Eating Away the Chronic Pain (with a Healthy Diet)
If you’re worried about illness, or about pain, looking at your diet is always a good place to start. You get the best results out of your body by monitoring what you put into it, and how your body reacts to it. Whether it’s a matter of allergens, how your mood is affected, how many calories it gives you, or how much inflammation it’s responsible for, the food you eat can affect your pain in the negative and in the positive.
Many chronic pain sufferers also suffer from chronic inflammation. The pain is a direct result of this inflammation, and it has become clear in recent years that eating certain foods can help reduce inflammation, as well as affect other parts of your biology that make chronic pain worse.
How Does Your Diet Affect Your Immune System?
Your diet has a lot of power of your immune system, as a matter of fact. The immune system is built to react to whatever is put in the body, in order to warn you and isolate the injured spot. Sometimes an unhealthy diet causes the immune system to react the same way it would with an infection. If you’ve ever had an infection, many times the pain can be unbearable.
There is evidence that having a deficiencies in certain micronutrients may alter the way your immune system operates. These include:
- Vitamins A, B6, C and E
- Folic acid
How Does Your Diet Affect Inflammation?
Some foods rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols are believed to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Some of these contain those important polyphenols. These include:
- Whole fruits (especially berries)
- Whole grains
- Dark green leafy vegetables
Omega-3 fatty acids are also important, and can be found in:
- Flaxseed oil
- Fatty fish (sardines, mackerel and salmon)
- Olive oil
What is the Best Type of Diet for Reducing Chronic Pain?
Some diets stress only eating one type of thing for an extended period of time, but this is because they are designed to target only one part of the body, or one particular goal for the body. With chronic pain, we’re dealing with the entire body, so mixing it up is often your best option. Using the types of foods you should eat is a good guideline, but finding a variety of places to get them is important.
This also means cutting out junk food and processed foods in general. This includes processed meats, sodas, white breads and pastas, etc. A good general rule for amounts of food is:
- One half of your plate should be primarily vegetables, as well as some fruit
- The other half should have whole grains (pastas, brown rice) and healthy proteins (nuts, fish, beans, poultry)
- If you are using oil it is best to use canola and olive oils instead of butter or other alternatives
Knowing your body is key to knowing what it needs. Pay attention to its signals and you’ll find out just how to balance your diet on your own.