Pain is a very common symptom associated with almost any complaint. Pain is experienced by all sometime during their life on account of medical conditions, injuries or similar other reasons. In most cases, pain is managed by medications, which may often result in side-effects. Particularly in cases of chronic inflammation and pain, natural ways to manage pain may be useful. Diet and nutrition for pain can be an effective natural treatment to manage pain, especially chronic pain and inflammation.
Chronic inflammatory conditions and other medical disorders that often present with pain can be very bothersome and taking alternative therapy like diet and nutrition for pain can be helpful. Diet and nutrition play an important role in healing from injuries and recovery from illnesses. Most painful inflammatory conditions can get aggravated by certain type of foods, while some types of food can help to control pain. Hence, it is important to understand the role of diet and nutrition for pain and take appropriate measures to manage pain with diet and nutrition.
Importance of Diet for Pain
While it is important to maintain a healthy nutritious diet for all, it is of great value for people experiencing chronic pain. Diet for pain, mainly deals with avoiding certain types of foods and including specific foods that can help to fight pain. A nutritious diet can help in fighting pain, by possibly altering the way the body cells react to the pain stimulus. Certain foods may trigger the release of substances that can increase the sensitivity of a person, resulting in experience of pain.
Most pain related conditions are inflammatory responses or may be related to musculoskeletal and nerve causes. Chronic pain can be a result of trigger points left in the body after the person has experienced pain, either due to injury or illness. Such pain is mostly felt in sensitive areas and sites in the muscles all over the body. When these sensitive areas are triggered, it can lead to the whole set of pain related symptoms and cause discomfort.
Diet and nutrition can play an important role in triggering as well as preventing aggravation of such chronic pain. It is in best advantage to study the food habits and its relation to the occurrence of pain to understand individual variation of diet and nutrition for pain.
Diet and Nutrition for Pain – General Rules
However, certain rules regarding diet and nutrition for pain commonly applicable to most people include:
- Understand Diet for Pain – It is necessary to understand the relation of food and the importance of diet and nutrition for food. People experiencing chronic pain often tend to have food sensitivities or have an in-general increased sensitivity to any stimulus. Hence, it is best to study the relation of certain foods that usually aggravate the pain, to be able to avoid them.
- Get Wholesome Diet – Although it is essential to have good diet and nutrition for pain, foods cannot stop pain overnight. It is ideal to make necessary changes in daily diet and include a healthy balance diet, which provides enough nutrition to be able to fight with diseases and pain. A wholesome diet for pain is the key to obtaining all the required nutrition. Include foods from all groups and practice moderation.
- Eat Fresh Foods – Chronic pain may also be associated with digestive issues and people having pain, usually find fresh foods as a part of diet and nutrition for pain very beneficial. Fresh fruits, vegetables, organic foods, etc. which are free of chemicals, preservatives and additives, can help to protect the body. Artificial additives can irritate the bowel, increase sensitivity or sometimes even inflammatory reaction leading to pain. This can hence, trigger chronic pain. But if the food is simple, natural and fresh, the body can easily digest them without any irritation.
- Drink Plenty of Water – Water and fluids help to keep the body well hydrated. Drinking enough water during the day not only keeps the body cool, but also helps to keep the bowel movements regular. This protects the bowel from irritation, improves lubrication and can control over sensitivity or increased signals of pain. So make sure to keep water as an important part of your diet and nutrition for pain.
- Practice Moderation – Most pain related conditions are also related to gastric disturbances, food intolerances, which is why diet and nutrition for pain is crucial. People experiencing pain need to practice moderation with foods that can cause gastric irritation or food sensitivities. Such foods usually include foods like wheat, rye, barley, oats, dairy, milk and milk products, etc.
While including healthy foods as diet and nutrition for pain, it is also necessary to avoid certain types of foods. These include:
Foods Containing Caffeine – People with chronic pain may be tempted to take drinks and foods containing caffeine, but they may not be always useful. In fact, caffeine containing foods and drinks can act as triggers, cause irritation of the bowel or the system, which can have a negative impact on pain conditions.
Processed, Baked and Junk Food – Processed, ready-to-eat foods often contain preservatives and other substances, which can trigger pain and inflammation. Baked foods, contain yeast and grains with gluten which can trigger irritation and inflammation. Hence, they are best avoided in your diet and nutrition for pain.
