Did you know that certain food can help you fight pain

Foods that fight pain

Did you know that certain foods can help you fight pain? In addition to enjoying a delicious meal and getting nutrients from food, you can also get relief from pain.


Pain is a component of inflammation, a process which occurs as an immune response against injury or foreign bodies in the body. Foods that fight pain contain bioactive substances that possess anti-inflammatory properties.


This article will explore foods that you should consider for pain relief.


Ginger is used as herbal medicine for the relief of many symptoms and pain joins the list. Researchers observed that ginger shares pharmacological properties with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) e.g Ibuprofen. Another studyshows a significant reduction in knee pain from the use of ginger extract. You can benefit from the pain-killing effect of ginger by chewing on a piece or extracting its juice for a drink.


Researchers from the University of Adelaide have found that peppermint triggers an "anti-pain" channel in the colon, to relieve inflammatory pain in the gastrointestinal tract. Mefenamic acid in peppermint leaves is also discovered to relieve menstrual pain. Peppermint oil or its juice extract can be used.


Soy contains anti-inflammatory isoflavones. Including soy protein in your daily meal will help reduce knee pain and keep your body healthy in general. Soy milk, soy powder etc are great options for soy protein.

Red grapes

The compound resveratrol contained in red grapes plays an analgesic role in the body. If you suffer from joint and back pain, Red grapes are a great option for a natural remedy.


Fish, especially salmon, contains omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been proven to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. A meta-analysis reveals the use of omega-3 fatty acids by patients with rheumatoid arthritis reduced their consumption of NSAIDs. Other species of fish high in Omega -3 fatty acids are mackerel, tuna and herring.


Turmeric is a spice most common among Indians not just for meals but also in Ayurvedic medicine. Its active ingredient is curcumin. Research reveals that in the treatment of osteoarthritis, curcumin, has similar efficiency to diclofenac but with a better safety profile.

Chilli pepper

Chilli pepper contains capsaicin which numbs pain by reducing pain transmitters in the nerves. Eating pepper might just be what you need for that pain.


Garlic is known to relieve toothache, back pain and joint pain. It contains allium which exhibits antimicrobial properties. Allium is only available for use in the body when garlic is crushed or chewed.

Green tea

While enjoying a cup of green tea you can as well relieve pain. Green tea has constituents with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.




Grzanna, R., Lindmark, L., & Frondoza, C. G. (2005). Ginger--an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. Journal of medicinal food, 8(2), 125–132. https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2005.8.125


Altman, R. D., & Marcussen, K. C. (2001). Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis and rheumatism, 44(11), 2531–2538. https://doi.org/10.1002/1529-0131(200111)44:11<2531::aid-art433>3.0.co;2-j


Mint helps to relieve irritable bowel syndrome. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 9, 2022 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419101234.htm


Masoumi, S. Z., Asl, H. R., Poorolajal, J., Panah, M. H., & Oliaei, S. R. (2016). Evaluation of mint efficacy regarding dysmenorrhea in comparison with mefenamic acid: A double-blinded crossover study. Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research, 21(4), 363–367. https://doi.org/10.4103/1735-9066.185574


Pain-fighting Foods



Lee, Y. H., Bae, S. C., & Song, G. G. (2012). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis. Archives of medical research, 43(5), 356–362. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arcmed.2012.06.011


Shep, D., Khanwelkar, C., Gade, P., & Karad, S. (2019). Safety and efficacy of curcumin versus diclofenac in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized open-label parallel-arm study. Trials, 20(1), 214. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-019-3327-2



Fusco, B. M., & Giacovazzo, M. (1997). Peppers and pain. The promise of capsaicin. Drugs, 53(6), 909–914. https://doi.org/10.2165/00003495-199753060-00001



Wallock-Richards D, Doherty CJ, Doherty L, Clarke DJ, Place M, Govan JRW, et al. (2014) Garlic Revisited: Antimicrobial Activity of Allicin-Containing Garlic Extracts against Burkholderia cepacia Complex. PLoS ONE 9(12): e112726. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112726


Negah, S. S., Ghazavi, H., Vafaee, F., Rashidi, R., Aminian, A. R., & Forouzanfar, F. (2021). The Potential Role of Green Tea and its Main Constituent (Epigallocatechin -3-Gallate) in Pain Relief: A Mechanistic Review. Current drug discovery technologies, 18(6), e130921189586. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570163817666201229121033

Glorious Kate Akpegah

Glorious Kate Akpegah is a medical student at the University of Calabar. She enjoys writing health and wellness articles to help inform the public and promote a healthy lifestyle.

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  1. Theresa says:

    Great piece

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