10 ways to prevent back pain #7 Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Inflammation. The dreaded word! What is inflammation? Inflammation is the body’s attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens – and begin the healing process. Inflammation is actually normal and actually helps to initiate healing. Well then what is the problem with inflammation? Due to diet, stress, lifestyle, genetics, and numerous other factors many people’s bodies stay in a
chronic state of inflammation and the healing process never begins. Inflammation can cause pain and lead to a whole host of other health conditions. When we are inflamed, we are more likely to get injured, and once we are injured we are less likely to heal.
How do we know if we might be inflamed?
“Do you take prescription or over the counter anti-inflammatories, and if so do they help your condition or injury?
If the answer is “Yes, when I take NSAID’s (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc) it helps my symptoms.” Then there is an inflammatory component to your issue.
If your answer is it only helps if I take the double or triple the recommended dose, then you are into much greater stages of inflammation than the person whom gets relief from one or two pills.
If your answer is “No, I don’t get relief from taking nsaids,” then there may not be a chemical or inflammatory component to your pain. Your pain might be more mechanical and/or psychological in nature.
If we are taking a lot of nsaids on a regular basis, we are not getting to the real root of why the inflammation is there and we are predisposing our bodies to many of the side effects of long term nsaid use.
From a nutritional standpoint eating an anti-inflammatory diet and taking some anti-inflammatory supplements can go along way.
Anti-inflammatory foods include:
Pasture raised Grass fed meats, wild fish, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, quinoa, wild rice, olive oil, pasture raised organic butter, dark chocolate, and many others.
Some inflammatory foods include- sugar, dairy, corn, soy, wheat, candy, grain fed meats, farmed fish, vegetable oil, alcohol, and many others.
I know what your thinking well that’s all the fun stuff. This is why with most patients I encourage them to follow the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of your weekly meals must abide by the rules and 20 percent you can cheat. This varies person to person pending their condition as someone with a very serious condition or perhaps food allergies/sensitivities may need to abide by this 100 percent of the time.
There are several good cookbooks out there that help you to shop and make easy meals via these guidelines. Food should always be an enjoyable experience, diets don’t work, lifestyles do. If you enjoy what you eat, you will turn the diet into a lifestyle. I don’t ever recommend eating plain veggies and plain chicken breasts. Cook books can help make the meals delicious and easy to make.
When it comes to pain and inflammation you can stop it with the decisions you make every time you eat. You truly are what you eat.
Dr. Ryan Dunn