No one likes pain.  Not only does it slow you down and drag down your mood, it can also lead to emotional eating.  Nibbling while struggling with aches and pains makes sense. Eating feels good in the moment and temporarily distracts from discomfort.  The good news is that there are some alternative ways to use food in positive ways to help ease pain.  I tell my clients that food can be an important piece of your pain management strategy.  I consulted with an expert, physical therapist, Joe Tatta.  Here are some suggestions he gives his clients:

1. Sulfur Rich Foods:

  Are you looking to alleviate your sore knee or slow the effects of arthritis?  Sauté some asparagus with garlic and olive oil!  These foods contain the nutrient methylsulfonylmethane which helps to reduce soft tissue injury, muscle soreness and joint preservation.  Sulfur rich foods include garlic, onions, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and bok choy.  Another source of methylsulfonylmethane comes from the cartilage and bones of animals.  Go Paleo and make a fresh chicken stock by simmering left over chicken bones.  The sulfur rich nutrients will be dissolved in the broth, which you can use for soups and stews. 

2. Turmeric:  

This brightly colored yellow-orange spice is frequently used in Middle Eastern cuisine but rapidly gaining popularity for its ability to relive pain and inflammation.  The active ingredient in Turmeric called Curcumin modulates the inflammatory response in your body and has been shown to increase joint and soft tissue mobility.  Best off all it is simple and quick to use.  Sprinkle on some chicken before grilling or add to rice to spice it up!

3.  Cherries:

 If you are an athlete, you love your sport but the delayed onset muscle soreness you feel 24-48 hours later is never welcomed.  Cherries have high levels of flavanoids that produce antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and have shown promise in helping alleviate muscle soreness and pain after exercise.  So instead of reaching for that sugary sports drink sip on some tart cherry juice for rehydration and relief of soreness.

Thank you Joe for these suggestions!  Visit him at

Click Here: to Meet Dr. Albers!  Video of Dr. Albers Explaining an Easy Mindful Eating Tip

Dr. Susan Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and the author of 6 books on mindful eating.  She's been a guest on Dr. Oz and is frequently quoted in Shape and Prevention magazine.

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