Eat the pain away

Adding certain foods to your everyday meals may offer a form of natural relief

By Donna Fleming

Why not try grapes to ease back pain, chillies for arthritis or coffee to alleviate that headache?

Most of us, when we’re suffering from pain, head straight for the medicine cabinet in search of the painkillers we always use.

But some experts reckon we should try looking in the fridge or the pantry instead.

Research has found that many foods contain anti-inflammatory compounds that can ease pain and swelling. Others may stop pain signals from getting through to the brain.

Here’s some food that may be able to help when you’re hurting.

Crucial ingredient: Anthocyanins.
What they do: Ease pain by blocking inflammation and impeding pain enzymes. They work in a similar way to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-

Especially good for: Arthritis and muscle pain.

Crucial ingredient: Curcumin.
What it does: This spice, which is used in curries, helps thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can protect against tissue destruction and joint inflammation, as well as helping your nerve cells to perform their functions properly.
Especially good for: Achy joints and colitis (an inflamed colon).

Crucial ingredient: Menthol.
What it does: Prevents muscle spasms that can be agonising. You can make a delicious mint tea by steeping leaves in boiling water.
Especially good for: Irritable bowel syndrome and headaches.

Crucial ingredient: Capsaicin.
What it does: Stimulates nerve endings and depletes a chemical that relays pain signals. It is sometimes used in pain-relief creams.
Especially good for: Arthritis and achy pains.

Crucial ingredient: Gingerols.
What it does: Lessens the pain-causing hormone prostaglandin.
Especially good for: Migraines and arthritis.

Crucial ingredient: Omega 3 fatty acids.
What they do: Omega 3s can ease inflammation and relieve pain by improving blood flow.
Especially good for: Back and neck pain.

Crucial ingredient: Resveratrol.
What it does: Blocks enzymes that add to tissue degeneration. Studies show it protects against cartilage damage.
Especially good for: Back and joint pain.

Crucial ingredient: Bromelain.
What it does: It’s a potent painkiller, thanks to its ability to reduce inflammation.
Especially good for: Joint pain and menstrual cramps.

Crucial ingredient: Caffeine.
What it does: Reduces pain by narrowing dilated blood vessels. When taken with prescribed medication it aids their effectiveness. Just don’t overdo the caffeine; because that can have the opposite effect.
Especially good for: Headaches.

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