3 dietary changes to help you manage pain

It would be great to give you the perfect mix of tips to guarantee that you won't ever face chronic pain, but it's not possible. There is just too wide a range of causes, from disease to injury to old-fashioned wear and tear. While we have to acknowledge that pain becomes more prevalent with age, there are effective ways to minimize it, and in some cases, erase it.

3 dietary changes to help you manage pain

1. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet

Chronic inflammation is often the culprit behind chronic pain, particularly with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. And the cause of much of the inflammation in your arteries and the rest of your body is from free radicals, those destructive molecules that damage cells. An anti-inflammatory diet has two main components: lots of antioxidants to neutralize free radicals in your bloodstream, and plenty of healthy fats like olive oil to reduce inflammation. So what do you eat?

  • One to two vegetable and/or fruit servings with each meal (even breakfast).
  • Some form of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, anchovies) at least once a week.
  • A daily helping of soy — edamame (soybeans), a cup of soy milk, tofu cubes, even soy-based frozen desserts are all good options.
  • Flaxseeds sprinkled over salads and yogurt and mixed into sauces.
  • Olive oil as your primary cooking and salad-dressing oil.
  • Foods like asparagus, avocado and walnuts.

And here's what to limit or remove entirely from your diet:

  • Fats like butter, corn and vegetable oil and shortening.
  • Red meats high in saturated fats.
  • "Simple" carbs, particularly those high in sugar and low in fibre, like candy, doughnuts, cakes, and sodas.

2. Munch on some healthy cherries

Cherries are high in anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, plant-based chemicals that give the fruit its dark red colour.

  • Some studies find that these chemicals can reduce the pain of arthritis and gout, as well as swelling and inflammation.

3. Have a sweet treat

This contradicts our advice for an anti-inflammatory diet, but during times in which pain is an issue, sweet foods (think dark chocolate) can stimulate the release of pain-relieving endorphins in the brain. That's why newborns often get sugar water to suck on during painful procedures, such as collecting blood from their heels.

  • Obviously, you can't sit around all day eating chocolate truffles, but letting one melt slowly in your mouth when the pain gets really bad can help you relax and tolerate it until other remedies kick in.

Keep these tips in mind and control your pain by making simple dietary changes. If your pain continues, be sure to contact your doctor for other treatment options.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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