Whether it’s a headache, back strain, menstrual cramps, or joint pain, it doesn’t take most of us very long to reach for a bottle of pain pills. It doesn’t matter whether they’re prescription-strength or over-the-counter pills either; most pain medications are habit-forming and ineffective for long-term relief.
Chronic pain affects nearly one-third of the U.S. population, so you’re not alone in your struggle with pain. But did you know that the foods you eat can both provoke pain and soothe pain in your body?
Many processed foods and refined carbohydrates cause inflammation in the human body, which makes minor ailments feel unbearable. Meanwhile, there many fruits, vegetables, and herbs can provide substantial relief. These are some of our favorite painkiller foods and a few recommendations for managing pain the natural way.
Ginger is a root that’s most often associated with fighting nausea and motion sickness, but it also has significant anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown that ginger can give relief to women who suffer from painful menstrual cramping. It’s easy to incorporate ginger into your daily diet. Try it in Asian stir-fry vegetables, baked goods, and even tea!
According to AARP and Bahram H. Arjmandi, Ph.D., R.D., a professor at Florida State University, soy is a great food for people who suffer from osteoarthritis knee pain. Soy contains plant hormones that have anti-inflammatory properties, and one study found that diets with 40 grams of soy protein per day reduced the need for pain medication by half. Drinking soy milk and eating tofu are great ways to try out this theory for yourself.
Not only are cherries delicious, but they also contain antioxidants that prevent inflammation and pain enzymes. According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, adults who ate cherries noticed reduced inflammation by 25 percent.
Oranges and orange juice can do much more than just fight colds and the flu. This fruit contains antioxidants known as beta-cryptoxanthin, which has been studied for its positive effects on rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions.
One of the best natural foods for chronic pain is turmeric, an East Indian spice that has shown in research studies to be more effective in relieving pain than aspirin or ibuprofen. This is a great spice for people who suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other joint problems to stock in their pantries.
These are some other healthy foods that may give you further dietary support:
Other Ways to Support Natural Pain Management
Here are some other great ways to support a natural pain management plan with healthy, whole foods.
Shark Cartilage Supplements
Real shark cartilage is very effective in support of healthy joints. We recommend taking three capsules three times per day during the first 10-14 days of use.
Exercise, Stretching & Yoga
Have you heard of endorphins? Those are your body’s natural pain relievers and they’re released when you get your body moving! Just avoid exercises that make your pain worse, and try to incorporate yoga and stretching into your daily routine.
To learn more about fighting pain with food instead of drugs, pick up a copy of Dr. Neal D. Barnard’s book, Foods that Fight Pain or Dr. James A. Duke’s The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods.