If you suffer from chronic pain, you are far from alone. In fact, chronic pain affects “some 25 million Americans.”
Chronic pain — also called chronic pain syndrome — is generally pain that forgoes so-called “normal” pain levels and can occur “after an injury heals or an illness runs its course.” Yet, you can’t exactly fit chronic pain in a “one-description” box. This type of pain may last a few months or it can be drawn out for years, oftentimes without a specific known cause or trigger. Plus, chronic pain takes a variety of forms, usually experienced as joint pain, muscle aches, or burning pain, but it can also take less obvious forms such as severe fatigue, mood changes — such as depression, anxiety, and irritability — decreased flexibility, or loss of stamina — generally caused by decreased activity levels due to bodily pain symptoms.
Generally, if you suffer from consistent pain that lasts longer than three to six months, a doctor may diagnose you with chronic pain syndrome.
What causes chronic pain? Sometimes, there is no specific cause. Other times, “your body continues to send pain signals to your brain, even after an injury heals. Many people experience chronic pain that is connected to bodily inflammation, an inflammation-related disorder, or chronic inflammatory issues.
No matter what cause or type of chronic pain is experienced, relief is a journey. While there are countless medications and modern medicinal treatments for chronic pain, many sufferers seek natural solutions.
Why not start with diet?
As inflammation is one of the main reasons that chronic pain persists, seeking a diet that is rich in plant-based foods is a great place to start. Plant-based foods are filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. These are natural agents that can help reduce bodily inflammation and reduce chronic pain syndrome symptoms. Plus, plant-based foods are excellent energizers, providing your body with the necessary energy to maintain an active lifestyle, which helps keep the body strong, limber, flexible, and healthy.
Don’t start with just any old plant-based foods though! Try incorporating plant-based foods that are known for their pain-reducing agents such as red grapes, ginger, turmeric, soy, and caffeine. Here are a few recipes from the Food Monster App to get you started!
This Cinnamon Spiced Apple and Grape Salad recipe by Danielle Joy is a great transition salad that takes you from those hot summer days into the tepid Fall season. Joy enriches this salad with pain-fighting, antioxidant-rich red grapes, as well as omega-3 fatty acid-rich walnuts and anti-inflammatory cinnamon.
Source: Spicy Carrot Clementine Juice
Ginger is one of those ultimate healing agents in a plant-based diet! It’s not only rich in flavor, but it also has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agents that can help manage chronic pain. Try this Spicy Carrot Clementine Juice recipe by Claire Ragozzino, which offers all the anti-inflammatory and pain-fighting powers of ginger, beta-carotene-rich carrot, and anti-inflammatory champion turmeric.
Source: Golden Milk Frappuccino
Turmeric — known for its brilliant orange color and subtle nutty flavor profile — has taken the western world by storm for its incredible anti-inflammatory powers! The key lies within a compound called curcumin that is naturally created within the turmeric root. Get your daily dose of this anti-inflammatory champion by starting your day with this Golden Milk Frappuccino recipe by Kat Condon complete with anti-inflammatory and pain-fighting turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, as well as a healthy dose of healthy fat-filled coconut butter.
Source: Edamame Guacamole
When it comes to soy, it’s all about those isoflavones, “plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties.” A great source of all-natural soy can be found in edamame! This Edamame Guacamole recipe by Marie Reginato is a super creative way to get a daily dose of pain-fighting soy, while also enjoying a plant-based staple, guacamole!
Caffeine is not only a great way to get that morning or afternoon boost, but studies have found that caffeine “enhances the effects of common painkillers,” while also offering natural “pain-lowering powers” all on its own. Use coffee as an opportunity to also get that sweet treat you’ve been craving, such as in this Espresso and White Chocolate Cashew Mousse recipe by Vegan Reset.
Source: Fresh Red Grape Cake
This Fresh Red Grape Cake recipe by Joyce Gan is a wonderful treat that will also help fight chronic pain symptoms! Gan infuses this cake with pain-reducing agents including one full cup of fresh red grapes, three cups of no-sugar-added grape juice, and one-half cup of soy milk. Plus, you’ll get a dose of healthy fat-filled extra-virgin olive oil.
Source: Edamame Bamboo Shoot Stir Fry
Want all the bang for your buck in one pain-fighting meal? Try this Edamame Bamboo Shoot Stir Fry recipe by Melissa Tedesco, which offers multiple pain-reducing agents including ginger, edamame and soya (soy!), and anti-bacterial ginger.
While getting those pain-alleviating agents into your diet is super important, it’s also a boon for overall health to make sure you’re getting a daily dose of nutrients. This Protein Packed Turmeric Smoothie Bowl recipe by Kat Condon if the perfect way to diversify nutrients on a daily basis. This bowl is packed with pain-alleviating anti-inflammatory turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger, antioxidant-rich blueberries and blackberries, and protein-filled protein-powder, almond milk, and raw almonds.
Source: Oil-Free Baked Tofu
This Oil-Free Baked Tofu recipe by Marina Yanay-Triner is a super simple, super tasty way to get a dose of pain-fighting soy! Seasoned with a variety of flavorful spices including cayenne, turmeric, and smoked paprika, these little tofu bites are a great snack to have on hand at work, at home, or even traveling.
Source: Cold Brew Ice Cream
This you can’t have your ice cream and eat it too? This Cold Brew Ice Cream recipe by Deena Jalal is infused with pain-fighting medium-ground coffee beans and healthy fat-filled coconut milk. A great treat for a hot day to get your brain juiced!
Source: Sugarless Grape Jelly
Looking for a super simple, super healthy, pain-fighting recipe? Try this Sugarless Grape Jelly recipe by Sara Oliveira. With only three ingredients — grapes, chia seeds, and optional stevia — this is one of the easiest ways to spruce up your morning toast. Remember to use red grapes for maximum pain-alleviating powers!
Source: Ginger-Beet Moscow Mules
It’s Friday afternoon, work is over, and it’s time to unwind! Yet, you also want to be wary of pain management. This Ginger-Beet Moscow Mules recipe by Molly Krebs may the perfect fit! This twist on a modern mule is infused with pain-fighting fresh ginger and is naturally sweetened with antioxidant-rich beets. Plus, if you’re looking to aggressively manage bodily inflammation, simply make this virgin and leave out the vodka!
Source: Brussels Sprouts with Turmeric
This Brussels Sprouts with Turmeric recipe by Gabriela Lupu is not only a great way to infuse your diet with anti-inflammatory pain-fighting turmeric, but it’s also a super tasty way to get healthy Brussels sprouts into your diet.
Source: Crispy Marinated Tofu
This Crispy Marinated Tofu recipe by Julie Zimmer is an excellent go-to dinner recipe when you simply don’t have the time but want to respect your need for pain-fighting foods. This soy-filled extra-firm tofu is marinated with tamari sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and fresh ginger, for that classic sweet-savory-slightly hot flavor profile. Enjoy on its own or add to your favorite rice or noodle dish!
Source: Latte Macchiato
This Latte Macchiato recipe by Mireille Aikman is a wonderful way to start the day with a dose of pain-fighting caffeine! Super simple with only two ingredients — almond milk and espresso — this recipe offers a quick and efficient way to get going in the morning without sacrificing those few extra minutes of sleep.
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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