pain management

The Unsung Hero of Pain Management: Nutrition

Can you fix a torn ACL with healthy eating and a change in diet? Well…not exactly.

However, if you have arthritis, back issues, or a variety of aches and pains, paying attention to your nutrition can lead to reduced inflammation and reduced pain. Inflammation on its own is not necessarily evil; it is your body’s attempt to defend itself against various enemies, such as illness, infection, or injury.

Something goes wrong, and intrepid white blood cells rush to save the day. The problem occurs when they refuse to leave, and your immune system stays in fight mode.

Many painful conditions are exacerbated by a diet full of foods that promote inflammation rather than alleviate it. As Dr. Fred Tabung, a visiting researcher with the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health, says, “A lot of chronic pain is the result of chronic inflammation, and the evidence is quite strong that your diet can contribute to increased systemic inflammation.”

This is probably the point where you are hoping to be urged to adopt an all-sugar, high-fat, all-dairy diet, right? Sorry — that is the last thing you should do!

Read on for a list of the heroic foods that can help lessen your pain as well as those villainous foods which will do the complete opposite.

Eat more of these foods:

Vegetables: Try to eat 8-9 servings of vegetables a day, and make sure that you eat as many varied colors as possible since they all have different nutrients and benefits. Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower and broccoli, are particularly beneficial to your health.

Fruits, especially dark and colorful fruits: These are not quite as healthy as vegetables because they do include natural sugar, but fruits such as blueberries, apples, and tart cherries are known as anti-inflammatory foods, which are high in natural antioxidants.

Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil: Multiple studies have proven that olive oil contains oleocanthal, which prevents the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes.

Whole grains: A 2018 study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that a whole grain diet reduces systemic inflammation. Whole grains include whole oats, whole rye, buckwheat, cracked wheat, barley, quinoa, and brown rice.

Turmeric and ginger: Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which is the main spice in curry, that is commonly used to alleviate pain and inflammation. The US Association for the Study of Pain reports that eating raw and heat-treated ginger daily “resulted in moderate to large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury.” This doesn’t sound especially palatable, but grated ginger on a salad is delicious, and ginger tea is quite refreshing as well!

Eat fewer of these foods:

Carbs: Our bodies quickly turn carbohydrates into sugar, which (sadly) is not advised.

Dairy products: The Arthritis Foundation warns against cheese and other full-fat dairy products that cause inflammation but recommends foods such as yogurt in moderation.

Processed foods with refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup: According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average American consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day — 11 teaspoons more than we should be consuming. You may not always realize that you are ingesting sugar because it is routinely added to processed or packaged foods. Make sure to read labels and look for foods that include fewer than 4 grams of added sugar per serving.

Red meat and processed meats: The red meats consumed the most in the United States are beef, pork, veal, and lamb. Processed meats include hot dogs, pepperoni, pastrami, deli meats, and beef jerky (all the fun stuff!). Studies show that these lead to a variety of health issues, including inflammation and pain.

You probably don’t want to go cold turkey on quitting the foods you love (although turkey is generally lower in saturated fat than beef!), but you can definitely wean yourself off them and be more intentional in your consumption habits.

By following a Mediterranean diet, including the healthy foods above, you will lessen inflammation, but you will also be likely to lose weight, which is another way to reduce pain. Obesity — or even just a few extra pounds — can place excess strain on your joints.

Ask one of our expert physical therapists at True Sports how nutrition can help you reduce your pain level. The therapists at True Sports pride themselves on their accessibility and knowledge.

Make an appointment at one of our seven convenient locations in the Greater Baltimore area:

Contact Us: (410) 946-1672

When Can You Return to Sports After an ACL Injury?

Read more

Shoulder Injuries are Common in Golfers

Read more

3 Common Upper Body Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes and How to Avoid Them

Read more

Knee Weakness: Get Relief + Build Strength with These 3 Home Exercises

Read more

What Can Athletes Do About Quad Shut Down?

Read more

Does Strength Prevent Injury?

Read more

True Sports Coronavirus Response

Read more

Lacrosse Injuries – The 5 Most Common with 7 Tips to Prevent them

Read more

Exercising While Wearing a Mask: Common Misconceptions

Read more

Why Elite Community Servants Need Physical Therapy STAT

Read more

Training with a CrossFit Physical Therapist Helps Avoid Common Injuries

Read more

One Major Tip for Making Your Diet a Success

Read more

The 7 Biggest Benefits of Physical Therapy

Read more

Overtraining: 7 Symptoms and What You Can Do About It Today

Read more

Dry Needling Therapy, Blood Flow Restriction, & Cupping: Does It Work for Athletes?

Read more

Shouldering the Blame for Shoulder Pain: Arthritis or Bursitis?

Read more

Why There is No Such Thing as an Off Season

Read more

Recovering from Spinal Surgery: What You Need to Know

Read more

How to Treat the Most Common Sports-Related Shoulder Injuries

Read more

The Cold Hard Facts About ACL Tear Risk Factors

Read more

Improve Your Running Form with These 8 Tips

Read more

How to Handle a Sports-Related Knee Injury

Read more

What’s Up With Barefoot Running?

