Reduce Pain & Inflammation Through Nutrition

Internal inflammation can cause great damage to your health. In fact, you may already be seeing a physical therapist for inflammation-related health issues, such as arthritis. Whether you have a specific diagnosis or generalized pain in your back and joints, seeing a physical therapist can help. If you see a physical therapist, then they may even suggest an anti-inflammatory diet for additional pain relief.

What to Avoid

One of the quickest way to reverse nutrition-based inflammation is to stop eating the foods most associated with it. Unfortunately, for many people, these foods tend to be convenience items. With that being said, you may need to readjust how you think about preparing meals and snacks in your quest for pain relief.

There are few surprises in the types of foods that make inflammation worse. You probably already know that many foods that cause inflammation are also bad for your heart and your waistline. So whether your guilty pleasures are savory or sweet, begin to ease them out of your meal plans.

Packaged meals and junk food snacks are often full of trans fat, sugar and preservatives. In addition, it is best to avoid fatty and fried foods, red meat, pastries and donuts, white breads, white rice and semolina pasta. If you’re at all sensitive to inflammatory foods, these are among the worst when it comes to bringing on painful flare-ups.

How to Replace Inflammatory Foods

Many “bad guys” in the food world have easy alternatives. Substitute white bread with whole-grain bread, white rice with brown rice, and semolina pasta with wheat or garbanzo pasta. Instead of eating red meat every day, incorporate more fish, chicken and veggie patties into your diet. 

Preparation is also an important component of an anti-inflammatory diet. Avoid frying foods or ordering fried foods when eating out. You can eat the same ingredients, just grill, roast, or steam them instead. Rather than topping main courses and side dishes with creamy sauces and dressings, choose healthier alternatives. Topping options for various salads, side dishes and main courses include vinaigrettes, Greek yogurt, salsa, fruit, lemon juice and olive oil.

Anti-Inflammatory All-Stars

Along with healthy substitutions of inflammatory foods, look for nutritional choices you can make that directly address internal swelling, Make sure to add these to your meal plans each week, and assess whether your health issues seem to ease in response.

Certain anti-inflammatory herbs, spices and supplements may provide some pain relief. Multivitamins and fish oil pills are among the supplements noted for their anti-inflammatory properties. Good herbal supplement choices include boswellia, green tea, cat’s claw and devil’s claw. Turmeric and ginger are great seasonings to cook with and green tea makes an excellent anti-inflammatory beverage.

The rainbow of fruits and vegetables that you’ve heard of for heart health and boosted immunity may also fight inflammation. The more color on your dinner plate the better! Colorful fruits like berries and mangos, vegetables that range from dark green (kale and spinach) to orange (carrots and sweet potatoes) to red/purple (beets and tomatoes) to yellow, (sweet peppers and corn) are also great choices.

Along with fish oil pills for Omega-3 inflammation protection, adding more actual fish to your diet is a good idea. Salmon, herring, sardines, trout, mackerel and tuna all may provide some pain relief when inflammation is the culprit.

Long-term pain relief can rarely be achieved with diet alone. As important as nutrition is, it’s also crucial to consult your doctor about other ways to gain flexibility and reduce pain. Physical therapy may help increase your flexibility, decrease your pain, and best of all, work with your dietary changes. Together, these changes address the inflammation that’s causing stiffness and discomfort. Call us today to learn more about how physical therapy and nutritional coaching can make a difference in your inflammation. 


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