Chronic pain affects 116 million American adults. That’s more than a third of the US population. And while pain pills reduce suffering, they can be addictive and produce side effects. Worse, they often fail to eliminate the true cause of the pain.
“No matter how well you prescribe medication, chronic sufferers don’t get complete relief,” says James N. Dillard, MD, author of The Chronic Pain Solution. “It’s an enormous problem, and the medical community is doing a bad job solving it.” But there is an alternative, and it’s right in your kitchen. Certain foods ease aches by fighting inflammation, blocking pain signals, and even healing underlying disease.
Whether it’s residual aches from an exceptionally tough workout, the beginnings of a pesky cold, or waking up on the wrong side of the bed, some research suggests supplementing those pain pills with certain foods could be just as helpful.
Believe it or not, those healthy fruits, veggies, and whole grains we try to pack in our diets may do more than just feed our bodies well—many of them are considered to have anti-inflammatory properties. Sometimes inflammation is a good thing, we’ll give you that—it protects our body when we’ve been injured—but it can also be painful
Echinacea and Sage
Got an aching throat? Some research shows that throat sprays containing sage or echinacea can help provide relief from that nasty sore throat , though there have been few other studies on this benefit, so the evidence isn’t hulk strong. Another survey looking at 14 different studies found that echinacea can decrease the number of cold infections caught, and reduce their durations . Sage is easy to find at most grocery stores and is also especially tasty in any of theserecipes, while echinacea is more commonly found in pill and ointment form. When choosing to take a supplement like echinacea, be aware: Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, so manufacturers can often get away with making unproven claimsabout both the contents of the pills and the benefits of those contents.