When you have a lot of ailments, popping pills for every ache and pain can leave you feeling like a walking drugstore, so
it’s no wonder that some of us would rather brave through a headache than take a pill for pain. But can you fight aches and
pains naturally with foods—without medication? While over-the-counter and prescription medications definitely serve a
purpose, as a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor for EatingWell Magazine I’ve found science that
shows you can get some pain-fighting effects from food. Here’s a roundup of research that Rachel Johnson, Joyce Hendley and
Karen Ansel have previously covered for EatingWell Magazine:
Sore muscles and aching joints
Ginger isn’t just for relieving unsettled stomachs and the common cold. In fact, ginger is rich in inflammation-fighting
compounds, such as gingerols, which may reduce the aches of osteoarthritis and soothe sore muscles. In a recent study, people
who took ginger capsules daily for 11 days reported 25 percent less muscle pain when they performed exercises designed to
strain their muscles (compared with a similar group taking placebo capsules). Another study found that ginger-extract
injections helped relieve osteoarthritis pain of the knee.
Inflamed joints and troubled tummies
Preliminary studies suggest that omega-3s may help quell the aches and pains of rheumatoid arthritis. And that’s no surprise,
since omega-3s are touted for their ability to reduce inflammation. In addition to soothing aching joints, omega-3s can also
tame your troubled tummy (especially when caused by stress) according to a 2005 Scandinavian Journal of Nutrition
Studies show that 200 milligrams of caffeine—about the amount in 16 ounces of brewed coffee—provides relief from headaches,
including migraines. But keep in mind that relying on caffeine long-term can backfire, since habitual coffee drinkers usually
suffer withdrawal headaches when they cut back on the caffeine.
When your throat is scratchy and irritated, try sipping on a tea made from brewed sage leaves. It’s a remedy recommended by
herbalists that has some support from clinical trials. A 2006 study found that spraying sore throats with a sage solution
gave effective pain relief compared to a placebo.
Recipes to Try: Chickpea, Spinach & Squash Gnocchi, Plus More
Recipes with Sage
What's your favorite home remedy from your kitchen?