Who needs an aspirin when you can eat these yummy foods?
By Rachael Anderson
Do you live on Advil when something hurts? Next time, curtail the pain in advance - with food! According to Mehmet Oz, MD, certain foods can pack even more pain-fighting power than some drugs. Dr. Oz teamed up with Ashley Koff, RD, to reveal the best food prescriptions for your biggest pains.
If you have joint pain, chances are it's ongoing. Instead of emptying the painkiller bottle over and over again, eat more dark cherries. "Dark cherries contain anthocyanins, which work just like aspirin or ibuprofen to turn off the body's pain signals," says Koff. These powerful antioxidants are what give cherries their rich color. According to Koff, eating 1 cup a day-about 20 cherries-can help significantly reduce joint pain. Either fresh or frozen works, but Koff recommends choosing organic because you'll get the most pain-fighting antioxidant power per bite.
Limping along with knee pain? Think pineapple. This tropical fruit contains an inflammation-blocking enzyme called bromelain. Koff recommends 1 cup of pineapple (fresh or frozen) day. If you cut a fresh pineapple, eat it within six days to get the most nutrients. Koff suggests avoiding pineapple juice because it's full of sugar.
For a throbbing head, try tahini, a spread made from ground sesame seeds. It's rich in magnesium, which has been shown to keep headaches -- especially migraines -- at bay. "Up to 50 percent of headache sufferers can be magnesium deficient," says Koff. "Having enough magnesium can prevent muscle spasms and alter brain chemicals thought to play a role in headaches." Koff recommends 2 tablespoons of tahini a day. Have some on a piece of whole grain bread or drizzle it on figs or dates.
Got an aching back? Cut up some papaya. This pear-shaped fruit contains an enzyme called papain that is so potent at fighting pain that doctors actually use it in injections. Papaya is also chock-full of vitamins A and C. "These are potent antioxidants for addressing inflammation and cleaning up oxidative stress," says Koff. How much papaya do you need? Koff recommends 1 cup per day. You can buy it frozen and add it to a smoothie or get it fresh and eat it with cottage cheese or yogurt. For the most pain-fighting benefits, choose a papaya that is slightly less ripe; these contain more papain.
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