March 7, 2011 — With America’s nearly 30 percent obesity rate, it is well understood that lean and clean recipes for the health nut trends are all the rage right now.
But what about those food choices that do something a little different for the 50 million Americans that suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis? We all know comfort food feels good, but research shows relief to pain symptoms can come from certain foods and it can just happen to be healthy too!
What is the major culprit to pain or stiffness in the body? For patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis for instance, the body’s natural inflammatory response is to blame.
“Fats in foods can have the greatest effects on the inflammatory process,” says Charles Friedman, DO, pain management specialist of Pain Relief Centers in Pinellas Park.
The big “O”
Omega fats play a large role in promoting or inhibiting inflammation so it is important to understand the difference between the good and the bad, like omega-6 verses omega-3. “Omega-3’s can be found in fish, flax seed and walnuts and are known as ‘calming fats’ because they reduce and prevent stress,” explains Friedman.
Omega-3 fats make up most of the 60 percent fat in your brain. Omega-6 fats are also essential fatty acids but too much of it is not good for you. “If you have soft, brittle nails, stiff joints or feeling fatigued, these may be warning signs that you are not getting enough omega-3 fats in your diet,” says Friedman. “And unfortunately for Americans, the omega-6 fat, although essential, is too predominate in our diets.” Most omega-6 fats will be found in packaged convenience foods or beef, pork, chicken, and egg yolks.
Let’s go nuts
“Omega-9 fats also prohibit inflammation, allowing relief to pain sufferers,” says Friedman, “these can be found in olive oil, avocados, pecans, almonds, peanuts, cashews, sesame oil, pistachio nuts and macadamia nuts.” Leaving a can of these nuts at your desk or in your car can prove to be a beneficial snack as long as the serving size remains at 10-12 nuts per serving, as they are a bit high in calories.
Some advice never gets old
Eat your veggies, simple as that. “The antioxidants found in vegetables and fruits prevent the initiation of the inflammatory response,” says Friedman. A small apple or half a banana fulfills one of the five to eight recommended servings of fruit a day. Tossing some veggies in your planned meals like pasta, rice or scrambled eggs can do the trick as well. Pre-bagging carrots or celery for lunch as a side item can also be a simple solution to the serving-size snafus.
Although there is no set diet declared for any one person in their individual level of chronic or acute pain, Friedman suggests talking to your doctor, setting realistic goals and creating a balanced diet with good nutrition, exercise and plenty of R&R. “It’s never a good idea to stress-out about grams of this or ounces of that – simply eliminate some of the bad, have a good moderation and enjoy your healthy lifestyle in tranquility,” advises Friedman.
Source: Florida Pain Relief Centers, www.pinellaspain.com