The cold weather can bring with it more aches and pains. As you brace against the winters chill, muscles can tense and cool temps can create creaky bones. But luckily, getting more of a few key nutrients can help you end aches for good. Check out a few of our favorite foods below.
Carrots mend damaged tissues.
Great news from Canadian scientists: Enjoying a cup of carrots daily can ease bothersome muscle and joint pain by up to 45 percent, plus it’ll help you heal 50 percent faster if you’re injured right now. These root veggies are brimming with nutrients (vitamin C and betacarotene) that speed the healing of damaged muscle and cartilage.
Hot peppers trigger the release of natural painkillers.
When your head is throbbing, biting into a hot pepper-laced meal or snack could cut your brain pain by 50 percent in as little as 10 minutes. Thanks goes to a unique compound called capsaicin that gives chili peppers their fiery heat.
According to investigators at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, capsaicin energizes brain nerves, kick-starting their production of powerful ache-banishing hormones called endorphins.
Ginger shuts down the body’s soreness signals.
A daily dose of ginger cuts even chronic stiffness, achiness and pain in half for 75 percent of women, Danish researchers say. Credit goes to healing compounds (gingerols) that halt the production of pain-triggering hormones called prostaglandins. Simply add a teaspoon and a half of fresh root or three-quarters teaspoon of dried spice to meals, nibble on three slices of candied ginger, or sip two mugs of ginger tea.
Potatoes heal stiff, achy muscles.
Potato skins are packed with magnesium and potassium, minerals that relax blood vessels, improving nutrient-rich blood flow to sore muscles and injured tissues.
No wonder Australian scientists say enjoying a medium-sized potato daily cuts muscle stiffness and pain by 40 percent, plus reduces your risk of cramps by 65 percent.
Red onions flush inflammation.
Whether you cook with them or munch on them raw, adding a half a cup of red onions to your daily diet can reduce aches by 33 percent, Oregon Health & Science University researchers say. This veggie’s mix of nutrients (sulfur and anthocyanins) energize liver cells, helping them break down and excrete inflammation.
Olive oil quiets creaky joints.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) contains two rare compounds — oleocanthal and hydroxytyrosol — that switch off a pain-triggering enzyme as effectively as ibuprofen, say researchers at Seattle’s Bastyr University.
Savor two tablespoons of EVOO each day (ideally, in place of less healthy fats) and you’ll heighten your joint comfort, flexibility, and mobility by 35 percent.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine