Popping a pill may be the easiest and quickest option at the onset of a headache or a stiff neck, studies confirm that an overdose of OTC drugs can cause serious health issues. Prolonged use of antacids and painkillers are known to cause numerous undesirable effects that slowly creep in and damage your body in more ways than one.
Instead, why not try a bunch of nature's goodies that fight pain, minus the side-effects? Read on to find more about the top 6 foods that fight pain, naturally.
The dosage: 45 fresh ones, daily
The target: Muscle pain, Joint pain
Loaded with anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant, cherries work in two ways to relive arthritic and muscle pain. Firstly, they inhibit the production of pain enzymes, and secondly, they block inflammation that usually arises during muscle pain. Some studies even suggest that they work as efficiently as aspirin and naproxen.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition states that people who consume cherries on a daily basis showed a marked decrease in inflammation and related muscle pain.
The dosage: 1 cup a day
The target: Irritable bowel syndrome, digestive troubles
Gastroenterologists from around the world bet on yogurt for digestive relief. With stomach problems, come unbearable cramps and crippling pain. Yogurt can prove to be of massive help, especially if you suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). The lactobacilli in yogurt aid digestion, calm down inflammation and stomach spasms, and bring about digestive relief.
You can opt for the ready-made probiotic yogurts available in the market, or rely on your traditional curd or buttermilk. For fussy kids, just blend together a handful of strawberries or a mango with 2 cups of curd. Viola! Fruit yogurt in minutes.
The dosage: 1/4th teaspoon daily
The target: Sore muscles, migraine, arthritis
Used in almost every Indian household, this spicy root has already established its efficiency in treating outbreaks of common cold and cough. But ginger seems to have moved beyond that. Studies suggest that adding ginger to your tea or in your gravies can significantly reduce nausea, sea sickness and muscle pains.
This stomach soother breaks up intestinal gas and blocks the receptor that induces a vomiting sensation. Being a natural aspirin impersonator, ginger also offers relief from migraines and arthritis. There are numerous ways to add ginger to your meals. Sprinkle grated ginger over your buttermilk for an extra spice, or over a glass of lemonade for a bit of zing. Surprisingly, sucking on ginger candy will work the same as the real root.
The dosage: 1/3rd teaspoon daily
The target: Inflammatory colitis, joint pain
A staple in every Indian kitchen, turmeric has been used frequently in home-made granny's face packs and for an occasional cut while chopping veggies. Studies, however suggest that this spice, has been used for years in ayurvedic medicine to relieve inflammatory pains.
Thanks to the substance curcumin, present in abundance in turmeric, a 1-2 gram of turmeric a day can help preserve nerve cell function and reduce joint inflammation. The daily requirement of around 2 grams is met by every Indian, thanks to their taste buds; a little extra doesn't hurt though. Add it to your idli/dosa batter, or pickle the whole root with vinegar as an accompaniment with meals. Make it a point to include black pepper in your food preparations too, as it helps the release of curcumin from the turmeric.
The dosage: 2-3 servings a day (30g)
The target: Achy back, joints, neck
It's not a mystery that omega 3 fatty acids have a major role to play in maintaining overall health. Consuming fish rich in this essential nutrient and low in mercury, such as mackerel and tuna can help relieve back pain and boost mood, studies say.
Typically, the blood vessels at the edge of a spinal disc are responsible for the transfer of nutrients. A diminishing blood flow will then cause the spinal discs to lose their function and degenerate. Omega 3 fatty acids ensure that the blood reaches these spinal discs by reducing inflammation and tamping down blood vessels and nerves in that area.
Vegetarians should get their daily dose of omega 3 fatty acids from dried fruits like walnuts and flaxseeds.
6. Herbal Tea
The dosage: 3 cups a day
The target: Headaches
You've used it to lose weight; you've relied on it for the much needed antioxidants. Now is the time to improvise. Herbal teas actually work wonders in relieving moderate headache, mostly by vasoconstriction.
During the onset of a headache, the blood vessels in the head begin to dilate. Green tea and other herbal teas narrow down the blood vessels, causing vasoconstriction, thus relieving headache. Pregnant women and anemic people should however, consult a physician before swapping their cuppa for herbal teas.
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