Pain and Nutrition
- The impact nutrition has on chronic pain
- How weight changes and inflammation affect chronic pain
- Foods that support chronic pain management
- Recommended supplements to support your daily pain management
How is Pain Related to Nutrition?
Diet and nutrition can have a direct impact on chronic pain
It can be challenging at times to eat well when you are living with chronic pain. You may be living alone or have issues with standing and cutting up vegetables. Being in pain may also leave you feeling tired and lacking the motivation to eat a proper meal. Yet, eating the foods that will fuel our bodies is an important step to improving quality of life while living with pain.
Hear from Anna D’Arcy – Accredited Practising Dietitian
- How can healthy foods help with pain management?
- Tips for getting more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.
- Some foods are said to be inflammatory. What does that mean?
- What are the benefits of managing a healthy weight with pain?
- What are the benefits of collaborating with a pharmacist for pain management?
Weight changes and chronic pain
Being overweight not only increases your risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers, but also puts pressure and strain on your joints.
By making healthy lifestyle changes that encourage weight loss, you will be able to better manage certain pain conditions like Osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. Reducing your weight by even 1kg, significantly reduces the weight off your joints and therefore reducing the pain you experience.
If you are going to consider making changes to your diet, start with one small thing and incorporate it into your daily lifestyle. Keep this going. Once you are happy that this is part of your new daily routine, then add in another small change. This approach will help you create sustainable changes to decrease your weight and reduce your pain.
Some things to consider when you are trying to lose weight:
- Think about your portion size
- Avoid sugary drinks
- Cut back on alcohol
- Cut back on sugar
- Watch the fats you eat
- Choose healthy snacks
- Be active everyday
- Sit less (see pain and physical activity for tips on moving without increasing pain)
Weight loss and good nutrition can reduce pain
Tips from Pharmacist Jacqui Hagidimitriou
– Pharmacist manager at TerryWhite Chemmart Samford.
“You may find yourself craving sugary foods to get you through the day, yet what will give you the most energy are foods that release energy slowly into your blood stream. Include these foods in your diet:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Complex carbohydrates (grains and wholemeal)
- Good quality protein
These foods also have a higher nutrient content, meaning they contain vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and antioxidants, that all help the body to produce more pain-relieving chemicals.
It may be interesting to know, then, that these kinds of foods are not out of reach for you, even if you don’t feel like you can cook an amazing meal from scratch. Why not try a pre-prepared salad from the supermarket, with some nuts or fish from a can? Or perhaps you will buy frozen vegetables and steam them to have as a side with your grilled steak. Plan for your food success by having an idea of what you are going to eat for the week – and purchase online if you have to.
Each little step you make towards a healthier diet, will leave you with more energy and feeling better about yourself. You may be surprised the difference it makes to your pain.”
Benefits of Curcumin for joint pain
How Product Can Help:
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
Curcumin contains both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory components that can help to relieve inflammation and swelling in the joints, which in turn helps to relieve mild joint aches and pains associated with mild osteoarthritis.
Curcuminoids and the active components found in Turmeric that have the anti-inflammatory affect which helps with relieving mild pain.
Features / Benefits:
Curcumin relieves mild pain associated with mild osteoarthritis.
Curcumin has many other benefits outside joint pain, including liver health, digestive health, relieving bloating, and gas.
Curcumin supplements contain much higher doses of the active component of Turmeric than you can get from your diet or from turmeric tablets. Most consumers probably don’t eat as much dietary turmeric as they can get from a curcumin supplement.
Black pepper helps the absorption of curcumin by the body so it’s important to look for black pepper extract included in curcumin supplements.
Inflammation and chronic pain
Pain fighting foods – The do’s and don’ts of eating with Chronic Pain
- Eat a rainbow of colour when it comes to fruit and vegetables – this will give you a wider range of nutrients.
- Include more fish in your weekly shop – Eating oily fish such as salmon twice a week is a great way to get plenty of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Zinc.
- You can also include more fresh or dried HERBS AND SPICES into your meals. In particular try to include turmeric, ginger, garlic, onion, pepper, thyme, oregano, rosemary and cloves.
- Aim to have a handful of unsalted raw nuts most days. Variety is key so it may be easy to include a handful of mixed nuts, or almonds one day, brazil nuts the next day, cashews the next, and so on.
- The best dietary approach to help your immune system and thus help reduce chronic inflammation, is to cut out the bad inflammatory foods and adopt more of the good anti-inflammatory kinds.
- Cut out foods that can contribute to an increase in inflammation and therefore worsen pain, including:
- Refined sugar
- Soft drink
- White bread and white pasta
- Fried foods (high in omega 6 fatty acids)
- Processed meats
- Trans-fats (which promote unhealthy weight such as doughnuts, cookies, crackers, pies and cakes)
- Alcohol, which irritates the stomach, affects liver function, and may also contribute to weight gain
- Food additives like MSG, aspartame and heavily coloured food dyes