Healthy Foods to Consider for Pain Relief
Doctors prescribe enough opiate medications each year for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pain pills, according to one estimate. While opiates do present risks that have been highly publicized in recent years, especially with long-term use, there are valid reasons to prescribe these powerful painkillers. However, it may be possible to ease your dependence on opiates without having to live with distracting discomfort by adding some healthy, pain-fighting foods to your diet.
Cherries for Arthritis Muscle Pain
Compounds in cherries called anthocyanins are potent antioxidants that can minimize pain and help protect cells. They work in a way that’s similar to aspirin, naproxen, and other NSAIDs. One study found that runners regularly consuming 12-ounces of tart cherry juice reported less muscle pain. Blueberries, pomegranates, purple sweet potatoes, and beetroots have similar pain-fighting benefits.
Ginger for Sore Muscles, Migraines, and Arthritis
Ginger has chemical properties that may reduce inflammation enough to ease pain from sore muscles and arthritis. Short-acting narcotics (opiates) are often recommended for patients with acute migraine headache pain. Ginger may provide similar relief for migraine sufferers without the risks associated with narcotic pain-relievers. It can also ease related issues with nausea and vomiting.
Salmon, Herring, and Sardines for Spine-Related Pain
Chronic spine pain is one of the most common reasons why opiates are prescribed. A tolerance can build up over time, which can create an entirely new set of problems. However, there’s research suggesting that “risky opiates” are no better at treating chronic back pain than non-opiate medications. An alternative option is to add more fish to your diet or consider fish oil supplements. Fish high in omega-3s help control pain by improving blood flow and reducing inflammation. Fish oil can also improve mood, which can make it easier to deal with chronic back or neck pain.
Olive Oil for Joint Pain
There may be a reason why people who enjoy a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil have fewer issues with degenerative joint diseases, diabetes, and similar conditions related to inflammation and chronic pain. It’s believed that extra-virgin olive oil contains compounds similar to ibuprofen that may help chronic pain sufferers rely less on opiates for pain management.
Before you can enjoy the many pain relief benefits associated with these foods, you’ll have to make an effort to stay away from unhealthy foods that can make pain worse. If you are committed to easing your reliance on opiate painkillers, talk to your doctor first. Depending on how long you’ve been taking such medications and what your source of pain is, you may need to go through a process where dosages are gradually reduced.