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Foods that Fight Pain

Fight pain and inflammation by incorporating certain foods into your diet. ​Why not use food instead of an over-the-counter pain reliever? ​ I am a firm believer in food as medicine. I'm living proof. I've reduced inflammation in my own body by finding the right combination of foods. Read on to see what foods could help with your pain.


Tart cherries have a phytonutrient that blocks inflammation and inhibits pain enzymes (just like over-the-counter options).


This works well on pork, turkey and sausage.

1 navel orange 3 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries (about 2 pints fresh, picked over) 1 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger root 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon salt

With a vegetable peeler remove two 2-inch strips orange zest and cut into fine julienne strips, reserving orange for another use. In a heavy saucepan stir together all ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally (stir more frequently toward end of cooking), about 50 minutes, or until thickened and syrupy. Cool chutney. Chutney keeps, covered and chilled, 3 weeks.



​Ginger is known for its stomach soothing properties.​ This anti-inflammatory can help with migraines, arthritis and muscle aches. Peel, slice and steep in boiling water for a quick ginger tea.


​ 24 baby carrots, tops trimmed to 2 inches 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger Pinch of cinnamon 1/2 cup chicken stock 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha Sea Salt to taste 1 tablespoon furikake (Japanese seasoning) (see Note)

​In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the carrots until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the carrots. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the carrots, ginger and cinnamon and cook over moderate heat, tossing occasionally, until the ginger is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and boil over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool for 30 seconds. Swirl in the butter, lime juice and Sriracha and season with salt. Arrange the carrots on a platter and spoon the ginger-lime sauce on top. Sprinkle with the furikake and serve.

Notes Furikake is available at Asian markets and many specialty food stores. ​​

​SALMON, HERRING, SARDINES ​These low mercury, high Omega-3 beauties can reduce inflammation and promote blood flow. They can also help with mood elevation. Studies show that you are more aware of pain when you are down. A mood boost can help you forget about that pain.​ ​SWEDISH PICKLED HERRING ​Make this to have on hand for a quick grab snack.​

​1/4 cup kosher salt 5 cups water, divided 1 pound herring fillets 2 cups distilled or white wine vinegar 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon mustard seed 2 teaspoons whole allspice 2 teaspoons black peppercorns 3 bay leaves 3 cloves 1 lemon, thinly sliced 1 medium red onion thinly sliced Heat 4 cups of water enough to dissolve salt. Let this brine cool to room temperature. When it does, submerge the herring fillets in the brine and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, bring the sugar, vinegar, the remaining cup of water and all the spices to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let this steep until cool. When the herring have brined, layer them in a glass jar with the sliced lemon and red onion. Divide the spices between your containers if you are using more than one. Pour over the cooled pickling liquid and seal the jars. Wait at least a day before eating. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.


Have your sardines in a new way.

​1 pound potatoes, cut into chunks 2 cans sardines in spring water, drained 4 tbsp chopped parsley zest and juice 1 small lemon 3 tbsp light mayonnaise 4 tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt 1 tbsp seasoned almond flour 4 tsp avocado oil green salad and lemon wedges, to serve

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 15-20 mins. Meanwhile, coarsely mash the sardines in a bowl (there’s no need to remove the calcium-rich bones as they are soft enough to eat). Mix in 3 tbsp chopped parsley and half the lemon zest and juice. Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise and yogurt with the remaining parsley, lemon zest and juice and some seasoning. Drain the potatoes, then mash until smooth. Gently mix into the sardine mixture and season. Shape into 8 fat fish cakes using floured hands, then dust lightly with the seasoned flour. Heat half the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry half the fish cakes for 3-4 mins on each side until golden and crisp. Keep warm; repeat with remaining oil and fish cakes. Serve with the lemony mayonnaise, salad and lemon wedges. ​​

​HOT PEPPERS ​The capsaicin in hot peppers ​stimulates nerve endings ​to deplete chemical​s​ that relay pain signals.​ The hotter the pepper the more capsaicin it contains.

GJUSTA'S GREEN HARISSA ​You can use this on anything to ​crank up the heat. It's also a great marinade for shrimp or chicken.

​½ onion, halved 1 tomatillo, husk removed, rinsed 1 jalapeño, halved, seeds removed from 1 half 4 garlic cloves, peeled 1 tablespoon plus ½ cup olive oil 2 cups cilantro leaves with tender stems (from about ½ bunch) 2 cups parsley leaves with tender stems (from about ½ bunch) 2 cups trimmed arugula 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon or 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss onion, tomatillo, jalapeño, garlic, and 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing once, until vegetables are soft, 12–15 minutes. Let cool. Purée vegetables in a food processor along with cilantro, parsley, arugula, vinegar, preserved lemon, and remaining ½ cup oil until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Do Ahead: Harissa can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.


​Warm potatoes with a little kick. YUM!​

3 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved crosswise if large ½ cup olive oil, divided Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed if desired ¼ cup (lightly packed) torn flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss potatoes with ¼ cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly, then lightly flatten. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar and mustard in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in remaining ¼ cup oil until emulsified; season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes, jalapeño, and parsley and toss; season with salt and pepper.

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O​ther foods to try:

OLIVE OIL: The Mediterranean diets shows fewer health conditions related to inflammation. It may also contain compounds like those found in ibuprofen. Drizzle on salads, vegetables or potatoes.

RED GRAPES: Red grapes contain resveratrol which could block certain cells from inflammation and pain.

BLUEBERRIES: They have phytonutrients that may fight off inflammation and pain.

​RAW PUMPKIN SEEDS: Their magnesium could lessen the number of migraines for sufferers.

TURMERIC: The compound in the color of turmeric combined with black pepper has helped rheumatoid & osteoarthritis pain.

PEPPERMINT OIL: Helps cramps, gas and bloating. ​

Instead of going to the medicine cabinet try these foods to reduce your pain. You'll be surprised on the large impact the right foods have on your overall well-being.

For other resources visit these sites:

Here's to your health! Happy Cooking!​



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