Many people frown when they hear the words “diet” and “healthy eating.” There’s no justification for this! Who says staying in shape has to be a chore? You’ll be ecstatic to learn that simply changing your diet can help you manage chronic pain and inflammation (or possibly even avoid those symptoms entirely).
We are, after all, what we eat. Food is medicine, and we should treat it as such by putting only the best ingredients into our bodies. Many people experience pain and inflammation as a result of eating the wrong foods, necessitating a change in eating habits.
Better yet, the diet you choose doesn’t have to taste like a punishment for previous bad behavior. Our physical therapist typically recommends dietary changes alongside exercises and other natural techniques as part of a holistic physical therapy program.
We’ve listed out 7 tips you can start implementing now if you want to clean up your old, regrettable menu items!
Add a little bit of spice
As delicious as these foods are, you’ll want to season them with salt and pepper from time to time. Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided us with a vast array of herbs and spices that can effectively relieve pain and inflammation.
If you like Indian food, for example, you’ll appreciate the fact that turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Diallyl disulfide is abundant in garlic, another natural anti-inflammatory. Cayenne pepper contains a natural pain reliever called capsaicin. Don’t forget about oregano for a healthy dose of antioxidants!
Gut-friendly, fermented foods are the way to go
In your stomach, “bad” bacteria (which promote inflammation, chronic pain, and digestive discomfort) are constantly at odds with “good” bacteria (which support digestive health by crowding out the “bad” bacteria). You can help the good guys by including a lot of probiotic foods in your diet. Low-fat yogurt and fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and pickles are also good options if you like them.
Indulge in natural sweets
We understand that the obvious choices of healthy eating (fruits, vegetables, etc.) may not excite you, so we’ve started this list with dessert! Did you know that on an anti-inflammation diet, you can still eat desserts? That is correct. All you have to do is avoid refined sugar.
Refined sugar is well-known for causing and exacerbating inflammatory disorders and symptoms. Even just having one sugary soda per day has been shown to increase rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in women by 68 percent. The good news is that you can have a pretty sweet diet without the added sugar!
For a refreshing change that won’t set off your pain sensors, serve fresh or frozen fruit at the end of a meal. If you have to, use a store-bought sweetener. There are natural alternatives, such as stevia, which is probably the next-healthiest option if you need something extra!
Pick lean meats
Hamburgers, fried chicken, deli meats, and other quick-fix protein options are all too tempting, but they’re no longer so appealing once the pain and inflammation have set in.
You can easily resolve this problem by switching to healthy proteins that provide all of the nutritional benefits while excluding the inflammatory properties. Fish (especially fatty fish like tuna or salmon, which are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3s), tofu dishes, and legumes should all be on your menu.
Make a rainbow on your plate!
Fruits and vegetables come in a rainbow of colors, ranging from deep purple and brilliant green to neon orange and brilliant yellow. The fruits’ vibrant colors are due to antioxidants, which are nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties. These colors, however, aren’t just for show; they’re also a sign that more of these foods should be consumed!
Broccoli and cabbage are filled with a noteworthy inflammation battle, Vitamin K. Make your diet a pillar of fruits and vegetables and you’ll be well on your way to feeling healthier.
Fish oil and multivitamin pills are two supplements that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Choosing a good herbal supplement such as green tea, cat’s claw, devil’s claw, and Boswellia are great ways to develop a healthier diet.
Change your diet, change your life
You can get even more benefits from physical therapy and other pain management options as you start to feel the pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory benefits of your new dietary habits.
Our physical therapist can assist you in developing a comprehensive lifestyle plan that includes diet, exercise, ergonomics, and other strategies to help you feel better.
Call Good Hands Physical Therapy today to learn more about the outstanding benefits of eating healthy.