Sugar and Artificial Sugars – Sugary foods and drinks may not be beneficial for people looking out for diet and nutrition for pain. Foods prepared with artificial sweeteners, may contain chemical substances and hence, they too should be avoided.
Diet for Pain – Best Foods That Fight Pain
Certain foods are known to fight pain and reduce inflammation, include them in your diet for pain. These foods include
Fruits and Vegetables for Pain
- Cherries and Berries – Berries, particularly blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and can be very helpful in relieving pain. Cherries, too have great properties to reduce inflammation with the substances contained in them, which may act as pain relieving medicines. Diet and nutrition for pain must include fresh fruits with cherries and berries topping the list.
- Green Veggies – Green leafy vegetables are best known for their rich sources of vitamins and minerals. Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables can be included in diet and nutrition for pain, as they are rich in vitamin K and they contain pain fighting properties.
Omega-3-Fatty-Acids to Fight Pain
- Salmon – Fish, mostly those containing omega-3-fatty acids can act as pain killers. An additional boost of vitamin D, present in salmon, can also relieve pain, as a natural vitamin D supplement. You can get a natural dose of pain relieving substances by including salmon and fish rich in omega-3-fatty acid in your diet and nutrition for pain.
- Olive Oil – Olive oil is rich in omega-3-fatty acids and a healthy alternative to keep the body and mind healthy. Olive oil is rich in anti-oxidants, which helps to fight inflammation and can also relieve pain. In addition to this, olive oil is consumed to reduce the risk of heart diseases, strokes and some types of cancers. It can be used for cooking or can be used directly in salads dressings or sauce. Make sure olive oil is a part of your diet and nutrition for pain.
- Nuts and Seeds – Other rich sources of good fats are walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds. These seeds when consumed regularly in your planned diet and nutrition for pain, can help to increase healthy fats and protect your body from pain and inflammatory conditions.
Spices That Help Fight Pain
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon is a popular spice, which can be an important ingredient in diet and nutrition for pain and is also used as a natural remedy to aid digestion, relieve pain and promote healing. It is also widely used to provide relief in joint pain, swelling, maintain blood sugar level and to shed some extra pounds. It is popularly used in combination with honey and taken by mixing both in warm water.
- Cloves – A popular spice used in cooking, clove is also widely used in medicines and as a home remedy to provide relief in tooth pain, cold, cough, indigestion and headaches. It is believed to have anti-bactericidal properties and can help to relieve pain, so remember to add these to your diet for pain.
- Garlic and Onions – Garlic and onions are natural antioxidants and have medicinal properties, which can help in preventing heart diseases, diabetes, circulatory problems and certain types of cancers, when regularly included in diet and nutrition for pain.
- Ginger – Ginger is packed with special substances that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which can help relieve pain. While it has many other health benefits, it is also popular for easing digestive problems, stomach pain and headaches. It is a common spice used in various food preparations and also in tea. When planning a diet for pain, add ginger as a spice and make your recipes more interesting and pain relieving.
- Turmeric – Turmeric is popular for its healing properties and is used as a spice in many preparations. It too, contains medicinal properties and the substances present in it, called curcumin, can help to fight pain. An essential part of your diet and nutrition for pain, turmeric can be added in almost any preparation to enjoy its health benefits.
Other Food That Help Fight Pain
- Soy – Soy and soy products, soy milk, tofu, etc. ca be consumed for a good supplementation of soy isoflavones, which can help to protect bone loss, aid in improving general health and assist in relieving pain with diet and nutrition.
- Whole grains – Whole wheat, oats, brown rice and other whole grains containing fiber, which is rich in minerals that can help to fight pain and also aid in weight management. Including foods that help to manage weight, in your diet for pain is important to keep off unnecessary weight on muscles, joints and overall body. Whole grains and fiber also help to prevent other disorders and thus can also help to control pain related to it.
- Green Tea – Green tea is rich in antioxidants that can help to fight pain and many other disorders. The substance it contains is called Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) helps to reduce the inflammation and pain causing substances in the body and can provide a refreshing relief from pain and discomfort.