The importance of diet on overall health has been documented in many areas including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and skin disorders. What possible impact could diet have on chronic pain? This daily wellness tip from the Cleveland Clinic highlights the connection between sugar and simple carbohydrate consumption – like honey, corn syrup, white rice, and wheat flour – and chronic pain. Dr. Brenda Powell, an integrative medicine specialist and fellowship director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine, noted that these foods all stimulate increased insulin levels which, in turn, causes pain-producing inflammatory markers. The Clinic’s recommendation? An anti-inflammatory diet that can assist in controlling chronic pain caused by these inflammatory markers. What should it include? Dr. Powell encourages lots of fruits and vegetables with an ideal meal plate template that includes two-thirds fruits and vegetables and one-third protein, grains, and nourishing fats. While there are sugars in fruit and some vegetables, there is a balance of fiber that allows them to be broken down more slowly without an inflammatory reaction.
If you are treating patients with chronic pain conditions, talking with them about an anti-inflammatory diet may be appropriate.