Ease Pain With Pain-Fighting Foods

Doctors, prescriptions and exercises—they all can work wonders for pain management. But incorporating one or two simple ingredients into your diet could magnify the progress you’re already making.

Many naturally occurring proteins, fats and antioxidants can help you treat both everyday and chronic pain. And some super foods help fend off degenerative diseases and cancers. Use this guide to plan a diet that can fight pain for you.

Headaches

  • Coffee and caffeine help treat agitated blood vessels during a headache and strengthen pain medication. But there is such a thing as too much caffeine, so be careful.
  • The menthol in peppermint can prevent muscle spasms, so rub a little oil on your temples or wrists to alleviate pain. Inhaling the aroma or steeping leaves like a tea also will move the process along.
  • Dubbed “Mother Nature’s muscle relaxant,” tahini paste, made from sesame seeds, is packed with magnesium, which diminishes muscle tension and spasms.

Digestive Issues

  • It might seem counterintuitive, but the “live and active cultures” in yogurt will help reduce the pain and bloating of IBS.
  • Beat ulcers without antibiotics. Cranberry juice blocks H. pylori, the pathogen that attacks the protective lining of the digestive system. Grab an all-natural juice to avoid sugar, which could make matters worse.

Back Pain

  • Tap into the powerful enzyme papain, used in injections to relieve back pain and sold over the counter. You also can get a substantial dose by eating fresh papaya.

Arthritis

  • You may not like spicy food, but those with arthritis will love the relief of capsaicin. Found in hot peppers, this ingredient diminishes a chemical that transmits pain signals to the brain. If your stomach can’t handle it, look for topical aids.
  • Osteoarthritis can be difficult to treat, but research points to soy products as a possible help. Go for edamame, tofu and tempeh.

Meredith Quinn is an associate editor at Pain-Free Living.

Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.