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The number of American’s who experience pain–chronic pain–on a regular basis is quite jarring: over 100 million individuals, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

At a number so high, it’s difficult to not view chronic pain as an epidemic. Even worse, the harmful side effects of pain medication, the rise in opiate addiction, and cost of healthcare.

However, there are ways to manage, and even eliminate pain, naturally. By changing your diet and including naturally-healing foods in your nutritious meals, you’ll be on your way to becoming pain free!

“Almost always, if we find pharmaceuticals doing the trick, we’ll find a plant doing the same trick–and doing it more safely,” said botanist James A. Duke, PhD, and author of The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods.

A typical American diet consists of highly processed foods stripped of their nutrition, and packed with refined carbs, which in turn promotes inflammation in the body, resulting in pain. Eliminating chips, soda, and frozen dinners and replacing them with fresh, local, and organic foods can help you on your way to adopting a more nutritious diet.

And don’t forget these ten pain-fighting foods!

Coffee

coffee beansCaffeine is known to narrow dilated blood vessels that develop when we experience headaches, so by drinking coffee, we can reduce the pain caused by these common occurrences of pain. While most drink it to wake themselves up in the morning, or perhaps for a mid-day pick-me-up, coffee, when ingested in moderation, is good medicine. It can reduce pain-promoting compounds as well as amplify the effect of other pain relievers; however, when consumed habitually, coffee can have the opposite effect, so be weary!

Ginger

ginger rootUsed for centuries to promote good health and soothing tummy aches, this spicy root is also known as a “natural aspirin impersonator” for it’s anti-inflammatory abilities. Ginger has been used as a reliever of migraines, muscle aches, and even arthritis pain.

Mint

Mint leavesForget gum. Chewing on a peppermint can not only give you fresh, minty breath, but also can help in preventing muscle spasms. This happens due to the menthol released inside the peppermint, making it an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.

Peppermint oil has also been found to soothe headaches when rubbed on an individual temples and/or wrists. Additionally, mint tea has been recommended as a healer of any type of pain, according to botanist James A. Duke, PhD. “You could call it an herbal aspirin.”

Hot Peppers

hot peppersJust because these little guys are known to make us sweat and singe our tongues, don’t be fooled! They’re actually great alleviators of pain, specifically that relating to arthritis. There is an ingredient in hot peppers called capsaicin, which works to stimulate nerve endings and depleting a chemical that relays pain signals.

Both eating hot peppers, and using capsaicin-containing topical creams can be effective for eliminating arthritis pain.


 

Check back soon for Part 2 of this post, where I name even more naturally-healing foods to help fight pain!