Unusual for us to keep quoting one organisation, but when someone’s got the spirit and the facts of a subject right, why reinvent the wheel?
Once again we turn to Pain Support. They supply quick and easy food that doesn’t involve hours spent cutting, chopping, mixing, sitting or standing in the kitchen, recognising that you may need to be the cook, deal with flare-ups and not make the experience a lengthy ordeal. Their advice with regard to diet and pain includes:
Always talk a special diet over with your doctor, dietician or nutritionist before you begin. It’s easy to let your diet become unbalanced which could result in you missing out on essential minerals and vitamins, so it’s best always to check with an expert.
When you have pain and/or ill health your diet becomes even more important that normal. A healthy diet ensures your basic body functions operate well, including your immune and natural healing systems.
People with long-standing pain often have digestive problems, sometimes due to the drugs they may have taken.
Some foods are also suspected of triggering or aggravating pain. The best approach to this is to undergo a proper elimination diet and remove the foods you suspect may be causing you trouble and then reintroduce them one at a time, leaving 3-4 days in-between each new food. Notice anything that happens.
Not every person with a food intolerance would be found to be intolerant of the same food, and so on no account restrict your diet unnecessarily [our emphasis].
If the problem is severe or long-standing it’s best to seek the advice of an expert nutritionist [see our Health Information we Trust list or the painSupport website’s Therapies page] and always seek advice before undergoing an elimination diet.
You may also find by trial and error that some foods actually help to reduce your pain (see the list below).
Basic Rules for Healthy Eating
Eat a wide variety of foods. Eat from all four basic food groups (breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy) to obtain the nutrients you need to maintain good health. Eat mostly breads, cereals, fruit and vegetables, supplement with fish (including oily fish), meat and dairy food. The five portions of fruit and veg guideline is a pretty good one.
Maintain your ideal weight for optimum function and least strain on your body For those with arthritis or other joint problems, less strain equals less pain. Avoid too much fat, saturated fat, cholesterol. Too much fat contributes to weight gain and to poorer health.
Avoid too much sugar and salt. Sugar provides little nutrition and contributes to weight gain. Salt contributes to high blood pressure and water retention. [We comment that if you have low blood pressure and no water-retention issues salt may not necessarily be a problem. Salt substitutes using potassium rather than sodium can also be useful for some people].
Avoid excessive alcohol. Alcohol is high in calories and can deplete the body of vitamins and minerals. It potentially interacts negatively with medications. [We add that there is no need to be extreme about this unless your condition or medications make alcohol dangerous. Moderate alcohol consumption within government guidelines has actually been shown to be beneficial in some studies and for certain conditions.]
Avoid fad diets and unproven diet claims that may end up robbing your body of essential nutrients. [our emphasis]. We note that some of the diet advice above may vary for certain conditions, and it’s worth talking to your doctor about any special dietary considerations for your condition.
Foods that possibly may decrease pain. Remember to check out with your doctor or nutritionist before embarking on a restricting diet. Remember that experts disagree amongst themselves about the effect of food on the body and new discoveries are being made all the time. That said, it may be beneficial to eat plenty of these foods:
- Chilli peppers
- Brown rice
- Cooked green vegetables (e.g. broccoli and Swiss chard)
- Cooked orange vegetables (e.g. carrots, sweet potatoes)
- Cooked yellow vegetables (e.g. summer squash)
- Non-citrus fruits
painSupport add the following supplements to this list:
- Flaxseed oil
- Evening Primrose
- Blackcurrant or Hemp oil