A large percentage of Americans, and many people all over the world, live with chronic, long-term pain. Treating chronic pain can be difficult; managing pain even in a clinical setting is hit or miss. The most common treatment for pain is medication, but there are other methods to help alleviate pain. These other methods include: exercise, massage therapy, stretching and yoga, meditation, brainwave entrainment, and more, up to an including physical therapy and even surgery to correct the cause of the pain.
But what if by making small changes in the foods that you eat every day, you could eliminate or reduce your pain, in conjunction with these other therapies? Well, it might sound too good to be true, but I’ve learned from experience and many medical and healthcare professionals agree: certain foods can help cause pain and others help alleviate it.
So that means by changing your diet to eliminate foods that cause pain and increase or add the foods that help manage or relieve pain, you will feel better and eat healthier. If you’ve lived with chronic pain, you know how debilitating it can be, so before you reach for that pain pill, consider instead reaching for one of these food items:
(Image Source: Mercola Articles)
Foods to Reduce Chronic Pain
Dark Cherries Relieve Pain
These little wonders are my favorite part of summer, and I’ll eat them right out of the bag from the grocery store. As with any produce, opt for organic if you can find them, because they’ll be healthier, and be sure to rinse them and clean them properly before eating. Dark cherries contain anthocyanins, which Dr. Oz says is similar to aspirin in how it tells the body to turn off pain signals. I don’t know if it’s clinically proven that dark cherries help relieve pain, but I do know I often crave them when I’m hurting, and my favorite comfort food is a dark cherry frozen yogurt that I only allow myself as a treat, so maybe there is something to the idea that dark cherries can help relieve pain.
Eat Papaya to Relieve Pain
Papaya contains papain, which is a powerful enzyme that is used in medicine and meat tenderizing, for pretty much the same reason. It helps break down the tough connective tissue in meats and leave them soft and tender. For humans, the papaya skin and the fruit itself both can help reduce inflammation and pain. In fact, doctors have used a papaya extracted papain as the base for a medication that is used to inject directly into the spine for back pain relief.
This enzyme is also sold in capsule form, concentrated, as well. If you eat the papaya, you get the added health benefit of the fruit, the antioxidants and the fiber of the fruit too. These amazing fruits are great for smoothies, sorbets, or just eating raw and fresh, even if you’re not experiencing pain, but if you are, adding this fruit to your diet might just help reduce pain significantly.
Turmeric Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Turmeric, the active ingredient in turmeric spice, is a well-known anti-inflammatory, and as such, turmeric can help relieve pain that’s associated with inflammation. WebMD indicates that studies have shown turmeric supplementation helped reduce pain in those with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric can be eaten as a dried spice on foods, grated and used fresh as a root on salads, vegetables and meat dishes, mixed into broths and soups and more. You can also buy it in capsule form or make your own capsules with organic turmeric spice and empty gelatin capsules you can buy in most health food stores.
Ginger Root Relieves Pain like Turmeric
Similar to turmeric, ginger root can relieve pain. You can suck on raw ginger to reduce nausea and vomiting and to help ease a stomach ache as well. Ginger root is great for sucking on after dental work to help numb the mouth and reduce inflammation and pain, and it has some antibacterial properties which might help fight infections. Ginger is an amazing root and adding it into your foods is super easy. Simple grate the fresh ginger root and add into just about anything savory that you’re making, or consider trying candied ginger as a nutritious and chronic pain-relieving snack.
Salmon Helps Fight Pain
An AARP article indicates that salmon, when eaten twice per week, can reduce chronic pain, particularly pain related to inflammation. It also indicated salmon might help prevent or reduce the pain of migraines while helping with certain painful autoimmune conditions too. Be careful with salmon to buy humanely wild-caught salmon, avoid farmed salmon due to modifications made to the fish. Also, watch for dyes and artificially colors added to salmon. Ask the fish monger/butcher at your local grocery store for more information about your salmon to make sure it’s the healthiest it can be to help you relieve your pain.
Other Foods That Help Fight Pain
Soy: Soy is known to help fight chronic pain, especially back pain, but I have a hard time recommending it because it’s tough to find non-GMO soy.
Caffeine: Caffeine also helps a lot with pain, but it’s tough to recommend because, for some people, caffeine can have some serious side-effects. If caffeine doesn’t trigger problems for you, such as rapid heart rate, sweating, jitteriness, and you’re not a heart patients, then caffeine is definitely something to consider. After all, it’s one of the active ingredients in Excedrin Migraine.
Grapes: Red grapes in particular have powerful antioxidant properties but they also contain resveratrol, which is shown to help protect cartilage, and that helps with arthritis pain through prevention.
Cranberry Juice: Helps with ulcers and urinary tract infection pain.
Mint: Helps with muscle spasms and overall pain, when chewed can help with headaches and migraines. The essential oil can also be used topically to help relieve pain.
Spices: Peppers, hot ones, any pepper with capsicum in it, can help reduce pain by causing the brain to release certain chemicals that help combat pain. If you can handle the heat, peppers sure can help take your pain away. Hot sauces, salsas, spicy foods, or just take the powder and put it in a capsule and swallow. Pepper rubs also have been shown to help topically, but be careful, since some people are allergy sensitive to these nightshade family vegetables.