For joints, back, Neck
Salmon is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids which reduce levels of inflammation in the blood vessels, joints and elsewhere in the body. Several studies have shown that these essential nutrients can reduce joint swelling, pain and morning stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Studies have also shown that intake of omega-3s reduce pain associated with menstrual cramps, headaches and even neck and back discomfort. Wild-caught salmon, fresh or canned, is healthier than farm-raised salmon, which may contain toxic chemicals depending on the conditions they’re raised in. Two-servings a week of salmon or other cold-water fatty fish like sardines, anchovies, herring and trout are recommended.
For Achy Joints and Exercise Soreness
Research done at Michigan State University found that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in tart cherries—called anthocyanins—have powerful pain-fighting power. In fact, lead researcher Muralee G. Nair, Ph.D., Professor at Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, said cherries are “as good as ibuprofen and some of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.” Dr. Nair suggests that eating 20 tart cherries can significantly reduce inflammation related discomfort. You can use frozen or fresh cherries, the darker the better.
For Chronic Knee Pain
Long used as a remedy for travel sickness, nausea and indigestion, ginger is also an effective pain reliever. In one study, University of Miami researchers found that almost two-thirds of patients with chronic knee pain had less soreness after taking a ginger extract for six weeks. In another study, Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava of Odense University in Denmark gave arthritic patients small amounts of ginger (5 grams of fresh ginger or 1 tsp of dried ginger) every day for three months. Most of those studied showed significant improvements in pain and morning stiffness.
For Sore Joints
Frequently used in curry and other Indian dishes, the yellow compound in turmeric, curcumin, contains powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. A study published in 2009 in “The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” compared curcumin with ibuprofen for pain relief in more than 100 people with knee osteoarthritis. Researchers found that curcumin was just as effective as ibuprofen for improving function and pain in those suffering from the disorder.
For Back Pain
Papaya, a sweet exotic fruit, contains an enzyme called papain that not only improves digestion, but is an effective anti-inflammatory. It is so effective that some doctors even use it in injections for back pain. In addition, the fruit is high in antioxidant vitamins A and C which are good for reducing diseases that are worsened by inflammation such as osteoarthritis. Easy to eat (just spoon it out of its skin), you can add papaya to salads or smoothies or make it into a salsa. Or eat half a papaya spritzed with juice from a lime wedge as a breakfast treat.
Tahini, a spread made from sesame seeds, is a rich source of magnesium, which has been shown to keep headaches—especially migraines—at bay. Some studies have linked migraines and chronic headaches with a magnesium deficiency. A daily dose of two tablespoons of tahini can be spread on toast. However, be careful how much tahini you eat since it is high in fat.