Your diet and your overall health are intrinsically linked. While many people understand the connection between diet and digestion, for example, the connection between diet and pain is less widely understood. However, if you’re one of the over 51 million Americans who experience chronic pain, your diet could be affecting your pain levels.
Here, we’ll discuss how dietary factors can impact chronic pain – and how to eat for pain relief.
Which Foods Worsen Chronic Pain?
Certain foods can lead to increased inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation contributes to pain by causing the tissue to swell. The swollen tissue may then press on nearby nerves, triggering pain. Chronic inflammation also dampens various bodily processes, often leading to fatigue, gastrointestinal discomfort, and even weight gain. All of these effects can exacerbate chronic pain.
Foods that can cause increased inflammation include:
- Refined or simple carbs, such as baked goods and white bread
- Fried food, such as french fries and other common fast food items
- Red meat, such as steaks and hamburgers
- Processed meats, such as hot dogs
- Lard, shortening, and margarine
Of course, moderation is key. The foods listed above are more likely to worsen chronic pain if they’re consumed frequently or in excess.
Eating for Chronic Pain Relief
While an unhealthy diet can worsen chronic pain, a nutrient-rich diet can help resolve it. An anti-inflammatory diet should be rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
The following foods have been specifically recognized for their anti-inflammatory benefits:
- Olive oil
- Fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel
- Leafy green vegetables, including kale and spinach
- Fruits, including berries, cherries, and oranges
- Nuts, including almonds and walnuts
Chronic pain can hold you back from the activities you love the most. At Florida Wellness Medical Group, our medical experts can offer dietary advice and other treatments to start your journey to pain relief. Schedule your appointment today!