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How Diet Can Help with Pain and Inflammation

If you suffer from chronic pain and inflammation, a diet with a focus on vegetables can have a dramatic effect. Patients who follow a strict plant-based or Mediterranean diet can see a drastic turnaround in their pain and chronic inflammation. 

Our team at Impact Med Zephyrhills discusses how regular exercise, controlling stress, and eating healthy foods can work together to reduce inflammation and chronic pain. 

What is Inflammation? 

Inflammation is the body’s response to toxins as it tries to “purify” itself. The resulting inflammation causes pain and can also trigger chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. 

There are many ways to manage chronic pain, but one of the most exciting approaches is adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet can eliminate many unpleasant side effects that can come from medication including fogginess, memory loss, and sleepiness. 

Along with exercise, stress management, and physical therapy, an anti-inflammatory diet can be a powerful therapy for pain management. 

Diet and the Immune System

Some studies have found that the immune system reacts to an unhealthy diet in the same way that it may react to a bacterial infection. Further, some evidence suggests that deficiencies in micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, folic acid, iron, and vitamins A, B6, E, and C, can alter immune system function. 

Foods that are rich in antioxidants, known as polyphenols, can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. This includes foods such as: whole fruits, berries, dark leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains — all staples of the Mediterranean diet. 

Aim for Variety 

To help reduce chronic inflammation and pain, cut out inflammatory foods and add in more of the good anti-inflammatory kinds. 

Many inflammatory goods are processed “junk” foods that offer low nutritional value such as soda, and foods with simple sugars, processed meat, white bread, white pasta, and other foods that are high in refined carbohydrates. 

When eating, aim for variety. You must make lasting changes, to ensure that your diet works for you and to get the anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Ani-inflammatory Basics to Follow 

Follow these basic diet guidelines to get the best anti-inflammatory benefits from your diet:

  • Eat the rainbow: Eat eight to nine servings of vegetables every day. (Make a couple of those servings of fruit if you would like.) Choose dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, or Brussel sprouts for their health benefits. 
  • Restrict dairy and grains: Limit your intake of dairy and when eating grains, steer clear of simple carbohydrates with refined sugar. Opt for whole grains such as oats, quinoa, rye, spelt, wheat, barley, and buckwheat.
  • Avoid red meat: Choose red meat infrequently. Instead, eat fish, lean chicken, or mainly vegetarian dishes. 
  • Use healthy oils: When cooking, use healthy oils such as olive or canola instead of butter. 
  • Get plenty of sleep: The quality and quantity of your sleep can have an impact on inflammation. 
  • Get exercise: It is important to get active regularly, even if that just means taking a walk. Any physical activity can be beneficial. Aim for 30-60 minutes a day.
  • Reduce stress: Stress plays a major role in pain and inflammation in your body. Work to decrease stress by exercising, meditating, doing yoga, etc. 
  • Drink water: Staying properly hydrated is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation. If your body is adequately hydrated, your joints will move more fluidly, leading to less pain. 

Chronic Pain and Inflammation Relief 

If you are suffering from chronic pain or inflammation, our team at Impact Med Zephyrhills can help. We can create a diet, exercise, and physical therapy treatment plan to help alleviate your chronic pain so you can enjoy life inflammation and pain-free. 

Ready to get lasting relief from chronic pain and inflammation? Call Impact Med Zephyrhills for a consultation today: (813) 706-5156!