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More than a third of the US population is affected by chronic pain. Research is finding that there are many foods that can relieve pain as well or better than medication.  While there’s no magic food, the evidence shows that adding specific foods and spices can fight inflammation and chronic pain. Our western-style diet is heavy with processed foods that promote inflammation, the pain culprit, and a diet makeover can have a dramatic effect.

Here are some foods and spices that pain specialists recommend you add to your grocery list:

  • Salmon, herring and sardines

    Studies show that eating more omega-3 fats in salmon and other cold-water fatty fish reduces joint swelling, neck and back pain and keeps your heart healthy.

  • Berries and tart cherries

    Some researchers are finding that these fruits  reduce inflammation at levels comparable to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and improve pain as well as cognition and motor performance.

  • Turmeric (cucumin)

    This spice has pain-fighting and therapeutic effects in arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Ginger

    A traditional stomach soother, easing seasickness and nausea. studies also show that patients had significant improvements in pain, swelling, and morning stiffness by eating ginger daily.

  • Cayenne

    Cayenne pepper are an important part of herbal treatment for muscle pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and the nerve pain caused by shingles and sciatica.

  • Sweet Potatoes

    Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of carotenoids that minimize inflammation and strengthen your immunity. This vegetable can fight both internal and external swelling that causes pain.

  • Onions and Garlic

    Research shows onions and garlic are among the richest sources of flavonoids, plant chemicals that that destroy damaging free radicals and fight inflammation in rheumatic conditions.

  • Soy (edamame) 

    Soy is a great source of protein and the chemicals in soy can reduce knee osteoarthritis pain, and soothe the neuropathic of sciatica and diabetes.

  • Coffee

    Coffee isn’t just a morning pick-me-up. One or two cups a day is good medicine. The caffeine can relieve dental pain, and headaches.

We’re learning more and more that specific foods can either promote or shut down the inflammatory cycle. Simple carbohydrates promote it and most vegetables shut it down. Some of the most powerful and safest therapies are found in nature. Bon appetit!