Health Topics A-Z





























Foods that Fight Pain

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Before you reach for that OTC pain reliever, you may want to take a look at your diet.
Air Date: 7/15/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Heather Tick, MD
Heather-TickUsing both the data of modern science and the time-proven traditions of complementary medicine, Dr. Heather Tick, M.D., has helped tens of thousands of patients reach their peak levels of health. For over 20 years, Dr. Tick has dedicated herself to researching evidence-based holistic treatments for pain and inflammation. A multiple-book author, including the highly acclaimed Holistic Pain Relief: An In-Depth Guide to Managing Chronic Pain, Dr. Tick empowers her patients to live free of pain and full of life.

Dr. Tick is driven by her belief in the strength of the human body. “We change our body chemistry every time we eat,” she reminds us. Dr. Tick blends the precision of Western medicine with research-based complementary treatments to forge an innovative approach to healthcare.

As the first holder of the prestigious Gunn-Loke Endowed Professorship of Integrative Pain Medicine at the University of Washington, Dr. Tick incorporates functional medicine in her practice for gentle treatment and long-term results. In addition, Dr. Tick serves at the forefront of research and teaching as a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington in the departments of Family Medicine and Anesthesia & Pain Medicine. She was also an Adjunct Professor at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC).
  • Book Title: Holistic Pain Relief: An In-Depth Guide to Managing Chronic Pain
  • Guest Twitter Account: @HeatherTickMD
Foods that Fight Pain
Related Article
Every time you eat, you change your body chemistry. You either make it more inflamed, or less inflamed.

Why is this important?

Inflammation is the root cause of a number of health issues, including pain. 

Before you reach for that OTC pain reliever, you may want to take a look at your diet.

For instance, if you sit down to a quick meal of a fast food burger and French fries, the inflammation in your body will be heightened for the next 8-12 hours. On the other hand, if you eat a clean, balanced meal with lots of leafy green veggies, your inflammation is reduced. 

What are the main foods you should be eating to reduce inflammation, and thus reduce pain?

At the top of the list, according to Dr. Heather Tick, should be vegetables. 

Vegetables contain a ton of nutrients with not a ton of calories. They have minerals, vitamins, enzymes, some protein, good fats and a lot of antioxidants. Antioxidants quench the fire of inflammation, including pain-related inflammation.

Vegetables also make your body less acidic. This is important because acid causes more wear and tear on your body.

Potatoes and corn shouldn't be included in your anti-inflammatory vegetable intake, as they fall more into the starch category than true vegetables. Instead, choose lots of colorful veggies in red, green, purple, orange, and yellow. 

Some fruit is OK, but it should not be the majority of your "produce" intake because of the high sugar content. Berries can be one exception, as they are full of antioxidants and could be eaten all year round. 

If you must do fruit, seasonal fruits are a nice choice, for a few reasons. One, if they're seasonal, you won't eat as many servings. Two, they haven't been shipped as far, which is good for both your body and the environment. And, finally, some research has shown that eating seasonal fruits actually sends a message to your body and brain, changing up your metabolism based on what season it is.

Stay away from fruit juices, especially pre-packaged fruit juices.

Two more of Dr. Tick's favorites include turmeric and ginger. These work to reduce inflammation and pain, oftentimes just as effectively as traditional pain relievers.

How long will it take to see some results?

Dr. Tick says it all depends on your starting point. If you have a very acidic body that's been depleted of nutrients, it will take longer for you to realize results. 

In general, some difference can be seen in two weeks. 

Finally, while dietary supplements have become quite popular, Dr. Tick says food should always come first.

In the accompanying audio segment, Dr. Heather Tick shares information about anti-inflammatory foods, why inflammation is so bad for you, and why she became so interested in using food to fight inflammatory diseases and conditions.
Sylvia Anderson

Originally from Minnesota, Sylvia moved to California for the sun, sand and warm temperatures. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in English and Communications, both of which she has put to good use in her work with RadioMD as Senior Editor.