Pain can make it difficult to get through the day. It makes you uncomfortable, restless, and unable to work efficiently. And, while a pain medication seems like a good solution to this, it remains a temporary solution to a long-term problem.
Statistics show that around 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain.1 Individuals with this kind of pain use more healthcare, have bad health, and experience more disability than those with less severe pain.
There are several alternative therapies, including acupuncture, spinal manipulation, massage therapy, relaxation techniques, tai chi, and yoga to ease chronic pain.2 But, a diet centered on foods that relieve pain might just speed up your recovery process. Here are 5 foods to include in your diet to aid pain relief
Who knew a juicy and delicious berry would make it to this list? Cherries decrease high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body. This protein is responsible inflammation and pain. Studies show that they relieve pain and stiffness due to osteoarthritis. They also relieve muscle pain due to running.3
Although there isn’t a specific recommended dosage, you could eat a handful of tart cherries, or drink a glass of tart cherry juice every day. If you’re an athlete prone to chronic pain, you could have tart cherry juice as a pre-workout drink.4 5
This popular root doesn’t just spice up food and ease a sore throat. Ginger contains properties that are similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) without the side effects.6 It is hence used to relieve pain caused by osteoarthritis.7
Ginger can also be used to relieve pain due to migraines, dysmenorrhea, and muscle pain due to exercise.8 9
In order to have ginger for pain and inflammation, stick to less than 4 grams a day. Pregnant women should not take more than 1 gram a day. For osteoarthritis pain, try 250 mg 4 times a day. Add ginger to tea, foods, or take a shot of ginger juice everyday.10
Here’s another reason for you to whip up a salad of greens. Spinach is rich in B vitamins and calcium, which reduce the symptoms of peptic ulcer, including chronic pain. It is also rich in vitamin K which relieves pain caused by arthritis.
In order to reap the benefits of spinach for your chronic pain, have two servings (2 cups) of spinach every day. You could add it to smoothies, a salad, or a Buddha bowl.11 12
The word peppermint is often associated with candy and chewing gum. But, it can be used for more than just flavor and aroma. Peppermint relieves headaches and muscle pain. It also relieves abdominal pain caused due to irritable bowel syndrome.13 14
You could incorporate peppermint in your diet by drinking peppermint tea 4 times a day. You can make this tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of peppermint leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Peppermint capsules and oil might also help with pain relief, but before you do use them, consult a medical professional.15
5. Omega 3 Rich Foods
Healthy fats are an important addition to any diet. Foods rich in omega 3 like fish, flaxseeds, olive oil, eggs, and nuts contain natural anti-inflammatory properties that relieve pain, swelling, and redness caused by arthritis.
Studies show that omega 3 rich foods are at par with pain medications like ibuprofen when it comes to relieving pain. The best part? They don’t have any of the side effects that pain medications have.16 17
There isn’t enough research to state just how much omega 3 rich foods you must have, however incorporating a variety of them in your diet should do the trick. Consult a doctor to clarify required dosages and quantities, especially if you plan on taking supplements.
Pain medications are addictive and their overdose has resulted in 48,000 deaths in America.18 They also come with side effects of their own. Hence, limiting your intake of pain medications and switching to pain relieving foods might help you relieve chronic pain, without harming your health further.
|↑1||NIH Study Shows Prevalence of Chronic or Severe Pain in U.S. Adults. American Pain Society.|
|↑2||Chronic Pain: In Depth. US Department Of Health And Human Sciences.|
|↑3||Kuehl, Kerry S., Erica T. Perrier, Diane L. Elliot, and James C. Chesnutt. “Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 7, no. 1 (2010): 17.|
|↑4||How Cherries Help Fight Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation.|
|↑5||Kuehl, Kerry S. “Cherry juice targets antioxidant potential and pain relief.” In Acute Topics in Sport Nutrition, vol. 59, pp. 86-93. Karger Publishers, 2012.|
|↑6||Rayati, F. “Anti Inflammatory and Analgesic Effect of Ginger Powder in Dental Pain Model (GPE).[Cited 2012 July 10].”|
|↑7||Altman, Roy D., and K. C. Marcussen. “Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.” Arthritis & Rheumatology 44, no. 11 (2001): 2531-2538.|
|↑8||Black, Christopher D., Matthew P. Herring, David J. Hurley, and Patrick J. O’Connor. “Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise.” The Journal of Pain 11, no. 9 (2010): 894-903.|
|↑9||Maghbooli, Mehdi, Farhad Golipour, Alireza Moghimi Esfandabadi, and Mehran Yousefi. “Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine.” Phytotherapy research 28, no. 3 (2014): 412-415.|
|↑10||Ginger. University Of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑11||Peptic ulcer. University Of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑12||The Ultimate Arthritis Diet. Arthritis Foundation.|
|↑13||Grigoleit, H-G., and P. Grigoleit. “Peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome.” Phytomedicine 12, no. 8 (2005): 601-606.|
|↑14||Göbel, H., J. Fresenius, A. Heinze, M. Dworschak, and D. Soyka. “Effectiveness of Oleum menthae piperitae and paracetamol in therapy of headache of the tension type.” Der Nervenarzt 67, no. 8 (1996): 672-681.|
|↑15||Peppermint. University Of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑16||Maroon, Joseph Charles, and Jeffrey W. Bost. “ω-3 Fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain.” Surgical neurology 65, no. 4 (2006): 326-331.|
|↑17||Maroon, Joseph C., Jeffrey W. Bost, and Adara Maroon. “Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief.” Surgical neurology international 1 (2010).|
|↑18||Prescription Painkiller Overdoses. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention.|