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Certain foods may help reduce chronic pain

Chronic pain is estimated to effect between 8-60% of the population. Severe chronic pain is known to impact all aspects of an individual’s life, employment, daily activities, relationships, sleep and many aspects of their general health. Variability in an individual’s pain can be due to a number of factors such as sociocultural, genetic and psychological. Individuals with long-term chronic pain treated with opioids have been found to have nutritional deficiencies.

A number of studies have shown that certain foods may help reduce chronic pain through the reduction of inflammation. Inflammation is a response from the body that occurs due to injury or infection. Though inflammation is important for healing, chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, depression and cancer to name a few.

Foods that may help

Cherries have been shown to contain the antioxidant anthocyanin which reduces inflammation, and in rats appeared to reduce their pain. Cherry juice in randomised control trials in human has shown that those consuming cherry juice had less pain following exercise. In a small trial, cherry juice showed that it provided relief of symptoms in patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis. Cherries also contain high levels of melatonin the hormone linked to preventing insomnia. Studies have indicated that better sleep can improve pain.

Omega-3 fatty acids supplements have improved neck and low back pain in individuals. The pain improved enough that over half of the individuals in the study stopped taking their non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Omega-3 is found in fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna), and some vegetable oils.

Other foods linked to reducing inflammation include anti-oxidant rich foods such as colourful fruits and vegetables, leafy vegetables, berries, lentils, nuts and seeds, green tea and certain spices such as turmeric and ginger.

Dr Kerstin Rolfe, College Principal says: “What we choose to consume may not only be having an impact on our future health but could also play a role in the pain we may be experiencing.”

Date Posted: 05/05/2017 | Posted In: Uncategorized

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