Read more

How to Prevent Shoulder Impingement as an Overhead Athlete

Read more

Physical Therapy Guide for Hamstring Injuries

Read more

Knee Injuries from Soccer: Preventing Them with 3 Knee Strengthening Exercises

Read more

Gait Analysis – A Runner’s Secret Weapon Against Injury

Read more

Maximizing Your Post Injury Outcomes

Read more

4 Tips to Avoid Knee Injuries While Skiing

Read more

Don’t Let Lower Back Pain Keep You Off the Links

Read more

The Most Common Lacrosse Injuries

Read more

How Long Will My Physical Therapy Take?

Read more

The Unsung Hero of Pain Management: Nutrition

Read more

Care and Feeding of Pitchers in the Off-Season

Read more

What Can I Expect After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

Read more

3 Ways You Can Prevent Knee Injuries and Weakness

Read more

Experiencing Pain? See a Physical Therapist First

Read more

Can Athletes Benefit from Hip Arthroscopy?

Read more

High School Sports After the COVID-19 Pandemic: Returning Safely to the Game

Read more

Dry Needling: 6 Benefits To Help You Relieve Body Pain & Soreness In 1-2 Days

Read more

The Importance of a Strong Core

Read more

Golf Injuries – The 5 Most Common with 3 Tips & Stretches

Read more

Why Do We Need Sleep? (And More to the Point — How Do We Get It?)

Read more

What Athletes Need for the Ultimate Sports PT Facility

Read more

How You Can Avoid Germs at the Gym

Read more

An Awesome Inforgraphic About Lower Back Pain and Sports

Read more

How Common are Shoulder Injuries in Athletics?

Read more

Cupping Therapy: 4 Benefits & How It Can Relieve Pain Within 48 Hours

Read more

Strengthen Your Biceps With These 5 Home Workouts

Read more

7 Workout Mistakes Your Physical Therapist Doesn’t Want You to Make

Read more

Why You Should Go to Physical Therapy

Read more

Why True Sports Physical Therapy is Right For You

Read more

Is It An Ache or Am I Injured?

Read more

Groin Strains Symptoms and Treatments

Read more

Are You Ready for Golf Season?

Read more

How Athletes Avoid Knee Injuries When Competing, Practicing, Training or Working Out

Read more

How to Relieve Lower Back Pain as an Athlete

Read more

Quick Tips for Staying Motivated

Read more

Relieve Muscle Soreness With These 5 Tips

Read more

How Baseball Players Can Reduce Their Risk of UCL Injury

Read more

Cupping Therapy Relieves Pain and Encourages Healing

Read more

Physical Therapist vs Chiropractor: What's the Difference?

Read more

Some Thoughts Before Football Season

Read more

High School Sports Injuries

Read more

Is Blood Flow Restriction Training Right for You?

Read more

Staying Limber During Your Internship

Read more

What Athletes Should Know About Tendinopathy In the Shoulder

Read more

Meal Planning Tips for High School Athletes

Read more

Dry Needling vs Acupuncture: What’s The Difference?

Read more

What are Achilles Tendon Conditions Signs and Symptoms?

Read more

How to Relieve Sciatica Pain with Physical Therapy

Read more

How to Deadlift and Squat without Risking Lower Back Injury

Read more

Preventing the Most Common Lacrosse Injuries

Read more

Graston Technique 101

Read more

Is Stress Causing Your Lower Back Pain?

Read more

Get Knee Pain Relief With These 3 Stretches

Read more

Advice You Need to Train for a Marathon in 2021

Read more

Impact of Correct Posture on Sports Performance

Read more

The Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle – Enough To Get You Moving

Read more

Make Your Outpatient Rehab Count

Read more

Relieve Back Pain Fast In 5 Ways

Read more

5 Tips to Improve & Maximize Your Athletic Performance

Read more

Physical Therapy: Why It’s Important Both Before and After Surgery

Read more

Is Elbow Arthritis Ruining Your Game?

Read more

Working from Home Shouldn’t Be a Pain in the Neck — or Back

Read more

Dry Needling Can Accelerate Recovery for Athletes

Read more

Join Volo City & Build Community Through Your Favorite Sport

Read more

Tips for Avoiding Running Injuries

Read more

6 Ways a Physical Therapist Can Enhance Your Running Performance

Read more

Attending Physical Therapy During COVID-19: Is It Safe?

Read more

Resistance Training is Important

Read more

Benefits of Sport Specific Rehabilitation

Read more

Benefits of Training with a Strength Coach

Read more

5 Tips for Preventing Wrestling Injuries

Read more

Non-Surgical Injury Treatment Options for Athletes

Read more

Sign up to our Newsletter

Get appointment updates, practical and actionable health + fitness tips, blog news, and True Sports announcements delivered straight to your inbox. No spam.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.