Food Is Medicine: 20 Natural Painkillers in Your Kitchen

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Most of us really enjoy food, but despite being a pleasure, food can also be a medicine.

Here is a list of 20 natural food painkillers which can help you treat your health issues in a safe, effective, and delicious way:

1. Treat chronic pain with turmeric

This popular East Indian spice has been shown to be three times more effective at relieving pain than aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. Additionally, it eased pain by 50 percent in the case of arthritis and fibromyalgia.

According to nutrition researcher Julian Whitaker, M.D. and author of the book, Reversing Diabetes, its active ingredient, curcumin, naturally obstructs the production of cyclooxygenase 2, an enzyme that triggers the release of a stream of pain-producing hormones, explains.

The recommended dose is 1/4 teaspoon daily, sprinkles on your meals.

2. Fight bladder infections with blueberries

Scientists at New Jersey’s Rutgers University found that the intake of 1 cup of blueberries daily reduces the risk of a urinary tract infection (UTIs) by 60 percent.

This is due to the high content of tannins, which are plant compounds that wrap around problem-causing bacteria in the bladder, thus preventing infections.

3. Ease heartburn with cider vinegar

According to experts, by sipping 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water before meals, you can soothe the painful bouts of heartburn within 24 hours.

Joseph Brasco, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Center for Colon and Digestive Diseases in Huntsville, AL. claims:“Cider vinegar is rich in malic and tartaric acids, powerful digestive aids that speed the breakdown of fats and proteins so your stomach can empty quickly, before food washes up into the esophagus, triggering heartburn pain.”

4. Coffee to energize migraine medication

According to researchers at the National Headache Foundation, caffeine stimulates the stomach lining to absorb painkillers better and quicker, so you can boost the effects of medications with the help of a strong 12- ounce cup of coffee.

5. Cherries treat joint and headache pain

The daily consumption of cherries provides a headache and joint pain relief, due to the anthocyanins they contain, which are anti-inflammatories 10 times stronger than ibuprofen and aspirin.

Muraleedharan Nair, Ph.D., professor of food science at Michigan State University says that“Anthocyanins help shut down the powerful enzymes that kick-start tissue inflammation, so they can prevent, as well as treat, many different kinds of pain.” You should have 20 cherries on a daily basis.

6. Tomato juice to treat leg cramps

Leg cramps are most often a result of the deficiency of potassium in the body, due to heavy perspiration, diuretics, or caffeinated drinks. At least one in five people regularly struggle with leg cramps.

Therefore, UCLA researchers say that you should sip 10 ounces of potassium-rich tomato juice a day in order to lower the risk of the painful cramp flare-ups in only 10 days.

7. Fish eases digestion issues

18 ounces of fish weekly can help you prevent all kinds of digestion issues, like indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Researchers have found that the fatty acids in fish, EPA, and DHA, effectively treat cramps, intestinal inflammation, and belly pain.

As explained by the  biological chemist Barry Sears, Ph.D., president of the Inflammation Research Foundation in Marblehead, MA, “EPA and DHA are powerful, natural, side-effect-free anti-inflammatories, that can dramatically improve the function of the entire gastrointestinal tract.”

8. Heal mouth sores with honey

Researchers at the Dubai Specialized Medical Center in the United Arab Emirates claim that dabbing canker and cold sores with unpasteurized honey four times a day will treat them, since honey contains natural enzymes that kill viruses, treat inflammation, and accelerate the healing of damaged tissues.

9. Oats can help you relieve endometrial pain

Endometriosis is a result of a detachment of small parts of the uterine lining, which grow outside of the uterus, and it can turn menstruation into a real problem.

Yet, experts reveal that it can be easily treated with the consumption of oats, as they do not contain gluten, which causes the inflammation.

10. Ginger to soothe muscle pain

A Danish study showed that the consumption of ginger relieved muscle and joint pain, swelling, and stiffness by 63 percent within two months.

