Food Choices to Reduce Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can become unbearable when it hampers the ability to sleep, workout and do the things you love. To help support our body to heal and reduce overall pain from inflammation, there are actually several things we can do nutritionally:

Limit Sugar

Sugar comes in many forms and can be found in a variety of foods: fresh fruit, breads, granola bars, beverages, and candies, just to name a few. However, it is important to realize that added sugars are inflammatory and can increase pain. The key is to reduce your consumption of added or processed sugars. Check the ingredients list to see if added sugar is in the product. If “sugar”, “honey”, “syrup”, or something similar is listed in the first 3 ingredients, this product isn’t the best choice and can contribute to inflammation and pain. Whole fruits and whole grains do not contribute to pain and should be included in a balanced diet. Try frozen grapes, dates or berries in yogurt as a sweet treat in place of a cookie or ice cream.

Avoid Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption increases stress hormones and decreases testosterone levels. It also leads to weakened liver function and can also disrupt other major organs within the body. Over time, alcohol can affect the lining of the stomach, build up fat within the liver, and reduce brain function, all of which can contribute to overall inflammation within the body. Make a goal to avoid alcohol or limit your consumption to no more than one or two drinks per day.

Increase Whole Foods

Integrating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet while limiting processed foods will reduce inflammation. Some whole foods known to help fight inflammation include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Flax, chia and hemp seeds
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, collards, or kale
  • Raw nuts such as walnuts or almonds
  • Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries
  • Fatty fish like salmon or tuna

Add in Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are filled with antioxidants and can really pack a punch in reducing pain! Next time you’re preparing a meal, try spicing it up with a few new flavors:

  • Turmeric
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Sage

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