Do you have chronic pain? If so, you may want to take a closer look at what’s in your grocery cart, fridge, and pantry, because it turns out your diet could be making your pain better or worse.
According to the World Health Organization, fully 60% of factors related to your health and quality of life are directly related to your lifestyle choices. And one of the most important lifestyle choices you can make is selecting healthier foods! At our clinic, our physical therapist staff is happy to educate patients about ways to make smarter dietary decisions, so they can control their pain more effectively. When combined with regular exercise and a customized physical therapy plan that addresses underlying injury and illness, a healthy diet can truly do wonders for your function and quality of life. Call PT Link Physical Therapy to find out how!
4 Ways a Healthy Diet Can Help You Relieve Pain Naturally
Want some pointers to get you started? Consider these simple tips to get you going in the right dietary direction:
1.Avoid Pro-Inflammatory Foods to Reduce Pain
Chronic inflammation is a major factor underlying most health conditions, including chronic pain conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, and more. By avoiding foods known to promote inflammation, you’ll be able to improve your gut and immune health, absorb more tissue-healthy nutrients from the foods you do eat, and reduce inflammation, pain, and stiffness throughout your body.
The most common pro-inflammatory foods in our diets include:
- Trans fats
If you have chronic pain, avoid or eliminate these foods for a certain amount of time and see how your body responds. You might be amazed at how much better you’ll feel without these substances in your diet!
2. Consume Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Reduce Pain
To be clear, acute inflammation (such as what happens when you stub your toe or pull a muscle) is a normal and healthy response of the immune system. But when an acute reaction turns into a chronic constant state, it’s as if your body goes into high alert—and pain is one of the major alarms!
To support tissue healing and anti-inflammation, be sure to eat plenty of nutrients like:
- Omega-3 fatty acids, which you can get from quality supplements and also foods like fish, eggs, and nuts
- Vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C and magnesium, found in supplements, leafy green vegetables, and fruits
- Healthy protein, found in lean meats and other animal products as well as certain plants (protein contain amino acids, which are the building blocks of tissues and cells)
3. Eat the Right Amount of Food to Support Lean Body Mass
The amount of food you eat should be enough to support exercise and a lean body weight. Too little food, and you won’t be able to build strong muscles which support your joints and keep you moving. Too much food, and you run the risk of becoming overweight, which has been shown to be a risk factor for inflammation and chronic pain.
4. Stay Hydrated to Improve Joint and Tissue Health
Drinking water helps keep your joints lubricated and can prevent stiffness and achiness. Water is also important for helping your body flush out toxins and metabolic waste products that may be associated with inflammation. So drink up! Aim for at least one-third to one-half your body weight in fluid ounces of fresh water per day.
Do You Need Help Designing a Pain-Relieving Diet?
Contact one of our several Ohio locations today to schedule an appointment and learn how you can improve your pain by changing what you put on your plate.