Help relieve your chronic pain by eating healthy

Eating properly can alleviate chronic pain symptoms.

Living with chronic pain isn’t easy, but eating healthy, well-balanced meals can have a positive impact on your life by relieving some of the symptoms associated with chronic conditions. Those that suffer from chronic pain can see a reduction in inflammation, decreased stress and improved mood when they eat a variety of nutritious food. Additionally, a healthy diet of this type can help fight infections and improve your energy levels.

Healthy eating does not mean you have to give up the foods you love; it means you are making and learning healthier food choices for a better quality of life. Making small, gradual adjustments to our diet is often the most effective to change the way we eat. Eating a variety of foods regularly and also watching your portion size can help you keep up your metabolism and prevent weight gain. One factor that effects weight gain isn’t the types the foods we eat; it’s the amount we eat.

Eating a variety of foods every day doesn’t have to be difficult. As Michiganders, we are surrounded by gardens, farmers markets and local grocery stores that stock a variety of nutritious produce.

Michigan State University Extension recommends following the MyPlate eating method. According to MyPlate, approximately one fourth of your plate should be fruit and another fourth should be vegetables. Be sure to diversify the colors of your fruits and vegetables because a variety of color means a wide range of vitamins and nutrients are in your produce. Another fourth of your plate should be grains, and at least half of these should be whole grain foods such as whole wheat tortillas, pasta, rice, barley and oats. The protein group is the final fourth of your plate and should be from lean meats, fish or plant sources such as beans. If you are not allergic to milk products you should also have a glass of low-fat milk or other equivalent dairy product.

When planning your meals, work toward including seven portions of fruit or vegetables in your diet each day. They are a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

There are foods that may impact chronic pain specifically:

  • Food rich in omega 3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation. Deep water fish such as salmon, sardines, trout are very good for you. Try eating fish at least two times a week.
  • Vitamin D may improve pain regulation. Get outdoors every day to absorb vitamin D from the sun.
  • Magnesium-rich foods may improve some pain conditions. Some foods rich in magnesium include seeds, nuts, fish, green vegetables and wheat germ.
  • Limit the intake of caffeine to 400 milligrams a day. By doing this you can reduce the symptoms that affect pain and mood.
  • Under physician’s approval drink lots of water to stay well hydrated which may reduce muscle soreness.
  • People with chronic pain may have food allergies or be sensitive to foods that trigger pain. Keep a journal to track what you eat for two weeks.

Chronic pain can be alleviated by eating right and maintaining healthy habits. Talking to your physician or a registered dietician in your local hospital, taking a chronic pain PATH class through Michigan State University Extension is being proactive about your condition which could you give you relief from pain.

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