How an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Relieves Chronic Pain

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With so many diets out there to try, it’s easy to get confused as to how you should eat. The reality is that there is no single “perfect” diet. Each person is unique, and the eating guidelines you follow should be based on your health and the goals you want to achieve.

One of the diets we would like to talk about today is an anti-inflammatory diet, which is what we recommend to people going through chronic pain recovery. We realize that an anti-inflammatory diet isn’t right for everyone, but we do believe it to be an incredible healing tool for people living with chronic pain. Our trauma treatment center has seen success with it, and we’ll share why this is the case.

How an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Relieves Pain

Inflammation is a big factor in chronic pain. It occurs when the body’s immune response is activated. Inflammation is intended to protect the body by increasing blood flow to the affected area and helping it heal. However, when inflammation is constant, it can be harmful to the body and increase the risk for heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer and arthritis.

By eating an anti-inflammatory diet, you can decrease inflammation in the body, lower cholesterol levels and control insulin. A vegan or Mediterranean diet that incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains provides the best results. Be sure to combine healthy eating habits with stress management, exercise and acupuncture.

What an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Looks Like

Starting on an anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t have to be difficult. There aren’t huge restrictions as with other diets. The key is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that contains fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Here is what an anti-inflammatory diet looks like:

  • Rainbow of colors. Consume 8-9 servings of vegetables each day, or swap a couple of servings out for fruit. Your plate should be colorful with each meal. Here are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods:
    • Green leafy vegetables
    • Berries
    • Nuts
    • Fatty fish
    • Olive oil
    • Tomatoes
  • Restrict dairy and carbs. Dairy products should be eaten in moderation. As for grains, choose those that are made from whole grains, such as steel cut oats and whole grain bread with the seeds. Stay away from refined carbohydrates.
  • Avoid red meat. Red meat should be avoided because it’s high in saturated fats and raises cholesterol levels. It also contains high levels of purines that can make joint inflammation worse. Ideally, you should only eat red meat a couple of times a year.

If you live with chronic pain, it’s important to keep your body strong and healthy by exercising, reducing stress, getting enough rest and eating the right foods. We highly recommend an anti-inflammatory diet, which you can learn more about at Awakenings Treatment Center, an outpatient rehab that specializes in chronic pain treatment in Agoura Hills.