We’ve all been told to eat a healthy, balanced diet. But, did you know that your diet could directly impact your chronic pain symptoms?
Your diet and your overall health are intrinsically linked. As a result, improving your nutrition may have a significant impact on your pain symptoms. Read on to learn more about the link between your diet and chronic pain.
Inflammatory Foods and Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is often influenced, exacerbated, or directly caused by chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs when the immune system continually releases inflammatory chemicals, even when there isn’t an infection or injury.
Dietary factors are key contributors to chronic inflammation. Certain foods, often called inflammatory or pro-inflammatory foods, can lead to abnormal immune function. The immune system can react to these foods similarly to how it responds to infection, leading to lasting, low-grade inflammation.
Long-term chronic inflammation can damage cells and tissue within the body, potentially causing or worsening chronic pain. To avoid increased pain from lasting inflammation, try to limit or remove the following foods from your diet:
- Red meat
- Refined carbohydrates, including white bread and pasta
- Fried foods, such as donuts and French fries
- Commercial pastries and baked goods
- Foods containing added sugar, including soda and candy
- Trans fats, which may be found in margarine, shortening, non-dairy coffee creamer, and other processed foods
Adapting your diet to include anti-inflammatory foods can positively impact your chronic pain. Anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Olive oil
- Fatty fish, including tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines
- Leafy green vegetables, including spinach and kale
- Fruits, including cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and oranges
- Nuts, including walnuts and almonds
Following the Mediterranean diet, which includes high amounts of the foods listed above, is often a helpful model for patients looking to improve their chronic pain and overall health. To learn more about reducing your pain with lifestyle adjustments, schedule an appointment at Hernando Orthopaedic & Spinal Surgery today!