Instead of reaching into the medicine cabinet the next time you’re plagued by bothersome body pains, try reaching inside the fridge. Are you suffering from knee pain? Then drink some soy milk. Is your sore back troubling you? Try some fresh salmon. Certain foods can actually deliver as much pain-fighting power as over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Plus, foods don’t have the dangerous side effects associated with some pain-relief medications, making them the likely healthier choice.
From fresh fruits like cherries and grapes, to herbs and spices like ginger and turmeric, to fish and soy products, you can alleviate pain and discomfort with a few simple, healthy foods.
Below are 6 foods that can help fight pain.
1. Red Grapes…and Red Wine!
Red grapes, as well as blueberries and cranberries, contain resveratrol, a powerful compound that blocks the enzymes associated with tissue degeneration. Evidence has shown that resveratrol can help protect against cartilage damage that causes back pain.
Another option is to drink a glass of red wine—good news for the wine enthusiast!
“Resveratrol in red wine is far more easily absorbed due to the form it is in,” says researcher Xin Li, M.D., Ph.D., a biochemistry instructor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
In addition to acting as a digestive aid, ginger is also an effective painkiller. Ginger helps to relieve pain by blocking an enzyme responsible for inflammation. According to a study in Miami, nearly two-thirds of patients suffering from chronic knee pain reported less soreness after taking a ginger extract.
Studies have found that soy’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce osteoarthritis knee pain by over 30 percent. Food options include: soy milk, tofu and edamame.
Turmeric, a spice commonly found in many Indian dishes, has been found to fight the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis as effectively as ibuprofen. It can also inhibit the destruction of joints from arthritis.
The key to cherries’ pain-fighting power lies in their high levels of antioxidants called anthocyanins. One study found that subjects who consumed 45 Bing cherries every day for 28 days significantly experienced a decrease in inflammation. Another study found that drinking a cherry-juice beverage reduced symptoms of muscle damage among men who exercised regularly. Anthocyanins can also be found in strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.
Fish, like salmon, that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help relieve inflammatory pain associated with migraines, rheumatoid arthritis and some autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease. Patients who have increased their fish consumption or taken a fish oil supplement have also reported reduced neck and back pain. Great fish options include: halibut, salmon, sardines, Atlantic mackerel, trout, light tuna, striped bass and snapper.
For examples of healthy recipes incorporating many of these powerful foods, request a copy of our Comfort Foods Cookbook or Smoothie Recipes Booklet.
For more helpful tips visit Home Care Assistance at www.homecareassistance.com or call 1-866-4-LiveIn.