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Nutrition Tips to Decrease Your Pain

March is National Nutrition Month — Learn how food can work to your advantage

Malnutrition and the poor food choices some Americans make, are contributing to their pain.

Junk food, processed sweets, and artificial preservatives, are abundant in restaurants and on store shelves. These harmful foods lack nutrients but are rich in calories. They are causing an obesity epidemic in the US and contributing to back pain, arthritis, diabetes, and other painful illnesses.

How improving your nutrition can decrease pain

Scientific research shows that changing our eating habits to include more nutritious food, can improve chronic pain.

Your body needs a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients keep the nervous system working properly, and have a role in pain control.

Notably, there are different types of pain — your nutrition needs to fit your unique pain issue. For example, people with arthritic inflammation need different diet choices than diabetic people with painful nerve damage.

Here are some useful nutritional tips for people with pain:

Give your brain the necessary building blocks

Your brain is highly involved in how and when you feel pain. To function, the brain needs certain nutrients like:

  • Tryptophan. This nutrient is needed to make serotonin, a chemical that keeps pain levels in check and fights depression. Make sure to include tryptophan in your diet by eating milk, turkey, and tuna.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids. These fats have a big role in brain function and normal development. They are found in sunflower oil, soy, corn, nuts, eggs, meat, and fish.

Fight Inflammation

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, or chronic muscle tension, inflammation is likely contributing to you pain.

A good way to fight inflammation is by eating more Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Studies show that people with arthritis who took omega-3 supplements had:

  • Less morning stiffness
  • Fewer painful joints
  • Decreased need for medications

To get a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids eat: fish, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, and spinach.

Keep the Gut Happy

There is a GUT - BRAIN connection when it comes to pain. The human gut houses bacteria that keep you healthy. Poor nutrition and antibiotics can weaken these important bacteria, causing inflammation in the body and brain.

For a healthy gut and a better perception of pain, eat foods with live bacteria such as kefir, kimchi, and fermented sour krout.

Be Patient - Nutrients Work Slower Than Drugs

It takes a long time to feel a benefit from the nutrients our bodies use to fight pain. By taking pain medications you get a faster pain relief, but may experience unwanted side effects.

A good strategy is to continue the medications and procedures recommended by your pain specialist, while allowing your diet to show its benefits.

If you find yourself suffering from pain, call NPSC today.

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