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Anti-inflammatory diet for pain relief

Good news for sufferers of inflammation and chronic pain.  Changing your diet to a vegetable based diet is likely to have a dramatic effect.

Studies show that patients who follow a strict vegan or Mediterranean diets (or other diets ‘inspired’ by these diets) have experienced a complete turnaround in their pain symptoms.  You will even get better results if you combine it with controlling your stress and regular exercise.  Not only it can control insulin and cholesterol levels but it is likely to reduce inflammation as well.  This is especially important as patients age.

Inflammation is our body’s immune response to toxins as it works to ‘self-purify’.  The ensuing inflammation not only causes pain but over time it can trigger chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic depression.

Of the many ways of treating chronic pain, the only natural one is adopting an anti-inflammatory diet.  This diet often eliminates the unpleasant side effects of many medication based therapies. There’s also substantial amount of research that shows that this type of diet can ease fibromyalgia as well as chronic pain symptoms.  

There are 3 basic guidelines to this diet:

  1. Eat the rainbow: Consume eight to nine servings of vegetables each day — if you want, make a couple of those servings fruit. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are best.  Always choose organic whenever possible.

  2. Restrict dairy and grains: Eat dairy products in limited quantities. If can’t give it up, give preference to goat and sheep produce.  When choosing grains, stay away from simple carbohydrates with refined sugar. Opt for whole grains, including barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice, rye, spelt and wheat.  Always choose organic whenever possible.

  3. Avoid red meat: Eat red meat the way most people eat turkey — on Thanks Giving and Christmas. In other words, have it on very special occasions, very infrequently. Instead, include fish as the “meat” or eat vegetarian main dishes. Chicken is neutral — not harmful but not beneficial in the anti-inflammatory sense.  And as always, choose organic whenever possible.

For even better results:

  1. Get down to your ideal weight; weight loss on its own is anti-inflammatory.

  2. Get regular daily exercise even if it only in the form of intensive walking.

  3. Manage stress

It is the diet, not the individual foods that control inflammation.  For a chronic pain patient who is suffering, I recommend the extreme form of the diet — so that is no red meat, no flour or sugar or simple carbohydrate and no dairy.  Exercise is an added benefit, particularly if people are overweight. If there is any extra weight, you will need to lose it.  Essentially, what you need to be aware of is that inflammation comes from a biochemical reaction initiated by your immune system or wound-healing coagulation mechanism.  Specific foods can promote or shut down the inflammatory cycle. For instance, simple carbohydrates promote it, while vegetables neutralise it.

Nutrition that supports a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is the key to anti-inflammation and chronic pain management. Although there are no magic foods, putting the right combination of foods into your diet can produce significant results.

As always, I’m here to help you achieve your health objectives so don’t hesitate to ask for my assistance.

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