Michele Chevalley Hedge - Nutritionist

Michele is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner and is a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. Michele is one of Australia’s leading nutritionists with three international books, a radio program, Cure Cancer Ambassador, Jamie Oliver Ambassador, Mental Health Finalist for Australia 2016, and Highly Commended Practitioner of the year.  She likes to regard herself as more of a nutritional researcher, as she is often combining her clinic practice with her evidence based research. 

Pain prevention: 5 essential foods you need to introduce now

Spice up your life


Turmeric is the king of our antioxidant anti-inflammatory spices. In clinical studies, turmeric extracts reduced oxidative stress, inflammation, pain and swelling in inflammatory joint conditions.[1]Turmeric also shows therapeutic potential in many other chronic diseases.[2],[3]

Tip: - Turmeric is poorly absorbed so add a little to food often. It is best absorbed with black pepper.[1] Add grated turmeric to porridge, soups, casseroles, avocado, humus and whatever else takes your fancy. Try a Turmeric chai almond milk latte instead of a coffee (Bring water/milk to boil add chopped turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon and add almond milk to taste).


The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger have been known and valued for centuries and are now backed up by modern scientific studies.[4] Ginger works in the body in a similar way to NSAIDs.[4],[5] Ginger has been shown to be helpful in osteoarthritis[5],[6] and menstrual pain.[7] Be mindful that ginger is a blood-thinner, so caution is needed with patients taking anticoagulants.[5]

Tip: - Grate a centimetre square of ginger into a tea pot or clean coffee plunger, add some slices of lemon, lime or orange. Add hot water and sip – also enjoy cold.

Tip: - Try a bit of cinnamon, another wonderful antioxidant, on porridge or in buckwheat pancakes instead of sugar to add flavour. It’s also known to help with blood sugar regulation.[8]

Omega 3 foods

Sources of Omega 3 include fish, walnuts, flaxseed (linseed), chia seeds. Choose grass-fed meats and kangaroo for a relatively higher level of omega 3 than grain-fed domesticated cattle.[9] Daily omega 3 intake is linked to reductions in inflammation,[10],[11] pain and could help to maintain cardiovascular health and have a preventative effect in other chronic diseases.2,11

Tip: - Have at least two serves of small oily fish a week, such as sardines or mackerel. Add two dessert spoons of ground flaxseed and some walnuts to muesli, porridge or smoothies for fibre, protein and omega 3s.

Celery preparations have been used extensively for several millennia as a natural therapy for acute and chronic painful or inflammatory conditions.[12] Recently, extracts from celery have been studied in the laboratory and have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.[12],[13]

Tip: Try celery and ginger juice with ice and mint for a refreshing, cooling and calming drink.


Teas to calm the body and the mind

Mint and fennel tea are soothing to the digestive system.[14] Add liquorice for sweetness.

Liquorice is also a great herb with anti-inflammatory effects. Use liquorice with caution if there is a history of hypertension.[15]

Chamomile helps with sleep, reduces anxiety and is also anti-inflammatory, especially to the digestive system.[16]

Passion flower, valerian, hops and lemon balm are great for sleep and anxiety.[17]

Green tea is high in antioxidants and a gentle pick me up.[18]



[1] Chin KY. The spice for joint inflammation: anti-inflammatory role of curcumin in treating osteoarthritis. Drug design, development and therapy. 2016;10:3029-42. PubMed PMID: 27703331. Pubmed Central PMCID: 5036591

[2] De Gregori M, Muscoli C, Schatman ME, Stallone T, Intelligente F, Rondanelli M, et al. Combining pain therapy with lifestyle: the role of personalized nutrition and nutritional supplements according to the SIMPAR Feed Your Destiny approach. Journal of pain research. 2016;9:1179-89. PubMed PMID: 27994480. Pubmed Central PMCID: 5153285.

