Oklahoma Hand and Physical Therapy

Proper Nutrition Can Reduce Pain and Inflammation

Are We Really What We Eat?

If you’re seeing a physical therapist already for internal inflammation, then you already know that this is a condition that can seriously affect your overall health. Whether you have a specific diagnosis for your inflammation (such as osteoarthritis) or you’re not entirely sure what’s causing your pain in your back and joints, physical therapy can help.

According to Harvard Health, chronic inflammation can also lead to a variety of health ailments such as heart disease and diabetes. Eating healthy is one way to reduce inflammation. Your physical therapist might recommend a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods for additional pain relief. Read on to learn more about what kinds of foods cause inflammation, and what foods you should be eating to reduce inflammation as well!

What Foods Cause Inflammation?

Oftentimes, people choose convenience over health when it comes to what they eat. One of the fastest ways to reverse inflammation caused by an unhealthy diet is to stop consuming the foods associated with it! This means that if you want ultimate pain relief, you will need to adjust how you view preparing meals and what snacks you’re eating throughout the day.

You might be reading this and groaning, “I already know I eat so many things that aren’t good for me! I just ate an oatmeal cream pie an hour ago!” This is the truth — you probably do already know that sugary foods are bad for your waistline and your heart, so that’s no surprise there. Whether your favorite snack foods are overly sweet or salty, it’s time to start slowly easing them out of your meals and opting for healthier snacks in between.

Junk food and processed packaged meals are full of added sugar, preservatives, and unhealthy trans fat. You should also avoid eating too much red meat, fried foods, doughnuts, pastries, white rice, and white bread. These are some of the worst options for you to eat if you’re particularly sensitive to inflammation and painful flare-ups.

What Can You Replace Inflammatory Foods With?

Have no fear, there are plenty of healthy and easy alternatives to eating overly processed unhealthy meals. You can swap out white bread with whole grain, white rice with brown rice, and semolina pasta with garbanzo bean pasta! Instead of having a hamburger for lunch, turn to better options such as fish, chicken, or veggie burgers.

Make sure that if you’re taking fish oil pills for omega-3 inflammation protection, you’re also adding more actual fish to your diet! The fish that have the highest Omega-3 fats are herring, salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, and tuna. All of these may provide some pain relief when inflammation is the culprit.

Knowing how to properly prepare your food in an anti-inflammatory diet is important as well. You should not fry foods or ordering fried foods for take-out or when you go to a restaurant. Instead, choose foods that have been grilled, roasted, or steamed!

Instead of heaping on side dishes containing creamy sauces or dressings, opt for salads and greens with tomato salsa, vinaigrettes, greek yogurt, lemon juice, fruit salsa, or herbal olive oil.

Herbs, Spices, Supplements: Oh My!

When you’re searching for healthy substitutions, look for more nutritional foods and options that will make a direct impact on your inflammation and swelling. Add these to what you’re eating every week, and see if your health improves overall in response.

Many herbs, spices, and supplements are anti-inflammatory and can provide exceptional pain relief. Fish oil and multivitamin pills are two supplements that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Choosing a good herbal supplement such as green tea, cat’s claw, devil’s claw, and Boswellia are great ways to develop a healthier diet. Turmeric and fresh or powdered ginger are also good options to sprinkle on foods or steep as a soothing beverage. There are tons of great recipes out there for herbal drinks as well!

Eating Fruits & Veggies Is Key

Have you ever noticed how the colors of recommended fruits and vegetables create a rainbow? This “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables is excellent for heart health and boosted immunity. Eating colorful foods also fights inflammation. Try to fit more colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet. Dark green veggies like spinach and kale, orange veggies such as sweet potatoes and carrots, red and purple foods like tomatoes and beets, and yellow ones like corn and sweet peppers are excellent choices to slip into your meals and snack dishes.

Contact Our Physical Therapy Office Today!

It’s true that nutrition and a healthy diet can help combat inflammation, but that’s not all! It’s important to consult with a physical therapist about other ways to reduce inflammation and pain, as well as stay inflexible shape. Physical therapists can teach you how your exercise routine can be adjusted to fit with your dietary changes. Together, these changes will reduce the pain and inflammation that causes you discomfort. Contact Oklahoma Hand & Physical Therapy today to learn more about how physical therapy and an anti-inflammatory diet can make a difference in your life!