10 Foods That Act As Natural Pain Killers

by Jenna Crawford September 04, 2017

10 Foods That Act As Natural Pain Killers

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, it protects our body when we’ve been injured—but it can also be painful. While some have linked certain foods (including chocolate, eggs, wheat, meat, and corn) to causing inflammation, there’s also evidence that a few select foods could help prevent it, too.

Our kitchen has an answer to most of our health ailments. In fact, the saying that food can both heal and kill you is right to a great extent. If chosen mindfully, your food can hold the solution to several common health conditions. In fact, eating right is the key to well-being. While we have seen our grand moms applying turmeric on our sore muscles and clove oil to soothe tooth ache, there is a whole list of foods that can actually be a panacea when it comes to pain. These natural pain killers can be very comforting if you know the right way to use them. And you don't even have to take pain killers that do more harm than good to your body. 

Here are 10 foods that act as natural pain killers:

1. Coffee

Research suggests caffeine can reduce pain in those suffering from exercise-induced muscular injury and pain. Not only that, when taken with a standard dose of pain reliever (ibuprofen, for example), one study found that a 100mg to 130mg caffeine supplement — equal to about the amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee — increased pain relief.

2. Ginger

Ginger is basically a wonder root. It combats nausea and motion sickness and fights off pain with its anti-inflammatory properties. Some especially great news for the ladies: One study showed that ginger (specifically in the form of a 250g or 500g capsule of powdered ginger) was as effective as ibuprofen in relieving menstrual pain. Plus, ginger can be ingested a variety of ways, from supplements to tea and cookies, to stir fry.

3. Cherries

Cherries help reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals in the body and can also help to stop tissue inflammation. Anthocyanins, which give tart cherries their deep red color, have anti-inflammatory properties similar to those in aspirin. Raspberries and, to a lesser extent, strawberries also contain pain-fighting anthocyanins.

4. Sage

This anti-inflammatory herb has also been shown in some research to boost memory. Perfect in poultry dishes, sage has been used for centuries and contains flavonoids that help to reduce swelling.

5. Cold Water Fish

There are many health benefits to gain by adding cold-water fish like herring, mackerel, tuna, salmon, and sardines to your diet.  Among them are abilities to fight chronic pain from back and neck injuries and to help heal damaged joints.  Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish improve cardiovascular function and decrease inflammation around damaged cartilage, promoting healing and overall good health.

6. Aloe Juice

We all know that aloe vera gel is at the top of the list as far as treating burns.  What most people don’t know is that aloe juice is also an excellent remedy for stomach ulcers.  Caused by H. pylori bacteria, ulcers are painful lesions in the lining of the stomach which causes nausea, weakness from blood loss, and extreme pain.  Drinking aloe juice twice daily not only helps to relieve these symptoms, it has also been proven to speed the healing process of this painful condition.

7. Turmeric

Curcumin, a natural phenol present in turmeric root, is another natural anti-inflammatory.  Add this fragrant golden spice to your list of pain-fighting foods for a boost of flavor and beautiful color.

8. Hot Peppers

Capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot peppers hot is a common ingredient in many topical pain relievers.  Capsaicin overloads nerves, draining them of substance-P – the chemical messenger that carries pain signals to the brain.  While only offering temporary relief, hot pepper extract is a fast and effective pain remedy.

9. Cloves 

Cloves contain an anti-inflammatory chemical called eugenol. In recent studies, this chemical inhibited COX-2, a protein that spurs inflammation (the same protein that so-called COX-2 inhibitor drugs such as Celebrex quash). Cloves also ranked very high in antioxidant properties in one study. The combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties provides health benefits, from boosting protection from heart disease to helping stave off cancer, as well as slowing the cartilage and bone damage caused by arthritis.

10. Cinnamon

Like many other spices, cinnamon has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and it's actually one of the most powerful healing spices, shown to help reduce heartburn and other conditions.


Pain can be a great discomfort whenever it is felt. When you can’t see a doctor immediately, there are available natural pain relievers you can find in your kitchen. In this post, I shared with you 10 foods that act as natural pain killers.

Jenna Crawford


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