Importance of Nutrition with Chronic Pain
The western diet is notorious for its processed meats, sugary foods, refined grains, and low intake of fruits and vegetables – which all have negative impacts on chronic pain relief. Poor diet is the leading cause of mortality and can be modified. Our diet can enhance the behavior of the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems, which can directly impact how people experience their pain. The load on the joints can be reduced by losing and maintaining weight. Nutrition also impacts the risk and severity of other diseases that can occur with chronic pain such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and mental health.
Accessing healthy opportunities can be an obstacle if you have limited and reduced mobility because it affects your ability to shop, cook, and prepare meals. Mental health can contribute to feeling isolated and can result in a low quality diet and increase comfort eating with lack of meaning around your meals. Lack of sleep also leads to irregular eating habits.
Here are some tips of what could help your chronic pain and what you should do:
Reduce inflammation to help the body protect itself from oxidant damage. Polyphenols are found in fruits and vegetables which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
What you can do: Include a variety of frozen fruits and vegetables. They are quick and easy to use and can be stored for a longer period of time. Also, reduced salt canned veggies (reducing the need to shop or shop as often).
Quality fats like Omega 3 and olive oil help with inflammation and enhance the immune system.
What you can do: Incorporate oily fish, flaxseed oil, canola oil, linseed and walnuts. Limit saturated and trans fats like butter, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and poly-saturated fats (sunflower and safflower oils).
Prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies – common ones include Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Magnesium.
What you can do: Consume products like meat, fish, and dairy for Vitamin B12; fish and eggs for Vitamin D; and leafy green veggies and whole grains for Magnesium. You can receive Vitamin D from sun exposure as well.
Dehydration can cause pain sensitivity in the older population and also poor wound healing and constipation. Water helps circulate nutrients and eliminates waste which helps healing and pain.
What you can do: Aim to drink 2-3 liters of water a day and eat foods with higher water count like soup and fruits.
Fiber is essential for digestion, a healthy microbiome, and weight management. With increased fiber intake, also increase fluid amounts to improve bowel health.
What you can do: Switch to whole grain/ whole meal breads, pasta, breakfast cereals, bran mixed veggies, fruits with skin on, and a bean mix.
Sugar gives you high energy but low nutrients which increases inflammation and oxidation resulting in worse pain. High intake also equals poor health and chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What you can do: Swap sugary drinks for water or unflavored mineral water. You should also choose healthy and convenient snacks like fruit, veggie sticks, or reduced fat yogurt. Limit eating out and cook more at home to reduce increased sugars and highly processed foods.
Nutrition always plays an important role in your body’s well-being. Take care of your mind and body by consuming the proper foods and drinks, staying active, and sleeping well. If you continue to experience chronic pain and inflammation, schedule a no-cost consultation to talk with Dr. Jackson Draeger.
To read more visit: https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/11/19/5950