast rules, however, but the results of studies and case histories suggest that these foods may be helpful. It is interesting to remember that in China and other Eastern countries arthritis is almost unheard of- the suggestion is that it is diet and weight issues which cause and worsen the condition in many (but not all types) Arthritic conditions:

Anchovies: Three-and-a-half ounces of anchovies contain almost a gram and a half of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids help regulate the prostaglandins, which play a role in inflammation and, hence, pain. However, anchovies are extremely high in sodium, so if sodium sensitivity or water retention is a problem for you, choose a different kind of fish.

Apples: Not only can an apple a day keep the doctor away, but it may also help to hold your arthritis at bay. Apples contain boron, a mineral that appears to reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Moreover, when boron was given to people who already have the disease, it helped relieve pain.

Bromine can be brought in tablet form or you can use its more common (and easily available) form of Pineapple- fresh dried tinned or juice.- a wonderful anti-inflammatory.

Cantaloupe: This sweet fruit contains large amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene, the plant form of vitamin A. These two powerful vitamins help to control the oxidative and free-radical damage that may contribute to arthritis.

Chile peppers: Chilies contain capsaicin, which gives the peppers their heat. These vegetables also help block pain by encouraging certain nerve cells to run through their supply of substance P, which they normally use to help transmit pain signals.

Curry: A combination of spices that often include turmeric, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and so on, curry contains powerful antioxidants that may help relieve inflammation and reduce pain.

Fish: The omega-3 fatty acids in Norwegian sardines, Atlantic mackerel, sablefish, rainbow trout, striped bass, and other fish may help reduce inflammation and pain.

Fish oils contain high levels of Vit D (known for its anti-inflammatory & pain-reducing properties). However, due to high levels of toxins in our oceans, it may be safer to look for alternatives- one friend has recommended BioCare’s DriCelle Cod Liver Oil powder, or Higher Nature’s Omega -3 Fish oil.

Garlic: An ancient treatment for tuberculosis, lung problems, and other diseases, garlic also appears to relieve some forms of arthritis pain. Although never tested in large-scale, double-blind studies, garlic has been found helpful in many case reports. These helpful benefits may be due to the fact that garlic contains sulphur, which has been known for many years to help relieve certain arthritis symptoms.

Grapes: are good sources of the mineral boron, which is important for strong bones.

Mango: A sweet treat, mangoes are packed with three powerful antioxidants: 90 per cent of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) for vitamin C, 75 per cent of the daily dose of beta-carotene, plus vitamin E.

Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts are good sources of boron, a mineral that helps keep bones strong and certain arthritis symptoms at bay.

Nightshade-Family Vegetables: aubergine, peppers (bell peppers, cayenne, chilli peppers, paprika), potatoes (not sweet potatoes nor yams) and tomatoes have been linked to joint pain (which has sometimes been misdiagnosed as arthritis). This is due to Solanine (a slightly toxic substance which doesn’t affect the majority of people, however, by omitting them from your diet for 4/6 weeks you can see if any of these items are causing you a problem.
Tobacco is also a member of the nightshade family and can cause pain in the same way.

Papaya: Long used as a folk medicine for diarrhoea, hay fever, and other problems, a single papaya contains three times the RDA for the antioxidant vitamin C, plus more than half the daily allotment of beta-carotene.

Water: Drinking eight glasses of water per day can help battle gout by flushing uric acid from the body. Eight glasses are also the amount most health experts recommend to keep your body moisturized and healthy.

Neal Barnard, M.D. (author of several books including foods that fight pain) makes several suggestions- the following is a list of foods that may increase pain, the worst culprits are as follows. The suggestion may be to avoid or limit them, Personally, I feel it is worth avoiding or reducing items you have a high intake of and finding the one(s) that don’t suit you!

alcohol coffee chocolate citrus fruits
corn dairy eggs meat
nuts salt sugar wheat
tea barley oats rye


Other considerations, particularly for anti-inflammatory purposes:

Glucosamine– research has shown that this product has a very similar effect as products (e.g.) Nurofen, It is derived from shellfish so avoid it if you have a severe allergy. There is a vegetarian alternative which is derived from corn. All of my clients have reported notable benefits from glucosamine. Do confirm with your GP that there is no reason why you should not use it.

Sulphur is said to have an effect on connective tissue (muscles, ligaments & tendons etc) It is claimed to soften and relax thus releasing tensions. I personally find this very effective,

Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties, ginger, curcumin and Boswellia herbs (you can purchase these herbs in tablet form and you usually take 3-4 daily)

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