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Pain-fighting Foods

7 superfoods that ease pain. Plus, tasty recipes

Painkillers in Your Pantry

Edamame and other soy products contain anti-inflammatory agents. — Lauren Burke

Soy

Want to cut your osteoarthritis knee pain by 30 percent or more? Add some soy to your diet. An Oklahoma State University study found that consuming 40 grams of soy protein daily for three months slashed patients' use of pain medication in half. The secret lies in soy's isoflavones — plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties, says main study author Bahram H. Arjmandi, Ph.D., R.D., now professor of nutrition, food, and exercise sciences at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Tofu, soy milk, burgers, edamame: All are good options. But be patient. "It takes two or three weeks for it to take effect," Arjmandi says.

Recipe: Chicken and Edamame Stir-Fry

by Monica Bhide

Serves 4

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 cup diced baby corn
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 cups steamed white rice

1. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.

2. Place a wok or large skillet over high heat and pour in the oil. As soon as the oil is hot, add the chicken and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, until the chicken is almost cooked through.

3. Add the sugar, garlic, five-spice powder, edamame and ginger, and stir-fry for 3 minutes more, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn't burn.

4. Add the teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds, corn and scallions. Continue to stir and toss until everything is evenly coated with the sauce and heated through. Serve hot over steamed rice.

Nutrients per serving: 407 calories, 26g protein, 34g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 18g fat, 73mg cholesterol, 1,613mg sodium

Next: The golden pain-fighting power of turmeric. >>

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