10 Pain Fighting Foods

September 10, 2014 in STSMPT

More than one-third of the U.S. population suffers from chronic pain. While it is easy to grab some over-the-counter pain meds, they can produce side effects and often fail to eliminate the true cause of the pain. We have proven treatments to help with serious pain, but did you know your own food choices could be part of your pain management strategy? This is what Dr. Neal D. Barnard says in his book Foods that Fight Pain.  Here is a sampling of the advice found in Dr. Barnard’s book.


  1. Cherries- Anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant in cherries, target arthritis and muscle pain by blocking inflammation and inhibiting pain enzymes.
  2. Ginger- ¼ teaspoon of ginger each day can soothe the stomach and ease nausea. In addition, it is an anti-inflammatory and can offer relief from migraines, arthritis pain, and muscle aches. Ginger can be easily incorporated into your diet by adding it to tea, lemonade, or juice.
  3. Cranberry juice- In addition to fighting off urinary tract infections, a daily cup of cranberry juice can help prevent ulcers.  However, bottled juices tend to be high in sugar, so consider this benefit against the risks of increase sugar intake.
  4. Salmon, herring, and sardines- A couple of 3-ounce servings of fish low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acid each week can help relieve back, neck, and joint pain. Omega-3s improve blood flow, limit inflammation in blood vessels and nerves, provide cardiovascular protection, and elevate mood.
  5. Turmeric- This curry spice has many benefits including relieving pain, speeding up digestion, protecting the body from tissue destruction and joint inflammation, and preserving good nerve cell function.
  6. Yogurt- Look for yogurt with probiotics to fight stomach pain and irritable bowel syndrome. A daily 8-ounce container can help reduce pain, inflammation, and bloating.
  7. Coffee- Two 4-ounce cups can help ward off headaches by narrowing the dilated blood vessels that develop when headaches are coming around. Be cautious because too much caffeine can have the opposite effect.
  8. Mint- The menthol in peppermint can help prevent muscle spasms and effectively treats irritable bowel syndrome. Rub some of the oil on your temples or wrists to aid in headache relief. Mint tea is a perfect way to include this herb in your diet.
  9. Whole soy- This includes tofu, tempeh, and edamame beans which aid in arthritis and joint pain relief.
  10. Hot peppers- Alleviate arthritis pain with an ingredient in hot peppers called capsaicin. Capsaicin, also found in over-the-counter creams, stimulates nerve endings and depletes a chemical that relays pain signals in the body.


Have you tried any of these foods for pain?

Foods For Pain

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