Humans have been seeking relief from pain for centuries—long before there were pills to pop. These foods are still around today, and they can really help manage pain.
Oranges: These sweet citrus fruits are considered anti-inflammatory and are recommended in anti-arthritis diets. Oranges contain beta-cryptoxanthin, a phytochemical that has been shown to decrease the development of inflammatory joint conditions. Some other foods that have beta-cryptoxanthin are apricots, plums, watermelons, peaches and papaya.
Red Grapes: Red grapes (and, to a lesser extent, green grapes) have resveratrol in their skins. Resveratrol inhibits the COX enzyme, which is what NSAIDs do. Resveratrol is also found in mulberries.
Seeds and Nuts: Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts and hazelnuts contain tryptophan. This chemical helps reduce pain sensitivity.
Beans and Whole Grains: Beans, whole grains and lentils also contain tryptophan. A good pain-fighting dish would be beans over brown rice with some nuts on the side.
Fatty Fish: Fish like salmon and mackerel contain large amounts of essential fatty acids (omega-3s), which are anti-inflammatory.
Cherries: Recent studies have shown the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries. Cherry juice works well too.
Blackberries, Strawberries and Blueberries: These berries have antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage. This can inhibit or prevent painful conditions like arthritis. Other studies have also found these berries to be anti-inflammatory as well.
Chickweed: You may not recognize this as a food, but it is an edible plant that you can probably find in your yard. Chickweed helps reduce swelling and helps ease internal pain. It can be eaten as a salad green or brewed into a tea.
Ginger: Ginger is a tasty anti-inflammatory that reduces those pesky prostaglandins. It seems to work especially well for muscular pain.
Celery Seeds: The anti-inflammatory chemical in celery and its seeds is apigenin. Celery seed is recommended for managing gout pain and preventing attacks of gout.