This Diet Could Help Relieve Your Chronic Pain

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When treating chronic pain, the focus is typically on interventions that offer immediate relief. While these are important to increase one’s level of functioning, long-term interventions such as nutrition can be just as impactful.

Did you know that by incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet – and reducing the amount of inflammation-causing foods – can have a significant long-term impact on your general health, not to mention your pain.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101: Tips and Tricks

  • Avoid the biggest inflammation offenders. Sugar, processed foods, saturated fats, trans fats, MSG, refined carbohydrates and cow’s milk dairy are known to cause inflammation.
  • Prepare your own meals as often as you can. Making your own meals puts you in control of the levels of sugar and sodium you’re consuming.
  • Make eating whole foods a habit. The term “whole foods” refers to foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. (Think real chicken rather than chicken nuggets, or an orange rather than orange juice.) Make it a priority to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Think water first. Consume a lot of water to help keep inflammation at bay.
  • Avoid processed foods and simple carbohydrates. While you may want to reach for a bag of chips or pretzels when craving something salty and crunchy, these foods don’t offer much in the way of nutritional benefits.
  • Make your meals and snacks work for you. Every time you eat, you should focus on having vegetables, fruit and protein, whether as a snack or a meal. Pair a banana with some no-sugar-added peanut butter or add some nuts to your usual veggie snack.
  • Be balanced, not deprived. If you know Friday night is pizza night at your house and this is not something you’re willing to change, make sure that your breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday are centered around whole foods, vegetables and fruits, lots of protein and plenty of water.

Eating certain kinds of food shouldn’t make you feel guilty, as food is meant to be enjoyed. And if you practice balancing your “indulgent” foods with healthy choices, then you will begin to have less inflammation and less chronic pain over time. Planning your meals and snacks ahead of time can make it easier to ensure that anti-inflammatory foods are balancing out the less healthy choices.

The Rule of Halves

With Functional Restoration, we focus on the rule of halves, which is something that everyone can practice to decrease inflammation and support good health.

  • Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. (Example: If you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 70 ounces of water per day.)
  • Eat half of your ideal body weight in grams of protein daily. (Example: If you weigh 160 pounds now but know you feel better at 150 pounds, you should eat 75 grams (150 divided by 2) of protein per day.)
  • Half of everything you eat should be fruits and vegetables: meals, snacks and anything in between.

What is the Functional Restoration Program?

Functional Restoration is a comprehensive program that addresses how movement, exercise, mental health, nutrition and mindfulness are all impacted by chronic pain and is built around a patient’s individual goals. We aim to provide patients with improved quality of life and functional status and decreased utilization of healthcare resources, medications and cost.

For more information, please talk with your physician or contact the Functional Restoration program at 504-894-2709 or functionalrestoration@ochsner.org.


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