When it comes to pain, most people opt for pharmaceutical drugs, which is a very common option to take. However, in July 2014, Consumerreports.org reported the dangers of taking painkillers such as Tylenol. The AARP also reported danger of the painkiller Advil back in September 2011, and Harvard Medical School also reported the dangers of opioid painkillers back in 2015.
These are just a few of the reports about the health risks linked with painkillers. Recently, recent news stirred the controversy of painkillers when it was found to caused Prince death. According to Reuters;
The most potent narcotic known, it is a man-made opioid 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more so than morphine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control website. The agency says illegally manufactured non-pharmaceutical fentanyl, and related overdoses, are a rising problem.
It’s scary, isn’t it? We’ve got pain, and we’re supposed to be relieved and saved when taking painkillers. Sure, it works for many people, but the risk is always there when you take these painkillers. Fortunately, when we look at the basics, certain foods are excellent painkillers. Sure, they don’t work instantaneous, but with regular consumption of these foods, pain can be prevented. After all, prevention is always better and we should be prioritizing this option.
Ginger is considered as the staple of traditional medicine in many cultures around the world. It has a stomach-smoothing property and works very well with nausea. Aside from these properties, ginger is also a painkiller relieving muscle pains and menstrual cramps.
One study1 published at The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concluded;
Ginger was as effective as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen in relieving pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea.
Some health experts call these juicy gems as nature’s candy. It’s packed with phytonutrients helpful in fighting inflammation as well as relieving pains. Blueberries are seasonal fruits but don’t worry if it’s not in season as frozen blueberries are just as good as fresh. Other berries with similar property include strawberries. And, although not a berry, oranges are also packed with polyphenols and antioxidants with similar effect.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are also known as pepitas are packed with magnesium, which is one of the most important and abundant minerals in the body, and yet many people are unknowingly deficient of it. Magnesium may lessen of migraine occurrences. It also helps treat and prevent osteoporosis.
Sound good, right? Indeed, but even though pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium it may not prevent leg cramps while you sleep. Hence, to add more magnesium, eat other nuts like cashews and almonds, and dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach are both rich in magnesium content, too. Other natural foods rich in magnesium include lentils and beans.
Salmon is packed with essential fatty acid Omega-3, which is an anti-inflammatory, heart-friendly and helpful in relieving joint tenderness for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Other fishes rich in Omega-3 fat includes mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
However, make sure you get wild salmon and avoid farmed fishes like tilapia and catfish as these farmed fishes contain high Omega-6 fats that have opposite to the effect of Omega-3. Omega-6 promotes inflammation. The same is true with the other fishes mentioned, always prefer those caught from the wild.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, turmeric is the hottest medicinal herb with many studies conducted. In addition to ginger, Dr. Weil recommends turmeric. Dr. Andrew Weil is considered a guru in holistic health and integrative medicine.
As Dr. Weil mentioned, curry is one of the best ways to get turmeric into the diet. Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and studies of individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis were able to walk better after taking supplements containing curcumin, a compound in turmeric that makes its color yellowish.
And, those people who took it during the study experienced no side effects.
In order to increase turmeric’s bioavailability, it is recommended to add a little amount of black pepper on it. Black peppers have Bioperine which makes the absorption more efficient. In fact, some dietary enhancement supplements for men uses Bioperine to enhance effectiveness.
6. Tart Cherries
One study2 conducted on runners who were given 12 ounces of tart cherry each day a week prior to race day. The runners who drank tart cherry juice experienced lesser muscle pains significantly compared to the group who drink similar tasting juice without the natural tart cherry.
Tart cherries have high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds and are promoted in lay publications as beneficial for those with arthritis, muscle pain, and fibromyalgia. The nutraceutical industry is experiencing exponential growth and defining for whom these products might be beneficial is an important task. The present study suggests that the administration of tart cherry juice for eight days reduced symptoms of exercise-induced muscle pain among runners participating in a vigorous endurance event.
7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
There are two kinds of olive oils available in the market, and if you want the pain-fighting kind, choose extra virgin olive oil. When you take a spoon of extra virgin olive oil, you’ll feel that tingling in the throat just like taking pepper.
Well, that’s not pepper or capsaicin, but it’s a compound in extra-virgin olive oil called oleocanthal, which is an anti-inflammatory agent3 that similarly works like ibuprofen. Additionally, Extra virgin olive oil also contains lubricin that helps keep joints smooth and prevents the breakdown of cartilage.
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers
One of the known components in chili peppers is capsaicin. This is the compound that makes pepper hot, but this is known for its painkilling properties. If you’ve used cream and patch painkillers, it contains capsaicin.
That’s why you’ll feel relieved once you used these topical painkilling solutions. However, there are early studies that suggest consuming chili rather than using it topically can help prevent and reduce inflammation.
Additionally, every time you taste that burning sensation, your brain releases endorphins that block the pain signals coming to the brain.
9. Peppermint Essential Oil
It’s been known that peppermint oil helps relieve the symptoms of IBS(irritable bowel syndrome) like gas, bloating and cramps. Moreover, peppermint tea is effective on relieving stomach upset. One study reported by BBC back in 2009 stated that Brazilian mint tea is an effective painkiller prescription.
Peppermint oil relieves the painful cramps, gas, and bloating that are the hallmarks of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint tea is a good soother for occasional tummy upset. In early research, Brazilian mint tea (made from the plant Hyptnis crenata) has been as effective as a prescription painkiller, but the NHS doubts the study and call it a limited application as it was not using the regular mint tea.
10. Red Wine
Early study4 suggest that a compound within the skin of red grapes could ease swelling of the disc that can eventually result to back pain. This compound is called resveratrol, and red wine has this compound.
However, drinking the entire bottle of red wine is a bad idea. Therefore, drink it in moderation and experts suggests that women should drink a glass while men can have up to 2 glass of red wine per day.
There you have it. Your friendly and natural alternatives to prescription and over the counter painkillers. Note that, these foods are not instant painkillers, but consuming them regularly along with healthy lifestyle practices can certainly prevent any kinds of pains in the body. Therefore, be good to your body by feeding it with the right foods for nourishment, and be physically active.
Note that these foods can also maintain proper blood pressure level, optimize gut health, and many others. If you’re a smoker, aim at quitting smoking and stay active because being sedentary causes many illnesses