What Should You Eat For Chronic Pain? | Nutrition for Chronic Pain

Do you suffer from chronic pain? Perhaps you’ve had pain for greater than three months, and you’re not sure how you can support nutritionally? Fortunately, there is so much high-quality evidence to support how diet therapy can make a profound difference in chronic pain.

Chronic pain is associated with pro-inflammatory states which are linked to peripheral and central sensitization. This is when the brain perceives that there’s pain, and even a heightened sense of pain with very little stimuli, yet there is no tissue damage.

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Additionally, the mitochondria, which is essentially the powerhouse of our cells, are also associated with chronic pain. The damage to the mitochondria can be driven by how we eat. Consuming pro-inflammatory foods, such as the Standard American Diet—the Western Diet—which is rich in sugary foods, alcohol, processed meats, and enriched grains, can contribute to inflammation and even damage the mitochondria. Therefore, with the Standard American Diet, there becomes an imbalance between our essential fatty acids, which we need for optimal health, and pro-inflammatory markers. That’s where a specific diet therapy comes in.

The first thing we want to do is address the inflammatory markers. The Mediterranean diet is one of the best and well-researched diets that has been shown to decrease inflammation. Think of a diet comprised of fish, legumes, olive oil, low in grains, and high in vegetables – also referred to as an anti-inflammatory diet.

5 ways that you address your chronic pain through diet

1) Decreasing Inflammation

The best way to do this is through an elimination diet. Eliminate the potentially pro-inflammatory foods for at least three weeks and then slowly reintroduce them, one at a time. These include gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, coffee, tea, corn, soy, processed meats, red meat, chocolate, tea, coffee, and shellfish. If you don’t want to do a full elimination diet, you can do a modified version—eliminate gluten and dairy, for example. These two definitely can play a role in inflammation, and specifically chronic pain. If you’re eating a lot of sugar, this is also a great place to start. Sugar is a massive pro-inflammatory agent, so decreasing sugar in your diet would be very beneficial.

 2) Calorie Reduction

When we are consuming fewer calories than required by our basal metabolic rate, then we can not only increase our brain’s ability to generate new neurons by decreasing free radicals, but we can also increase ATP, the energy source of the cells, and we can increase our number of mitochondria. These all could play a huge role in inflammation and pain.

3) Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating, can help turn on genes that help cells survive by reducing inflammation. There are many different ways to include intermittent fasting in your life. Fasting from seven o’clock at night until seven o’clock in the morning would be a 12-hour fast. You can slowly increase that to a 16 hour fast, or you can do 24-hour fast two days a week. There are many options to suit your lifestyle and it is strongly recommended to start slowly.

4) Specific Nutrient Supplementation

Omega 3’s, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B-12, and magnesium have all been shown to impact chronic pain. There are other nutrients that also help specifically with chronic pelvic pain, such as vitamin E, B1, and B3. 

5) Gut Health

Seventy percent of your immune system is in your gut. If there is an inflammation issue, we should start in the gut. So, do you need to include prebiotics, probiotics, or do you need a specific gut health protocol? If you are not managing gut health properly, then you are not managing chronic pain and inflammation well, either. 

These are just a few of the ways that we can use diet to influence chronic pain.  When we have that central sensitization of the nervous systems, our brain still perceives that there’s pain, yet there is likely no tissue damage. Our nervous system is heightened, and we can begin to associate chronic pain with pro-inflammatory markers. We can use diet to decrease inflammation and optimize our micronutrient, antioxidant, and phytonutrient profile to begin to bring our body back into a state of balance and healing. 

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What To Eat To Improve Your Nerve Health | 10 NUTRIENTS

Do you suffer from nerve pain? Whether it’s sciatica, median nerve tension, carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet syndrome, chronic nerve pain into the hands, or maybe it’s even chemotherapy-induced or diabetic neuropathy? It’s important to address the root causes of any nerve pain, and most importantly, optimize your nutrition so that you can improve your nerve health.

Here are 10 different nutrients that you can consume through foods or supplementation that can optimize your nerve health.

1. Vitamin B12

This is important for the myelin sheath, which is surrounding the nerve. It’s been shown that even high doses of vitamin B12 can potentially repair damaged nerves. Good sources of vitamin B12 are yogurt, fatty fish such as salmon, cod, and sardines.

2. Vitamin B6

We need vitamin B6 to be able to absorb vitamin B12. Rather than supplementing with B6, which can potentially cause damage to the nerves, you can get this through your foods. Good sources of vitamin B6 are tuna, salmon, chicken, and spinach.

3. Vitamin B1

This is important for our muscular system and nervous system. It also converts carbohydrates to energy in the form of ATP which is our energy source. This is something that we only get a small fraction of through the metabolism of it so this is something you could supplement with, in addition to getting it from foods. Good sources of vitamin B1 are navy beans, other forms of beans, green peas, and sunflower seeds.

4. Vitamin B2

This is necessary for the absorption of B6 and B12. Good sources of vitamin B2 are soybeans, spinach, almonds, and asparagus.

5. Antioxidants

This can be powerful to optimize the myelin sheath and prevent any damage to the nerve. Good sources of antioxidants are berries such as blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, dark leafy greens, fatty fish, and walnuts. Try to eat a rainbow every day!

6. Ginger

This can be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Try using a couple of teaspoons in hot water or you can incorporate it into salads, soups, and stews. It is very helpful for nerve inflammation and pain.

7. Omega 3

This is important in repairing the myelin sheath that the nerve is wrapped in. Good sources of Omega 3 are fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds.

8. Water

We are made up of 70% water. All of our nerves, bones, ligaments, and connective tissue is inside of our lymphatic system which essentially is water. It’s our aquarium. We want to make sure that we are well hydrated so that our nerves can function at their peak.

9. & 10. Magnesium and Potassium

Magnesium helps the nervous system to relax where potassium is helping to transmit those signals or messages efficiently. Good sources of potassium and magnesium are pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and fresh fruit.

These ten nutrients may not eliminate your nerve pain, but they can definitely help optimize your nerve health. Remember, you always want to get to the root of the issue.  You want to look at this from an integrative perspective and recognize that the nutrients that you are consuming or not consuming are going to impact how you are recovering from your nerve injury.

If you’d like to schedule a free 15-minute virtual discovery session, please email drarianne@themovementparadigm.com or text 302-373-2394 to schedule. We’d love to help you get healthy again!

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Supplement Recommendations to Boost Your Immune System

Did you ever wonder what supplements you should be taking during this COVID-19 virus? I’ve had a lot of questions recently about what supplements to take to not only prevent illness but also fight off illness and boost your immunity. Although there are no vaccines to date for COVID-19, there is a ton of emerging research on different nutraceuticals and botanicals that can be used once again to not only prevent illness but to fight off illness. Let’s dive in.

1. Curcumin

Curcumin. This has been shown to reduce inflammation, as well as reduce the viral infection of COVID-19. It is beneficial to have black pepper with it, which enhances the bioavailability. The recommendation is 500 to 1000 milligrams twice a day.

2. Quercetin

This is a plant flavonoid that is found in many fruits and vegetables, and it has been shown to decrease viral growth. It is recommended to take 1000 milligrams twice a day orally.

3. Zinc

Through a large body of research, zinc has been shown to have antiviral properties. You would take this in any form of zinc, so it could be citrate, acetate, glycinate, picolinate, or gluconate. You would take small doses of 30 to 60 milligrams throughout the day.

4. Vitamin D

This has been shown to reduce upper respiratory infections, decrease viral growth, as well as improve the overall immune system. This recommended dosage is 5000 international units daily.

5. Vitamin C

This can really play a huge role in immune defense, and it is actually being used in the hospitals treating COVID-19. Take one to three grams a day orally.

6. Vitamin A

Not only does it support the lining of the respiratory tract, but it also can contribute to reducing inflammation and supporting the immune system. You would take 10,000 to 25,000 international units daily.

7. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)

This can support the production of glutathione, which is one of our most powerful antioxidants. In addition to that, it also can reduce the severity of the flu. It is recommended to take 600-900 mg twice a day.

8. Melatonin

We know that during times of stress we are not getting the proper amount of sleep or the proper quality of sleep. Melatonin can help produce more restful sleep and can also reduce inflammation. You can take five to 20 milligrams before bedtime.

9. Elderberry

This has been used extensively in the prevention of the flu. In addition to that, it’s packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber. You can take 500 milligrams orally.

10. Resveratrol

This is a compound found in red grapes, and it has been shown in the lab to attack a relative virus of COVID-19. Resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory properties appear to play a significant role in accelerating the healing of organs such as the liver, lungs, intestines, and heart by slowing inflammation and swelling. It is recommended to take 100-150 milligrams twice a day.

11. Green tea or EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate)

This has been shown to reduce information and has also been known to affect the pathway that is consistent with the COVID-19 virus. You can either drink four cups of green tea daily or take 200 milligrams of the EGCG.

Summary

Of course, we know what all the precautions associated with COVID-19 are wearing masks, washing your hands, and participating in social distancing. However, you can also consider how you can optimize your immune system. If you do get this virus, you can potentially decrease the viral load, thereby changing the way that your body responds to it. Whether it is coming from foods, (check out 12 immune-boosting foods), or supplementation, this is a really good opportunity to do whatever you can to stay as healthy as possible. Of course, please don’t forget sleep hygiene, meditation, and movement!

If you’d like a ready-to-order list with high-grade supplements (that you can customize), email drarianne@themovementparadigm.com with “supplements” in the subject line.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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Source: Institute of Functional Medicine

Disclaimer: This is not intended to treat or diagnose. Please check with your physician or functional medicine practitioner to determine a specific plan.

12 Immune-Boosting Foods

Let me ease your mind by giving you 12 different immune-boosting foods that you can use to support your immune system!

1. Citrus foods

These include grapefruits, oranges, clementines, lemons, and limes, and many more. Citrus are perfect immune-boosting foods for the nice weather. They are packed with vitamin C and have the ability to increase the production of white blood cells. They can help you build antibodies and help you resist bacteria and viruses that you’ve encountered before.

2. Red bell peppers

These are perfect for stir-fries, salads, fajitas, etc. They are also packed with vitamin C and have beta carotene. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, which is great for vision health, skin health, and immune health. 

3. Almonds

These are a great little snack to have, and the good news is you only need half a cup a day (two servings) to get the recommended daily amount (RDA) of Vitamin E. They are packed with vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant in the body to protect the cells and help fight off free radicals.

4. Ginger

Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It is a really easy thing to add to your meals and cooking. It has been known to help with a sore throat, and it has also been known to decrease inflammation. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties.

5. Green tea

Green tea is packed with flavonoids and antioxidants, specifically one of the antioxidants that’s really powerful for immune function, which is epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. Now, this specific antioxidant is destroyed during the fermentation process of black tea. However, green tea is steamed not fermented, therefore it is not destroyed during that process. So sip your green tea every day!

6. Spinach

This is also perfect for a salad or a side dish with your meal. It is packed with vitamin C, as well as beta carotene. Just remember, many of the nutrients are destroyed during the cooking process, so you can enjoy spinach with just a little olive oil and herbs, and it tastes delicious.

7. Shellfish

Who would have thought shellfish would make this list? Shellfish contains lots of zinc, and because we only need a small amount of zinc in our diet, a small serving of that can provide it. Men need 11 milligrams, and women need eight milligrams for the recommended daily allowance. It’s a great thing to add to some of your dishes, and it’s a nice variety to your typical cooking.

8. Garlic

We all know how we love our garlic! It has been known to be an anti-inflammatory mainly due to the sulfur-containing compounds specifically, one of the compounds, allicin. Sprinkling this on different dishes that you might be having will be fantastic for your immune system. Using actual garlic cloves will have much more of the bang for the buck from a nutrient perspective, however, powder is simple and convenient.

9. Broccoli

It is supercharged with vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamins A, C, and E. This, just like spinach, does lose a lot of its nutrient value when you cook it, so you do want to cook it as little as possible. Perhaps considering steaming, but not overcooking. Including this in different dishes and having it as a side or throwing it on a salad is a great way to get the benefits of this food.

10. Poultry

Yes, your chicken and turkey are great sources of vitamin B-6, which not only helps to prevent you from getting sick in the first place but can also help with minimizing cold symptoms. Vitamin B-6 is also important in so many chemical reactions in the body, and also the formation of blood cells. We can get our recommended daily amount from having two to three-ounce servings of chicken or turkey a day.

11. Probiotics

In order to maintain colonization in the digestive tract, probiotics must be taken or eaten regularly. General recommendations call for ingesting 1 to 25 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) daily. Whether you’re getting these from fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, or even perhaps yogurt, most store-bought probiotic yogurts, however, contain about 1 billion CFUs per serving.

To get the maximum benefit from fermented foods, it’s important to read product labels and choose only those that contain “active, live cultures” and preferentially raw, unpasteurized, perishable ingredients. You could choose to get it from food, but if you feel like you’re not getting that on a consistent basis, then a probiotic is recommended for most people. You do want to make sure that you have two specific strains which are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium that can also help with the gut-brain connection. This is something that can improve our gut bacteria and really help keep our immune system optimal. Remember, 70 percent of our immune system is in our gut.

12. Papaya

This is packed with vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, and folic acid. Papaya has 224% of the RDA of vitamin C from just one papaya! It also has a digestive enzyme called the papain, which actually has anti-inflammatory benefits. It tastes wonderful with coconut milk, so give that a try!

Summary

In summary, eating just one of these immune-boosting foods is not enough to stave off disease and infection, especially COVID-19. However, having a variety of foods in your diet, and perhaps including some or all of these immune-boosting foods can be really powerful. The more diverse your diet is, the more ability you are going to have to include all of the vitamins and minerals that you need. I hope this helps, and I hope that you stay healthy during these times.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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