A balanced and nutritious diet can have a significant impact on pain reduction. Nutrition gives us the energy to complete everyday tasks and ensures our bodies perform at an optimum level. Without proper nutrition, we can’t function as well physically or mentally.
How Chronic Pain Impacts Nutritional Needs
“The foods you eat (and don’t) can determine how well your body fights painful inflammation” – Harvard Health Publishing. Highly processed foods, as well as those that are rich in salt, sugar and saturated fats, are shown to place extreme stress on the body as well as enhancing the effects of inflammation. By making appropriate alterations to the diet, and prioritising foods that are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, we can minimise the effects of these, and in turn, reduce the severity of pain experienced.
Follow a Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This type of diet features more fish, less meat and it’s rich in plants and healthy oils.
Use Your Hand for Portion Control
A serving of carbs, such as cooked pasta or potatoes should be no bigger than your closed fist. The same applies to fruit. Your protein component, of meat, fish, tofu or poultry, should be around the size of your palm. Use your thumb to measure high-fat foods, such as cheese.
Allow Yourself Some Yummy Treats!
A diet that’s too restrictive can be so hard to sustain and it’s unnecessary. It’s far more sensible to maintain the 80/20 principle. That means eating and drinking healthy foods and drinks 80 percent of the time. Then allow yourself some treats for the other 20 percent. This means you don’t have to feel deprived and you can still be healthy.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
While some reports suggest there are health benefits to savouring the odd glass of wine, it is a good idea to be aware of how much you drink and stay within the guidelines. See Drink Aware for guidance on units for each drink.
Stay Well Hydrated
Staying well hydrated is particularly important during this time, as hydration supports all of our body functions. When we are well hydrated, our mood performance and concentration all improve.
Follow the ‘Healthy Eating Plate’ Guide
The Healthy Eating Plate is based on scientific evidence that shows a plant-based diet lowers the risk of weight gain and chronic disease. It portions off your dinner plate, telling you which foods should go where and in what quantity.