[3] Aggarwal BB, Harikumar KB. Potential therapeutic effects of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory agent, against neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases. The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology. 2009 Jan;41(1):40-59. PubMed PMID: 18662800. Pubmed Central PMCID: 2637808.

[4] Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG. Ginger--an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. Journal of medicinal food. 2005 Summer;8(2):125-32. PubMed PMID: 16117603.

[5] Bartels EM, Folmer VN, Bliddal H, Altman RD, Juhl C, Tarp S, et al. Efficacy and safety of ginger in osteoarthritis patients: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Osteoarthritis and cartilage. 2015 Jan;23(1):13-21. PubMed PMID: 25300574.

[6] Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis and rheumatism. 2001 Nov;44(11):2531-8. PubMed PMID: 11710709.

[7] Ozgoli G, Goli M, Moattar F. Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine. 2009 Feb;15(2):129-32. PubMed PMID: 19216660.

[8] Dugoua JJ1, Seely DPerri DCooley KForelli TMills EKoren G. From type 2 diabetes to antioxidant activity: a systematic review of the safety and efficacy of common and cassia cinnamon bark. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 Sep;85(9):837-47.

[9] Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition journal. 2010 Mar 10;9:10. PubMed PMID: 20219103. Pubmed Central PMCID: 2846864.

[10] Ticinesi A, Meschi T, Lauretani F, Felis G, Franchi F, Pedrolli C, et al. Nutrition and Inflammation in Older Individuals: Focus on Vitamin D, n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Whey Proteins. Nutrients. 2016 Mar 29;8(4):186. PubMed PMID: 27043616. Pubmed Central PMCID: 4848655.

[11] Li K, Huang T, Zheng J, Wu K, Li D. Effect of marine-derived n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on C-reactive protein, interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha: a meta-analysis. PloS one. 2014;9(2):e88103. PubMed PMID: 24505395. Pubmed Central PMCID: 3914936.

[12] Powanda MC, Whitehouse MW, Rainsford KD. Celery Seed and Related Extracts with Antiarthritic, Antiulcer, and Antimicrobial Activities. Progress in drug research Fortschritte der Arzneimittelforschung Progres des recherches pharmaceutiques. 2015;70:133-53. PubMed PMID: 26462366.

[13] Abdoulaye IA, Guo YJ. A Review of Recent Advances in Neuroprotective Potential of 3-N-Butylphthalide and Its Derivatives. BioMed research international. 2016;2016:5012341. PubMed PMID: 28053983. Pubmed Central PMCID: 5178327.

[14] Yarnell Eric and Abascal Kathy. Spasmolytic Botanicals: Relaxing Smooth Muscle with Herbs

 Alternative and Complementary Therapies. June 2011, 17(3): 169-174. https://doi.org/10.1089/act.2011.17305

[15] Yang R, Yuan BC, Ma YS, Zhou S, Liu Y. The anti-inflammatory activity of licorice, a widely used Chinese herb. Pharmaceutical biology. 2017 Dec;55(1):5-18. PubMed PMID: 27650551.

[16] Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: a herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Report. 2010 November 1; 3(6): 895–901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377.

[17] Sarris J1, Panossian ASchweitzer IStough CScholey A. Herbal medicine for depression, anxiety and insomnia: A review of  sychopharmacology and clinical evidence. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2011 Dec;21(12):841-60. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2011.04.002. Epub 2011 May 23.

[18] Fan FY, Sang LX, Jiang M. Catechins and Their Therapeutic Benefits to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Molecules. 2017 Mar 19;22(3). PubMed PMID: 28335502.

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Food for thought: Is Your Diet Hindering Your Pain Management?

Pain is a pain! We know that pain can be caused by trauma, such as a fall or a pulled muscle. Many of us also succumb to muscle pain and headaches simply caused or aggravated by dehydration and poor posture. But did you know that pain can also be the result of our diet and lifestyle?[1]

Poor diet and lifestyle contribute to oxidative stress, which has been associated with conditions causing inflammation and pain. Inflammation is part of the underlying cause that drives many acute and chronic conditions.[2] By reducing inflammation we can also help to reduce the symptoms of pain. Nutrition can absolutely play a part in reducing inflammation that can lead to pain, which can affect our daily life and prevent us from taking part in the activities that we love. Yes, the simple act of eating the right foods can help reduce your pain.

