6 Ways Changing Your Diet Can Relieve Inflammation and Pain

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Do You Know the Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

You might hear the words “going on a diet” and immediately groan, however, being healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. By simply changing up your diet, you can get chronic pain and inflammation under better control (or possibly even eliminate them from your life altogether). Better yet, the diet you choose doesn’t have to taste like a punishment for previous bad behavior.

Our in-home physical therapists typically recommend dietary changes alongside exercises and other natural techniques as part of a holistic physical therapy program. Here are 6 ways you can begin replacing some of your old menu items with a pain-reducing, anti-inflammatory diet.

1. Modify your sugar intake

Relax, no one is telling you to cut sugar out altogether — just to consume less of it! Refined sugar is notorious for feeding painful inflammatory disorders and symptoms. Did you know that even having one sugary soda per day has been shown to increase rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in women by 68 percent?

The good news is that you can have a pretty sweet diet without the sugar. Try eating fresh or frozen fruit at the end of a meal. This is a healthier, refreshing change that won’t sound the pain alarms in your brain. If you absolutely can’t live without a packaged sweetener, a natural option called “stevia” is the next healthiest choice.

2. Be spice-smart

We know that even when a food is delicious on its own, there are those of you who will most likely want to add a little spice here and there. Fortunately, mother nature has provided a whole catalog of herbs and spices that can actually help to reduce pain and inflammation!

For instance, if you enjoy Indian food, then you’ll love the fact that turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful inflammation reducer. Love Italian? Garlic offers high levels of diallyl disulfide, another natural anti-inflammatory. Cayenne pepper is rich in a natural pain reliever called capsaicin. Don’t forget the oregano for a healthy dose of antioxidants!

3. Stock up on the yogurt

There’s a constant battle going on in your gut between “bad” bacteria (which promote inflammation, chronic pain, and digestive discomfort) and “good” bacteria (which support digestive health by crowding out the “bad” bacteria). Yogurt and other fermented foods can help with thid battle! You can give the “good guys” a leg up in your gut by adding plenty of probiotic foods to your diet. Options include low-fat yogurt and fermented products such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and pickles.

4. Double up on the veggies and fruits

Fruits and vegetables come in several different colors, from deep purple and shocking red to neon orange and bright yellow. These rainbow colors aren’t just for show; they’re a sign that you really need to be eating more of these foods! These amazing colors are provided by antioxidants, nutrients that possess powerful anti-inflammatory powers. Broccoli and cabbage are loaded with Vitamin K, a notable inflammation fighter. Make fruits and vegetables a cornerstone of your diet, and you’ll no doubt start feeling better!

5. Choose lean

We all know how convenient it seems to be to grab a hamburger on the way home. It’s all too easy to settle for that, or fried chicken and deli meats. However, they don’t seem so convenient once the pain and inflammation set in!

You can easily correct this problem by switching to healthier proteins that include all the nutritional value without the inflammatory properties. Try swapping out these meats with fatty fish like tuna or salmon, which are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3s), tofu dishes, and legumes.

6. Give physical therapy a chance

Changing your diet is a good start, however, it may not be enough to eliminate ongoing inflammation and pain. Physical therapy may be able to help reduce (or even get rid of) the pain you’re experiencing.

Our in-home physical therapists may use several methods for your pain. A few techniques could include manual therapies, dry needling, or even ultrasound treatments. More basic methods might include using heat or ice therapy. Your physical therapist will also give you stretching and motion exercises that you can easily do at home to speed up progress and healing!

Let our clinic help you on your way to becoming pain-free

There are even more health benefits for you from in-home physical therapy and other pain management options. Your physical therapist can help you construct an entire lifestyle plan that incorporates diet, exercises, healthy ergonomics, and other strategies for helping you feel great. As soon as you start to feel the pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory benefits of your new dietary habits, you’ll be thankful you made these changes! Contact our clinic today to learn more about healthy eating, and how you can pair this habit with a physical therapy program.

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