And, the Answer is: More than $260 Billion

And, the Answer is: More than $260 Billion
October 10, 2016 Katherine Matina

That’s how much Americans had spent on pain relief medications and treatments when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) completed its report in 2011. If you factor in lost productivity, the economic cost of pain rose to more than $560 billion annually.(1)

That’s a remarkable number. It would take just $18 billion or so to buy all five of the most valuable sports teams in the world – Dallas Cowboys ($4 billion), Real Madrid ($3.65 billion), Barcelona ($3.55 billion), New York Yankees ($3.4 billion), and Manchester United (3.32 billion).(2)

If you’d like to spend less on pain medications and treatments, you may want to modify your diet. Many people include pain-fighting foods in recipes and meals. Here are a few researchers have found may help ease discomfort:

  • Ginger. reported ginger does a lot more than settle stomach aches and provide relief for colds. “…ginger is rich in inflammation-fighting compounds, such as gingerols, which may reduce the aches of osteoarthritis and soothe sore muscles.”(3)
  • Grapes of all colors. The blend of antioxidants in grapes may help with everything from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to cancer and aging. Grapes contain phytonutrients, including phenols, polyphenols, resveratrol, and carotenoids, and are also a good source of vitamin K, copper, and B vitamins.(4, 5)
  • Coffee. Next time you have a headache, drink a 16-ounce coffee (caffeinated). That should provide the 200 milligrams of caffeine needed to help with headaches – even migraines!(3)
  • Tart cherries. Whether you eat the fruit or drink the juice, cherries have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as pomegranates, blueberries, acai, and cranberries.(3)
  • Turmeric. You may want to substitute turmeric for ibuprofen. It may help with arthritis pain and swelling, and may also help treat symptoms of Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and stomach ulcers.(4, 6)

If your joints are sore occasionally, you experience muscle tension after a tough workout, or you suffer from chronic pain, adding a few of these items to your diet may help.


Gingerbread: It’s Not Just for Christmas

The first known recipe for gingerbread was Greek and dates back to 2400 BC. Over time, recipes emerged in China and Europe, according to Queen Elizabeth I had the idea to decorate gingerbread cookies with shapes varying from flowers in the spring to birds in the fall.(7) Here is a fall recipe for gingerbread from You can serve it with a side of cherries, grapes, and other pain-fighting fruits.


Pumpkin Gingerbread(8)

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil, and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove. In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in a preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean (about 1 hour).


What Do You Know about the Rio Olympics?

1.  Which gold medalist moved the fastest?(9)

A.  American swimmer Simone Manuel during the 100-meter freestyle.
B.  Jamaican runner Usain Bolt during the 100-meter dash.
C.  Dutch cyclist Anna van der Breggen during the women’s road cycling race.
D.  Australia’s Kim Brennan in the women’s single sculls.


2.  The gold-medal winning men’s rugby team won its country’s first-ever Olympic medal. Which country did they represent?(10)

A.  Monaco
B.  Azerbaijan
C.  Fiji
D.  Bangladesh


3.  The United States won two gold medals – one in the men’s event and one in the women’s – in a sport that was dropped from the list of core sports for the 2020 games. (It was later reinstated.) Which sport was it?(11, 12)

A.  Pole vaulting
B.  Wrestling
C.  Shooting
D.  Kayaking


4.  How many medals did Americans bring home from the 2016 Olympics?(13)

A.  27
B.  46
C.  83
D.  121


Thinking of Traveling to Japan?

The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Japan, and they’re likely to be quite different from the Rio Olympics. CNN Travel described the current vision of Olympic planners:(14)

“A robot directs you to your stadium seat, while artificial meteorites streak across the sky. Down below, hundreds of performers decked out in traditional Japanese costumes glide through the arena. You take all this in, as a multilingual translation app on your smartphone describes what’s going on.”


If you’re planning a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, you may want to familiarize yourself with Japanese customs before you go. Lonely Planet offers many tips, including these:(15 )

  1. Be prepared to take off your shoes. Removing your shoes is customary when entering a private home, temple hall, traditional accommodation, or another establishment. You may be given slippers to wear on wooden floors, but even slippers should be removed on tatami mats.
  2. Bring small gifts from home. The Japanese exchange gifts for a variety of reasons. You may want to bring small items signifying your home state or the United States, such as magnets, key chains, or chocolate bars.
  3. Replace a handshake with a bow (or an inclined head). While some Japanese people may shake hands, many bow when they meet, greet, or say good-bye.
  4. Go ahead – slurp your noodles. It’s not rude to make noise while eating noodles. You’ll probably realize that pretty quickly.
  5. Don’t leave a tip behind. Tipping is not a custom in Japan. If you do offer a tip, put the money in an envelope first.

Taking time to learn about Japanese customs before you travel can make the trip far more enjoyable.


Quiz Answers:


  1. B – The New York Times reported Usain Bolt (runner) traveled at about 23 miles per hour, edging out cyclist Anna van der Breggen who was moving at 22 miles per hour.
  2. C – Fiji won its first gold medal.
  3. B – Wrestling. Helen Maroulis and Kyle Snyder won gold.
  4. D – Americans won 121 medals (46 were gold – 27 of those were won by women, 19 were won by men).



Best regards,





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