En español | Got knee pain? Drink some soy milk. Sore back? Eat salmon. The right foods can ease your aches: Recent research suggests that some pack as much pain-fighting power as common pain medications like ibuprofen. And with mounting evidence that some pain-relief medicines may actually be dangerous for some individuals, these foods may be the better choice. "What we eat has a dramatic impact on levels of pain in the body," says Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist at Duke Integrative Medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.
See also: Berries for brain power.
The list of pain-fighting foods might surprise you. From fruits such as red grapes and cherries, to herbs and spices such as ginger and turmeric, to fish, soy products and even coffee, there's relief in quite a number of readily available, healthy foods. Read on for the best pain remedies to put on your plate and try some delicious recipes.
This deeply hued fruit contains resveratrol, a powerful compound that blocks the enzymes that contribute to tissue degeneration. The evidence: In lab experiments at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, resveratrol protected against the kind of cartilage damage that causes back pain.
Although the research is preliminary, it can't hurt to fill up on foods rich in resveratrol, including blueberries and cranberries, which contain other powerful antioxidants as well. Or have a glass of wine. "Resveratrol in red wine is far more easily absorbed due to the form it is in," says researcher Xin Li, M.D., Ph.D., a biochemistry instructor at Rush.
Recipe: Grapes and Shrimp With Honey
Adapted by Monica Bhide from How to Cook Indian, by Sanjeev Kapoor
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
24 large red seedless grapes
16 jumbo shrimps (about 1 pound), peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Combine the honey, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until bubbly and thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the red pepper flakes. Keep warm.
2. Starting and ending with a grape, alternately thread grapes (3 in total) and shrimp (2) on each skewer. Sprinkle with the remaining salt.
3. Brush a large nonstick grill pan or cast-iron skillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the pan over medium-high heat until it is very hot but not smoking. Arrange the skewers in the pan and cook, basting with the remaining oil and turning frequently, until the shrimp are cooked on all sides, about 4 minutes.
4. Transfer the skewers to a serving platter. Drizzle with the sauce and serve hot.
Nutrients per serving (2 skewers): 210 calories, 9g protein, 34g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 4g fat, 64mg cholesterol, 662mg sodium