Chronic pain can be so pervasive that drugs and even mind-body approaches may not be enough to give you a break. As many as four out of five people with chronic pain have tried alternative remedies, including eating certain foods or ingredients that are thought to bring some pain relief. Some have research — not just anecdotal evidence — behind them.

All of the following foods have a place in a healthy diet, so eating and cooking with them can be good for you in general. Even so, it’s always a good idea to let your doctor know what kinds of remedies you’re trying to be sure that none will interfere with another.


Ginger is a root that can be used in flavoring dishes from stir-fry foods to gingerbread cookies. It is most often recommended for easing nausea, but in the lab it’s been found to contain compounds that fight inflammation, which often causes pain.


Some research has found that even low doses of caffeine (about 100 milligrams, or the amount in a cup of drip-brewed coffee) can help reduce the perception of pain during a painful and exhausting task.

Olive Oil

Researchers have become interested in the anti-inflammatory benefits of olive oil because people who eat a traditional Mediterranean diet (which is rich in olive oil) seem to have fewer health conditions related to inflammation, such as degenerative joint diseases or diabetes.


Salmon is a deep-sea fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is a great addition to every diet, even if you aren’t living with pain. Foods with this type of healthy fat are thought to have numerous benefits for health, including a reduction in inflammation.

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