Did it ever occur to you that the foods you are eating can actually contribute to your chronic pain? Certain foods can exacerbate your pain while others actually help to relieve it. If you suffer from chronic pain, keep reading to learn about the best foods for chronic pain.
Our Fickle Immune System
Our immune system is set up to fight off infection and help us heal from injuries. When something attacks our body, those hero white blood cells come to the rescue. When the injury heals or the infection goes away, sometimes our immune system can become “whacky” and stay on guard for other attacks due to poor diet choices. Over time it damages our healthy cells and causes constant pain in our muscles, tissue, and joints.
In addition, chronic pain results from chronic inflammation, and our diet contributes to systemic inflammation. Chronic low grade inflammation remains, and it can contribute to cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions.
Our immune system reacts to an unhealthy diet in much the same way it responds to bacterial infections. Deficiencies in micronutrients like zinc, selenium, iron, folic acid, vitamins A, B6, C, and E can alter the function of our immune system.
Best Foods For Chronic Pain
For the most part the Mediterranean diet seems to work best. It consists of the following:
- Whole grains like oats, brown rice, barley, bread, quinoa, and rye all have anti-inflammatory properties. Try whole wheat pasta and tortillas.
- Fruits like dark berries and cherries are good choices. Daily intake is suggested, but avoid fruit juices with the added sugar.
- Nuts, beans, and peas can significantly help to reduce your pain. Choose black, white, or kidney beans, chickpeas, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and soybeans.
- Dark green leafy vegetables should be part of every day’s diet: spinach, cabbage, onions, garlic, broccoli, cucumbers, and green beans.
- Healthy proteins like poultry and fish
- Always use healthy oils like olive and canola
- Black, white, or green tea
Aim for variety with each meal. Some other general recommendations for reducing chronic pain is to drink more water, maintain a healthy body weight, and avoid sugar spike foods.