Can food help you fight pain? It sure can.
By Kevin Whipps
Some people discount pain as one of those things that we just have to live with. Just pop a few ibuprofen pills and forget it, right? But what about when things get more serious? Or what if you don’t want to medicate your problem? How do you handle it then?
What if we told you there are a few foods you can eat that will help you with your problem? That would be pretty sweet, right? Turns out there are lots of pain-fighting foods out there — sweet to the taste and otherwise — that act as herbal remedies. Let’s take a look at some of these helpful treats to see what they can do for you.
Can help: general inflammation, headaches, muscle pain, achy joints, stomachaches Sore joints? Aching back? Headaches? All of these can benefit from an anti- inflammatory medicine — or, ginger. Taking a daily ginger supplement can help reduce muscle pain and ease joint issues. Oh, and it’s also great for relieving stomachaches.
Can help: general inflammation, stomachaches, achy joints
If you’re in need of a food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, look no further than salmon. The miracle fish can help relieve stress-related stomachaches and reduce inflammation in the joints, which alleviates symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Can help: headaches
As you hit that drive-thru in the morning to fill up with a nice hot cup o’ joe, just remember you’re doing your head a favor. Some studies show that a 16-ounce cup of coffee (which contains 200 mg of caffeine) can help eliminate a headache. However, caffeine addicts may also develop headaches when they don’t get enough, so be aware of the potential consequences.
Can help: arthritis, muscle pain, general inflammation
Cherries get their dark red color from a compound named anthocyanin that also serves as an antioxidant. Cherries can reduce inflammation and act like a natural ibuprofen by stopping pain enzymes. Here’s a top tip: Look for sour cherries, as they tend to provide the most bang for your buck.
Can help: Inflammation, minor aches and pains
Olive oil has long been used in the Mediterranean as a natural cure for ailments. It performs similarly to omega-3s, which cut back on inflammation, and to cherries, in that it can act like a natural form of aspirin.
Can help: inflammation
If you’ve ever eaten curried Indian food, chances are pretty good you’ve had turmeric. This is yet another anti-inflammatory food, which derives its power from curcumin. Here’s a top tip: Use turmeric with pepper, as the black pepper contains piperine, which helps to better release the curcumin.
Can help: headaches, IBS
Some call mint the herbal aspirin because it helps prevent muscle spasms (one of the issues found in IBS sufferers) and relieves minor aches. If you suffer from headaches, try mint tea to soothe symptoms. All you need are peppermint leaves and hot water to make a delicious, minty tea that should knock that pain out of the park.
Can help: inflammation, achy joints
Handy to have the next time you meet a vampire in a dark alley, garlic also has anti- inflammatory properties and acts similar to ibuprofen. Because of that, it’s also great for relieving achy joints.
Can help: arthritis, osteoporosis
An Oklahoma State University study found that just 1/4 cup of shelled edamame eaten daily over two to three weeks can help with arthritis- or osteoporosis-related pain, thanks to the soy protein it contains. And if edamame isn’t your thing, you can try other soy-rich options to reap the benefits.