Pain can affect people’s emotional well-being, their relationships with friends and family, and their ability to fully enjoy life. Pain can also negatively affect our sense of self-worth which can lead to poor choices about diet and health, as we feel we are “not worth looking after”. It is easy to see how pain can be a vicious cycle! So, what positive steps can we take today to reduce pain and its impact to help us function optimally so that we live life to the full?

Foods that fuel the fire

As inflammation drives pain a simple strategy is to reduce foods that cause inflammation in the body. Reduce your intake of processed, fried and baked foods such as pies, fried anything, chips and biscuits. Takeaway food can be very high in salt, sugar and unhealthy fats so choose your takeaway wisely. Eat meat in moderation and, if possible, eat grass-fed beef rather than grain-fed and game, such as a kangaroo, for a healthier and less inflammatory fat profile.[3]

The NHRMC guidelines for alcohol consumption for healthy men and women are no more than two standard drinks on any one day. Alcohol can increase inflammation in the body so keep alcohol consumption within recommended guidelines.[4] There is also new emerging evidence that gluten may be inflammatory.[5]

The biggest special mention goes to sugar in all its forms. They are the petrol on the fire of inflammation.[6] It may be hard to resist desserts, pasta, bread, pastries, chocolate bars, sodas, even fruit juices. Sugar goes by many secret names so look out for any word ending in “ose,” e.g. fructose or sucrose on ingredient labels.

 Maintaining a healthy weight is important in reducing pain. Excess fat produces more of these inflammatory messengers. Growing evidence suggests that there is a strong relationship between obesity and chronic pain; they co-exist and feed each other.[1]1

Foods that quench the fire

Eat a rainbow of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables. The more varied the colours of the fruit and vegetables and the more varied the types you chose through the seasons, the more varied the antioxidants, nutrients, fibre and the greater the contribution to good health.

A diet deficient in fruits and vegetables with excessive meat consumption may make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

Fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress.[7] Green leafy vegetables such as bok choy, spinach and broccoli are high in calcium, which is great for bone health, and magnesium, which helps reduce muscle tension. Be mindful that your lowest sugar fruits will always be berries, apples and pears. 

Drink eight glasses of water a day, as dehydration can cause muscle tension and headaches. Dehydration can also cause fatigue which can sometimes cause us to reach for that sugary snack to boost our energy. Do not confuse hunger for thirst.

Eat fermented food with live cultures regularly for gut and immune health, such as full fat yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, tempeh and kim chi. Sugar, fats and processed carbohydrates can lead to an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria that can contribute to inflammation.[8],[9] A healthy balance of gut bacteria may even contribute to mood regulation.[10]

Prebiotics are foods that promote the growth of good gut bacteria, generally foods that contain fibre. So feed your good gut bacteria with prebiotic foods, which help support healthy gut bacteria for great health.[11]



[1] De Gregori M, Muscoli C, Schatman ME, Stallone T, Intelligente F, Rondanelli M, et al. Combining pain therapy with lifestyle: the role of personalized nutrition and nutritional supplements according to the SIMPAR Feed Your Destiny approach. Journal of pain research. 2016;9:1179-89. PubMed PMID: 27994480. Pubmed Central PMCID: 5153285.

[2] Poljsak B, Milisav I. The neglected significance of "antioxidative stress". Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity. 2012;2012:480895. PubMed PMID: 22655114. Pubmed Central PMCID: 3357598.

[3] Daley CA, Abbott A, Doyle PS, Nader GA, Larson S. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition journal. 2010 Mar 10;9:10. PubMed PMID: 20219103. Pubmed Central PMCID: 2846864.

[4] Wang HJ, Zakhari S, Jung MK. Alcohol, inflammation, and gut-liver-brain interactions in tissue damage and disease development. World journal of gastroenterology. 2010 Mar 21;16(11):1304-13. PubMed PMID: 20238396. Pubmed Central PMCID: 2842521.

[5] de Punder K, Pruimboom L. The dietary intake of wheat and other cereal grains and their role in inflammation. Nutrients. 2013 Mar 12;5(3):771-87. PubMed PMID: 23482055. Pubmed Central PMCID: 3705319.

[6] Aeberli IGerber PAHochuli MKohler SHaile SRGouni-Berthold IBerthold HKSpinas GABerneis K. Low to moderate sugar-sweetened beverage consumption impairs glucose and lipid metabolism and promotes inflammation in healthy young men: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;94(2):479-85. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.013540. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

[7] Lara HH, Alanis-Garza EJ, Estrada Puente MF, Mureyko LL, Alarcon Torres DA, Ixtepan Turrent L. Nutritional approaches to modulate oxidative stress that induce Alzheimer's disease. Nutritional approaches to prevent Alzheimer's disease. Gaceta medica de Mexico. 2015 Mar-Apr;151(2):245-51. PubMed PMID: 25946535. Nutricion que previene el estres oxidativo causante del Alzheimer. Prevencion del Alzheimer.

[8] Houghton D, Stewart CJ, Day CP, Trenell M. Gut Microbiota and Lifestyle Interventions in NAFLD. International journal of molecular sciences. 2016 Mar 25;17(4):447. PubMed PMID: 27023533. Pubmed Central PMCID: 4848903.

[9] Maslowski KMMackay CR. Diet, gut microbiota and immune responses. Nat Immunol. 2011 Jan;12(1):5-9. doi: 10.1038/ni0111-5.

[10] Vlainic JV, Suran J, Vlainic T, Vukorep AL. Probiotics as an Adjuvant Therapy in Major Depressive Disorder. Current neuropharmacology. 2016;14(8):952-8. PubMed PMID: 27226112. Pubmed Central PMCID: 5333591.

[11]Slavin J. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients 2013, 5, 1417-1435; doi:10.3390/nu5041417.

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7-Day anti-inflammatory diet plan

Enjoy the sample weekly menu (found in the download section) to help beat inflammation and pain. This menu is low in sugar and gluten and high in whole, unprocessed food. Make sure to include adequate protein in each meal to keep you going and lots and lots of vegetables. Add turmeric, cinnamon and ginger to foods and drinks to boost anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants. Make sure you drink around two litres of water or herbal teas a day. Reduce sugary carbohydrates such as sport drinks, fruit juice, sweetened yogurt, ‘healthy muesli bars’, soft drinks, bread, pasta and white rice, they interfere with our blood sugar regulation causing inflammation, low mood and low energy. 

Tip: -. Minimise processed foods. Think whole, real food as often as possible, food that is unpackaged and unprocessed.  Include protein and fibre in every meal for satiety and weight loss. Include two pieces of fruit a day but avoid fruit juice which is very high in fructose.

Tip: - Swap your boring processed carbohydrates such as bread and pasta for chickpea, legumes, quinoa, and sweet potato, garlic mash or roast a variety of seasonal vegetables (beetroot, onions, pumpkin, parsnips, swedes) and store in the fridge.  Add these to salads and frittatas or simple scrambled eggs.

Tip: -Prebiotic foods to feed your healthy gut bacteria: -  garlic, onion, leek, shallots, spring onion, asparagus, beetroot, fennel bulb, green peas, snow peas, sweetcorn, savoy cabbage, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, soybeans, cashews, pistachio nuts, watermelon, grapefruit, pomegranate

Tip: - Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Set yourself up right for the day with the correct fuel to help you focus and perform at your best. If you are time-poor, prepare it the night before in a container that you can grab and run. Quick, low sugar breakfast ideas take less time to prepare than reading your morning Facebook messages or email inbox!


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