Feel Better Today with Nutritional Diet Enhancement
The food you eat can have a huge impact on your energy. What’s more difficult to remember is that your diet and nutritional choices can also have an impact on your joint pain!
At our physical therapy clinic, we advocate a holistic approach to improving acute or chronic pain conditions. You’re not just a diagnosis or a collection of symptoms for your physical therapist!
If you’re someone who could benefit from a range of techniques and lifestyle interventions, including dietary changes, as a means of promoting long-lasting relief, call our clinic today to schedule an appointment!
Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet with these tips
Our physical therapy staff encourages our patients to consult with dietitians or other professionals for more customized and advanced nutritional support.
But we’re also happy to provide some basic guidelines that can optimize the well-earned results you get from working with a physical therapist.
The first tip: eat real food! Think minimally processed, nutrient-dense, diverse, and delicious:
- Fermented foods like tempeh, sauerkraut and kimchi (these are loaded in gut-healthy probiotics)
- Legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Quality protein like eggs, lean meat, fish, and poultry
- Fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, or even canned are all great—just watch for additives)
The key is to select foods that you enjoy eating so that making healthier diet choices is sustainable and simple. Our physical therapy team encourages our patients not to get bogged down by the latest fads and trends. Just start with the basics—plants, protein, and healthy fats—and go from there.
Another tip? Learn how to cook! Cooking at home can save you money and helps you better control what goes into your food. If pain makes it difficult to cook, a physical therapist can educate you about important things like activity pacing or home modifications that will make you more successful in the kitchen.
In addition to food, don’t forget water! You need great hydration every day to help your tissues stay healthy and flush out harmful toxins and waste products from your system. Staying well hydrated boosts circulation, enhances joint lubrication, eases muscle cramps, supports spinal disc health, alleviates headaches, and more.
Some people also find that taking certain supplements, including fish oil or chondroitin and glucosamine, helps alleviate their pain and improves well-being. The research on these supplements is inconclusive, and not all supplements were created equal. So, before taking any new supplements, chat with your primary care doctor first.
Finally, what to avoid? According to the Arthritis Foundation, certain foods and food ingredients may promote inflammation in the body and therefore exacerbate or prolong chronic pain. These foods include:
- Saturated fats
- Casein and lactose (a protein and sugar, respectively, found in dairy products)
- Gluten (a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye)
- MSG (a preservative often found in fast foods)
- Non-caloric artificial sweeteners
- Vegetable oils
- Trans fat
- Refined carbohydrates (think crackers, candy, pasta, bread)
- Refined sugar
You may choose to enjoy certain “treats” in moderation, like sweets or adult beverages. Just be mindful about how much and how often you’re consuming them.
Eating a healthy protein-filled snack and drinking a lot of water before a “treat” can help you control your portions.
3 ways diet and pain are connected
Have you ever wondered how your food choices could be influencing your acute or chronic pain condition?
Here are three ways diet plays a role in your pain relief (or lack thereof):
- Managing your food intake can help your body function the way it was intended. Eating too many calories can lead to weight gain, and researchers now know excessive body fat promotes inflammation. Excessive weight also increases the strain and stress on your joints and can raise the risk of health conditions often linked to pain, including fibromyalgia, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and diabetes. On the other hand, if you don’t eat enough food, then your muscles and tissues may lack the energy needed to grow, repair, and regenerate themselves. Under-eating may also lead to fatigue and affect your ability to safely exercise or participate in things like physical therapy.
- The right types of foods can fuel your body in the ways it needs to heal. Your tissues, including joints, tendons, muscles, and nerves, are constantly being re-built. The body relies on nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants to provide the “building material” needed to make these tissues and ensure the re-building process goes smoothly. If you don’t provide your body with these key materials, then the ability of your body to repair itself may be limited.
- Some foods can actually cause more inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a normal part of your body’s immune system response and helps protect your body against things like illness or injury. In acute injuries, inflammation is an essential part of healing. But if inflammation lasts for too long, such as in the case of arthritis, tissue and cellular damage can occur. Inflammation also is a major factor in the experience of pain. It turns out that different types of foods can worsen inflammation and therefore may increase your pain. Pro-inflammatory foods can even harm the friendly bacteria in your gut, known as the microbiome (often called the “forgotten organ”). This can impair nutrient absorption and further disrupt your immune system, since your gut and immunity are closely linked.
Discover pain relief today!
Looking for more ways to holistically boost your health and relieve your pain?
Contact our physical therapy clinic today to schedule an appointment with an experienced physical therapist who can help your body and mind thrive using a customized selection of drug-free and non-invasive techniques.