Life Lessons: Food prescriptions to ease pain

Posted: 6:35 AM EDT Mar 22, 2013   Updated: 7:39 AM EDT Mar 22, 2013

When discussing what ails you, Advil or ibuprofen might come to mind, but certain foods can have even more pain-fighting power than some drugs.

Nutritionists say there are three foods that can be your prescriptions for pain.

Michelle Mehr's heel has hurt for years, but instead of aspirin, she chooses organic tart cherries. Studies at Michigan State University say they contain anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, which means they may be 10 times stronger than aspirin.

Mehr says it works for her. "I do what I can to prevent it from getting worse."

For an aching back, researchers say to try papaya. It contains papain, an enzyme so useful that doctors use it in injections.

But skip the supplements and go for the fruit for full advantage of all its antioxidants for inflammation.

For a throbbing head try tahini, a spread made from sesame seeds. It's rich in magnesium, which has been shown to alter brain chemicals thought to have a role in headaches and prevent muscle spasms.

Another pain fighting food is pineapple. This fruit contains bromelain. an inflammation-blocking enzyme that could help with knee pain.