Internal inflammation can wreak havoc with your health. You may already be seeing a physical therapist for inflammation-related health issues, such as arthritis. Whether you have a specific diagnosis or generalized pain in your back and joints, physical therapy can help. Your physical therapist may also suggest an anti-inflammatory diet for additional pain relief.
Foods that won’t help reduce inflammation and pain
One of the quickest ways to reduce nutrition-based inflammation and pain is to stop eating the foods most associated with it. Unfortunately, for many people, these foods tend to be convenience items. That means that you may need to readjust how you think about preparing meals and snacks in your quest for pain relief.
On the plus side? There are few surprises in the types of foods that make inflammation worse. You probably already know these nutritional “no-nos” — they’re also bad for your heart and your waistline. So whether your guilty pleasures are savory or sweet, begin to ease them out of your meal plans.
Packaged meals and junk food snacks are often full of trans fat, sugar and preservatives. In addition, avoid:
- Fatty and fried foods
- Red meat
- Pastries and donuts
- White breads
- White rice
- Semolina pasta
If you’re at all sensitive to inflammatory foods, these are among the worst when it comes to bringing on painful flare-ups.
How to change your eating habits to reduce inflammation and pain
Many “bad guys” in the food world have easy alternatives. Substitute white bread with whole-grain bread, white rice with brown rice, and semolina pasta with wheat or garbanzo pasta. In place of hamburger, chops and meatloaf, focus on fish, chicken and veggie “steaks.”
Preparation is also an important component of an anti-inflammatory diet. Avoid frying foods or ordering fried foods when eating out. Instead, opt for the same ingredients that have been grilled, roasted or steamed. Rather than topping main courses and side dishes with creamy sauces and dressings, choose healthier alternatives. Topping options for various salads, side dishes and main courses include vinaigrette, Greek yogurt, tomato salsa, fruit salsa, lemon juice and herbal olive oil.
Choosing these foods can also help reduce inflammation and pain
Along with healthy substitutions of inflammatory foods, look for nutritional choices you can make that directly address internal swelling, Make sure to add these to your meal plans each week, and assess whether your health issues seem to ease in response.
Certain anti-inflammatory herbs, spices and supplements may provide some pain relief. Multivitamins and fish oil pills are among the supplements noted for their anti-inflammatory properties. Good herbal supplement choices include:
The “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables that you’ve heard of for heart health and boosted immunity can also fight inflammation. Eat more colorful fruits like berries and mangoes. Vegetables that range from dark green (kale and spinach) to orange (carrots and sweet potatoes) to red/purple (beets and tomatoes) to yellow (sweet peppers and corn) are also great choices.
Along with fish oil pills for omega-3 inflammation protection, add more actual fish to your diet. The types highest in omega-3 fats are, not surprisingly, fatty fish, including:
Armor Physical Therapy can help you find ways to reduce pain and inflammation
Long-term pain relief can rarely be achieved with diet alone. As important as nutrition is, it’s also crucial to consult a physical therapist about other ways to gain flexibility and reduce pain. Our team at Armor Physical Therapy can help you find therapy methods that work with your dietary changes. Together, these changes can reduce the inflammation that’s causing your stiffness and pain.
Contact us today for more information about the services we offer or to schedule an initial appointment.