Food & Diet
7 Foods to Eat to Make the Pain Go Away
Whether you are feeling pain after an intense workout session, you have a headache due to a cold or you simply went through lots of stress which caused you pain in some area of your body, sometimes you choose to deal with it and wait for it to pass, and sometimes you reach for pills. But it doesn’t have to be that way – research has shown that certain foods can alleviate pain just as effectively as painkillers. Maybe it sounds unbelievable, but those healthy fruits and vegetables that we’re trying to eat as much as we can in order to boost our immune system and get in enough nutrients can also make the pain go away. So here are the foods you should reach for the next time you feel pain and once you realize how powerful they can be, you’ll never take painkillers again.
You can buy ginger root in almost every supermarket. It is called a wonder root, not only because it contains amazing levels of antioxidants and helps with weight loss and several health conditions, but also because it has pain healing, anti-inflammatory properties. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine also showed that powdered ginger can help relieve even menstrual pain, equally effectively as ibuprofen. Ginger can be taken with tea, cookies or added to different foods, so it’s really not necessary to eat it on its own if its taste is too strong for you.
Cherries contain compounds known as anthocyanins (the phytonutrients that give cherries that color) which are very potent antioxidants that relieve pain in two ways, according to Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, natural products chemist at Michigan State University’s College of Agricultural and Natural Resources. They block inflammation that could be causing the pain, as well as inhibit pain enzymes, which means that they act similarly to aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-infammatories. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate cherries for breakfast saw a 25% reduction in inflammation symptoms, including pain. Cherries have been shown to reduce muscle pain after a strenuous workout as well as enhance endurance for a workout, so they are a good addition to an athlete’s diet as well as the diet of all other people.
3. Salmon, herring and sardines
If you’re feeling back, neck or joint pain, these fish can help you relieve it. These areas usually hurt when blood vessels aren’t able to effectively transport essential nutrients and oxygen to their disks and, according to Neal D. Barnard, MD, author of Foods That Fight Pain, without oxygen and nutrients these areas begin to degenerate and pain is a common consequence of that. These fish, when they are low in mercury (meaning that they are wild caught away from industrial places) can help the blood vessels do their job effectively, thus making the pain go away.
One tablespoon of this spice per day can help you get rid of the pain in your joints as well as speed up your digestion. Scientists have found that turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties due to its curcumin content and it can also prevent tissue damage and joint inflammation as well as preserve proper nerve cell function. You can introduce it into your diet by sprinkling it over salad dressings or putting it into grain pastries. Or, you could use it in cooking, but in that case you should use the pepper mill and in combination with black pepper because it releases the curcumin from the turmeric.
Around 20 percent of Americans who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome inevitably deal with lots of pain. Many of them are prescribed with medications to treat their conditions, reduce pain and inflammation, but according to a 2010 study, bacteria contained in yogurt can be just as effective as those drugs and prevent bloating, pain and inflammation. One or two 8 ounce-containers per day should be enough to help you get rid of the pain. However, only those yogurts that contain probiotics (live and active cultures) can help, so choose wisely.
When you’re struggling with a headache, caffeine can help you reduce that pain by narrowing the dilated blood vessels that widen due to a headache, according to Andrew Weil, MD, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. 2 cups of coffee in one day should be enough to heal your headache, but be careful as if you drink too much you could experience the opposite effect, and have to deal with an even stronger headache.
Peppermint can be good for the freshness of your breath, but there are more benefits to this herb. The menthol in it can prevent muscle cramps and its oil is commonly used to treat irritable bowel syndrome as well as headaches.
In order to fully experience the pain relieving benefits of peppermint, you could chew it fresh, buy its oil or, as botanist James A. Duke, PHD suggests – brew mint tea and it will help you with any kind of pain. He recommends pouring boiling water over fresh peppermint leaves and steeping them as long as you want (until the tea is as strong as you like it).