Nutrition and Managing Pain
Pain is often caused by inflammation which is the response of the immune system to toxins. However, in certain situations, inflammation may persist even in the absence of toxins. A proper diet may help the immune system turn off and turn on at the correct times, while a poor diet may cause the immune system to act irregularly contributing to inflammation. Certain studies have found that the immune system may treat a poor diet the same way it would react to a bacterial infection. Inflammation may also be caused by fibromyalgia and chronic pain which can also be treated with an anti-inflammatory diet.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet includes consumption of anti-inflammatory foods while avoiding junk foods that have low nutritional value such as soda. In addition to controlling pain, an anti-inflammation diet may also get rid of certain unwanted side effects of some medications that cause brain fog, memory loss and sleepiness. A healthy diet may also help with weight loss, which by itself is another tool for fighting inflammation.
Consuming a diet that includes a lot of vegetables, specifically cruciferous vegetables, may prove helpful. The most compelling evidence suggests that food containing high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols may help soothe and prevent pain. Avoiding red meat, cutting back on dairy products, and avoiding simple carbohydrates with refined sugar will further help inflammation. Many of the recommended foods are included in the Mediterranean diet such as whole fruit, dark leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. It may also be that omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed oil, olive oil, and fatty fish can also limit inflammation.
Though modifying an individual’s diet is not a quick fix, it has great potential to help manage and prevent inflammation. When combined with daily exercise and stress management, eating a proper diet may prove invaluable in managing pain.