When gripped by chronic pain, look beyond the medicine chest and instead search for the right foods at the grocery store. What you eat can directly and indirectly help reduce pain in three ways: 1) by controlling inflammation, which contributes to the nagging pain associated with many chronic diseases such as arthritis; 2) by reducing cellular damage caused by oxidative stress, and 3) by helping to regulate your body’s immune response, which helps manage inflammation more effectively.
We get in the habit of taking Advil, Aleve and other pain relieving medicines to treat pain symptoms, without looking at the underlying cause of that pain. Over time these medications, because of their side effects, can do more harm than good. Changing your diet is crucial to protecting your cells from damage and to reduce the number of inflammatory compounds the body produces. An anti-inflammatory diet can also be an effective path to weight loss, which in turn can reduce pain caused by extra stress on joints. New research in the journal Cancer Research links losing just 5 percent of body weight to significant reductions in biochemical markers for inflammation.
Some specific foods to incorporate in to your diet are things such as: turmeric, salmon, freshwater cod or mackerel, avocado, flaxseed/flaxseed oil, ginger, fresh fruits and vegetables to name a few. Remember, when you are in the grocery store, shop the periphery and spend little time in the center of the store where much of the processed foods are located. For more information on specific foods and for a full dietary assessment, please contact the office at (561) 758-4811.
Dr. Paul O’Leary