Since I was a young teen, I have suffered with back pain. I can remember spending countless classes at school just waiting for the bell to ring so I could finally get up off the uncomfortable chairs and have a good stretch. In fact, waiting in long lines, sitting at the family dinner table, and even just trying to sleep would all cause me to be severely uncomfortable.
And I know I'm not alone. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, around 80% of us will experience some form of back pain at some point in our lives. And just like myself, many people turn to anti-inflammatories and painkillers to help manage the pain - but this is something people can become reliant on, and that can, in turn, lead to further health implications.
So, what can you do about back pain? For a short time, I turned to chiropractors, but this was an expensive solution and only offered me short-term relief. Then I started doing yoga every day, and, personally, this has been incredibly beneficial. But yoga is not for everyone - so what is the cheapest way to combat back pain?
Well, according to one orthopedic surgeon and nutritionist, eating sweet potatoes every day can actually help prevent back pain.
So how and why does this work? Well, sweet potatoes are naturally high in beta-carotene, which works to impede on inflammation in the body, scientists have found. Sweet potatoes also contain powerful antioxidants that have an anti-inflammatory effect.
“Changing your diet and finding some anti-inflammatory food to eat can help combat back pain,” said Dr Prpa.
For an amazing sweet potato recipe, check out the video below:
“Sweet potatoes can also help you reduce inflammation. Some consider the sweet potato a ‘superfood’, which means that it’s packed with nutrients.
“That includes nutrients that can help you prevent inflammation. A sweet potato makes for an easy side dish for dinner. Pair it with fish like salmon for double the anti-inflammatory effectiveness.”
Salmon could also help to reduce an individual's back pain due to its anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, Prpa added. Omega-3s are also found in other types of fish, such as tuna, sardines, black cod, and herring. Prpa explained that omega-3s work by relieving inflammation and boosting the blood flow to the back.
Other vegetables high in beta-carotene include carrots, winter squash, spinach, and kale, and it can even be found in fruits like cantaloupe and apricots.
What makes sweet potatoes so amazing is the fact their incredibly easy to get hold of, they're delicious, they can be cooked a variety of ways for a variety of meals, and they so cheap, with the average sweet potato costing around thirty cents.
They're also incredibly filling, a rich source of fiber, as well as containing a good array of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, selenium, and they're a good source of most of our B vitamins and vitamin C.
In fact, with Thanksgiving coming up, many families in America now opt for sweet potatoes as their "root vegetable of choice", over the traditional yam.
And while we're on the subject, it is always worth noting that keeping active is also one of the greatest ways to prevent back pain. Activities like walking, swimming, yoga, and pilates have all been proven to help with back pain.
And if you're somebody who doesn't like sweet potatoes, you can always use a frozen bag of peas as a cold compress!
And for one more sweet potato recipe, check out this simple mouth-watering treat below: