An unfortunate fact is that medications for pain contribute heavily to the opioid crisis currently gripping America. Even without the risk of addiction, hardly a day goes by when an attorney isn’t running an ad, asking for people to join class-action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. These and other factors compel many people to consider more natural remedies. With that in mind, here are some of the nutrition tips to decrease pain and inflammation that we believe will work wonders for you and your loved ones.
Get To Know Your Body
Everyone reacts differently to the same foods, so it’s important to pay close attention to your body before you begin. Some of our patients have great success with using journals to keep track of their diets. When you suffer pain or notice inflammation, write down what you ate that day. We also recommend using your journal to note any changes as you try other diets. If you feel pain and then it stops or the inflammation goes away, note what you ate then, too. In time, you might begin to notice some cause-and-effect relationships.
Reduce Known Problem-Causers
There are some specific foods that are known for contributing to pain and inflammation. There are three primary types of foods that you should look out for:
- Processed Meats: Many Americans are switching to plant-based diets. These do not work best for everyone, but you should definitely reconsider how often you eat processed meats. Everyday options on many American menus include bacon, sausage, and smoked meats. Sodium tends to be the problem ingredient here.
- White Bread and Pasta: If you love Italian cuisine, these are delicacies you might not feel prepared to give up. However, there are great alternatives to these “empty calories.” You could switch to whole-wheat bread and pasta. If the first brand doesn’t quite hit the spot for you, keep trying new ones until you find something you like.
- Added Sugar: It’s hard to cure a sweet tooth, but getting it under control can help relieve pain and inflammation. The two main types of sugars to look out for are corn syrup and table sugar. You can find these in not just candy, ice cream, and soda, but even your favorite fruit juices.
Increase Your Intake of Healthy Foods
In contrast to the list above, some foods promote better health and might even help to decrease pain and inflammation. These are the four main additions to make to your diet:
- Water: One of the most common causes of headaches and other aches and pains is dehydration. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day and always hydrate before and after a workout.
- Beans: Beans contain fiber and proteins that help to reduce inflammation. If you love tacos and bean soups, you’re already on the right path. Experiment with different types, such as black, pinto, broad, and red.
- Fish: If you feel ready to reduce your meats but don’t want to give up animal protein altogether, try working more seafood into your diet. The omega-three fatty acids do an excellent job of helping you control inflammation. Try salmon, tuna, salmon, and cod.
- Garlic: The diallyl disulfide is what gives it its anti-inflammatory characteristics. This is probably one of the easiest foods to work into your diet because it is so easy to cook with. If you dislike the taste of garlic, you could try supplements.
At Michigan Head & Neck Institute, we work with patients to use both traditional and alternative methods to treat pain. We believe that this holistic approach to relief offers the best possible results. If you would like to know more about our methods, we are eager to share them with you. Call (586) 573-0438 so you can try them for yourself.