This is due to the gingerols, which protect you from the production of pain-triggering hormones. According to researchers, you should take a 1 teaspoon of dried ginger or 2 teaspoons of chopped ginger to meals every day.

11. Salt relieves foot pain

Stanford University researchers found that over six million Americans develop painful ingrown toenails annually, but these infections can be treated in only 4 days by regularly soaking ingrown nails in warm salt water baths.

Salt has powerful antibacterial properties which kill the germs that are the reason for the pain and swelling.  Add a teaspoon of salt into each cup of water, heat to the warmest temperature, and soak the feet for 20 minutes daily.

12. Garlic relieves earaches

Experts at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine maintain that placing 2 drops of warm garlic oil into the painful ear twice daily for five days relieves the pain.

Garlic has powerful active components, like germanium, selenium, and sulfur compounds, which are naturally toxic to numerous pain-causing bacteria.

Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., co-author of the book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy says that you should simmer 3 cloves of crushed garlic in a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil for two minutes, strain the mixture, and refrigerate it up to 2 weeks. Warm up the oil before use.

13. Relax painful muscles with peppermint

The popular naturopath Mark Stengler, N.D., author of the book, The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies, says that in order to relax the painful muscles, you should soak in a warm bath with 10 drops of peppermint oil three times weekly.

He claims:” The warm water will relax your muscles, while the peppermint oil will naturally soothe your nerves — a combo that can ease muscle cramping 25 percent more effectively than over-the-counter painkillers, and cut the frequency of future flare-ups in half.”

14. Treat back pain with grapes

Recent studies at Ohio State University found that the consumption of a heaping cup of grapes daily can relax tight blood vessels, as it will boost the blood flow back to damaged back tissues.

Apparently, the vertebrae of the back and  the shock-absorbing discs are completely dependent on nearby blood vessels to supply them with oxygen and nutrients, so the optimal blood flow will heal the damaged tissue.

15. Prevent PMS with yogurt

Yale researchers reported that 80 percent of women will struggle with premenstrual syndrome and its difficult symptoms, since their nervous systems are sensitive to the natural monthly spikes of estrogen and progesterone.

Researchers at New York’s Columbia University showed that  2 cups of yogurt daily can relieve these symptoms by 48 percent.

Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a professor of gynecology at Yale University explains:“Yogurt is rich in calcium, a mineral that naturally calms the nervous system, preventing painful symptoms even when hormones are in flux.”

16. Treat sinus issues with horseradish

German researchers found that horseradish boosts the blood flow to the sinus cavities, and thus stimulate the opening and draining of the clogged sinuses, and also quickly treats sinus infections. You should take a teaspoon daily to soothe the symptoms.

17. Fight breast pain with flax

The addition of 3 tablespoons of ground flax to the daily diet relieves breast soreness within 12 weeks, due to the phytoestrogens, which are natural plant compounds that prevent the estrogen spikes that are the main cause of breast pain.

All you have to do is to sprinkle ground flax on your meals, or add it to veggie dips and smoothies.

18. Cloves relieves the toothache

UCLA researchers found that you can soothe the toothache and inflammation within 2 hours by gently chewing on a clove.  The natural anesthetic in cloves, eugenol, relieves the tooth pain very quickly. All you have to do is to sprinkle a ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves on meals daily.

19. Water will ease pain injuries

To accelerate the recovery in only a week, experts say that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, in order to dilutes and eliminate histamine, which is a pain-triggering compound produced by injured tissues.

Susan M. Kleiner, Ph.D., author of the book, The Good Mood Diet explains:  “Plus water is a key building block of the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones, your joints’ lubricating fluid, and the soft discs in your spine. And when these tissues are well-hydrated, they can move and glide over each other without causing pain.”

20. Pineapples prevent digestive upsets

A cup of fresh pineapple daily treats the painful bloating within 72 hours, due to the high content of proteolytic enzymes, which accelerate the breakdown of pain-causing proteins in the stomach and small intestine.

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