10 Natural Pain Relieving Foods: Why You Need Them in Your Diet
Food to manage your pain? Include these 10 anti-inflammatory foods in your diet.
Pain is your body’s way of catching your attention – so pay attention. Usually the cause is simple and can be easily remedied, provided you know what it is (maybe you pulled a muscle). But sometimes the reasons are hidden, so you cannot be sure about what caused it. Very often though inflammation in the body is a common reason why it hurts so much. And that is why including foods that can help relieve inflammation naturally to your daily diet is a smart move.
Papaya contains an enzyme, papain, that is very potent at fighting pain. It is believed to be so effective that it is used in an injectable form for back pain. This potent anti-inflammatory is also known to relieve pain from burns, sting and wounds, and helps ease post-operative pain. Papain also slows the blood-clotting mechanism, which improves circulation and boosts the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the inflamed area, thus easing pain and boosting recovery.
Eat it: Two to three times a week
Salmon is king when it comes to netting the myriad benefits of fish oil. The fish story is this: All fish have fats called omega-3s, but salmon is one of the richest sources. And omega-3s are turning out to be major players in the prevention of pain causing inflammation. This healthy fish actually helps reel in one of the shadiest characters implicated in rheumatoid arthritis inflammation, leuko-triene B4. A significant drop is found when salmon is added to the diet.
Eat it: Have two servings of salmon in a week
Not only do they have the potential to lower blood cholesterol, stabilise our blood sugar levels, they also help combat inflammation by preventing the synthesis of chemicals called prostaglandins which are involved in inflammation. Herbalists have long used oats as a tranquilliser.
Eat it: Eat a large bowl of cooked oat bran or one cup of oatmeal every other day.
Ginger can help fight pain, including aching joints from arthritis as well as menstrual cramps. In fact some studies show it to work especially well for muscular pain. This effect is due to the active medicinal ingredients in ginger - phytochemicals known as gingerols and shogoal. No wonder this natural anti-inflammatory root, has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese to cure pain.
Eat it: Have it regularly in your meals
Turmeric is a rhizome, or root stalk, and has been used around the world (particularly in Ayurveda) as traditional pain easing herbal medicine. Multiple studies are now proving that turmeric contains active ingredients (curcumin in particular) that can provide relief to those suffering from painful conditions like arthritis, gastric discomfort, migraine headaches and post-surgical pain.
Eat it: Include half a tsp in your daily diet. And black pepper can help your body absorb it, so try a blend of the spices, steeped with ginger and honey into a tea. Or just add both spices to milk and drink.
Seeds and Nuts
Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and peanuts contain tryptophan. This chemical helps reduce pain sensitivity. And pumpkin seeds in particular are very effective in reducing pain as they are a terrific source of magnesium, a mineral that has been known to cut the number of migraines you get.
Eat it: Have one tbsp every day
Red grapes (and, to a lesser extent, green grapes) have resveratrol in their skin. Resveratrol inhibits the pain and inflammation causing COX enzyme, which is what NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) do.
Eat it: Twice a week when in season
Virgin Olive Oil
This oil has a compound called oleocanthal, that works like a painkiller. It also has lubricin, which protects cartilage from breaking down and thus help people with osteoarthritis.
Eat it: Use it at least three times a week to make a salad.
There are some phytonutrient compounds in cherries called anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants. These are said to block inflammation and inhibit pain enzymes, just like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
Eat it: Twice a week when in season.
Chewing on peppermint doesn’t just freshen your breath, but the menthol in it also helps prevent muscle spasms. No wonder it is called herbal aspirin.
Eat it: Brew mint tea for any type of pain. Pour boiling water over peppermint leaves and steep until the tea is as strong as you like.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of ‘Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico).' Her next book ‘Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa)‘ will be out in September.)
(Subscribe to FIT on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter Now.