Back Pain? Other Pain?
Balance Your Nutrition No matter what kind of pain you’re suffering from—tissue-based, nerve-based, or both—you’re going to make your situation better by improving your diet. I’m not going to tell you to give up eating the things you love to eat. But I do want to emphasize just how important your nutrition is to your ability to live without pain. Just try one or more of the tips below. (The more you do, the better you’ll feel.) Try it for just seven days and see if it helps you feel better.
Tip #1: Drink More Water
Water helps the body in so many ways. The discs in the spine are made up mostly of water. When we drink more, we re-inflate those discs after they’ve been depleted throughout the day. Water helps eliminate toxins from the body and promotes more efficient kidney function. Flushing toxins out on a regular basis can help prevent trigger points from forming and reduce the severity of those already present in the muscle tissues.
Drinking water helps joints function more smoothly, because it cushions the muscles and provides more support for the body’s movement. The “eight glasses a day” rule is a good general guideline, but remember, everyone is different. Everyone has a different weight, metabolism, and activity level, so you need to experiment with what’s right for you. When you’re exercising, drink more, as your body will use more. If you sit at a computer several hours a day, make it a point to get up every hour and get another glass of water. Try drinking a full glass before you start your day in the morning and a full glass with dinner at night. Replace sugary soft drinks with water to reduce empty calorie intake. The best way to judge if you’re getting enough water is to check the color of your urine. It may not be a glamorous activity, but it’s an easy way to see if you’re body is hydrated. The middle of the day is the best time. A pale yellow to clear color is best, so if you’re seeing a deep yellow, drink more.(Remember that some supplements will darken your urine) Consuming healthy amounts of water may not completely eliminate your pain, but it’s likely to help. It’s easy, healthy, and free, so why not try it? It’s nothing more than a habit. If you spend a week drinking more water, you will very likely find your body feeling better and craving the higher water intake.
Tip #2: Take a High-Quality Multivitamin
The best advice for anyone experiencing back problems is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. But for many of us, this is a tall order. We often don’t have time to cook homemade meals because we’re on the go all the time, and even if we do eat a good amount of fruits and vegetables, unless they are organic or we grow them ourselves, we can never be sure of their nutrient content. And even then, most produce is grown in nutritionally depleted soils, so no matter how healthy you eat, you still are likely to have nutritional deficiencies. So, to give the body the nutrients it needs to help reduce inflammation and ease back pain, I recommend that all my clients take a high-quality multivitamin—emphasis on high quality. There are a lot of pills out there that aren’t going to do you much good. Many companies manufacture products that are highly compressed and glued together into hard tablets that can be very difficult for the body to digest. You can visualize the process. Imagine if you took a bunch of different vitamins in powder form—pressed them all together, slammed it flat, processed it through a bunch of machines, added binding ingredients to keep it together, sprinkled in preservatives so it would last for months on the shelf, and then spit it out as this hardened, rock-like pill. Would your body get much good out of that? That’s how most multivitamins and supplements are produced. The less processing they go through, the better. The problem is, most people just look at the price and go for the cheapest brand. But in the world of supplements, you often get what you pay for. If you want something that’s actually going to help your body stay healthy—and help reduce pain—invest in a product that’s highly digestible. This probably means you’re going to have to take more pills to get a full dose. For example, if you don’t smash and press all the nutrients together, they take up more volume, and so a full dose will have to be spread across multiple pills. Keep in mind that in these cases your vitamin dosage isn’t necessarily higher, it’s just uncompressed, which makes it much easier to digest. The vitamins are much more likely to be absorbed by your body. Remember, it’s not how many vitamins you ingest that matters, it’s how many your body can actually absorb and use. Look for a quality multivitamin that exceeds the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals, as the RDA is often inadequate for optimal heath. Avoid those that come in tablet form and choose instead liquids, soft-gel caplets, or capsules.
Tip #3: Balance Your Nutrition
I have talked about inflammation and how much it contributes to pain, my food lists give you options to avoid inflammatory foods. Our modern-day diet, full of processed and nutritionally void foods, triggers an increase of inflammation in our bodies, until we’re overloaded with it. Inflammation creates pain in our muscles, nerves, and joints, and it can be a big factor in all kinds of pain. What we need are more of the nutrients that cool inflammation down (found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish) and more of our own natural anti-inflammatories—the proteolytic enzymes that stop inflammation and clear out scar tissue. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t eating enough anti-inflammatory nutrients, and as we get older, our bodies make fewer anti-inflammatory enzymes.
So, first, as I mentioned, we need to eat a healthy diet and take a quality multivitamin in order to give our bodies the nutrients needed to counteract the inflammation response.
Second, balance your nutrition, we need to replenish the body with more of its own natural anti-inflammatory enzymes. When we do this, two things happen: We cool inflammation and we clear out the stiffening scar tissue that it leaves behind. That means less pain and more fluidity in movement, since scar tissue is what makes us feel stiff in the first place. It’s best to find a supplement that combines enzymes and herbs in a formula targeted to reduce inflammation and pain. Look at the “other ingredients” listed below the supplement facts and avoid animal derivatives, preservatives, or artificial things like titanium dioxide.
Tip #4: Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Many of the foods we’re eating today actually promote inflammation. You want to avoid eating these as much as possible or at least limit the amount in your daily diet. These include processed foods, fatty foods, high-sugar items, and refined grains.
Processed foods. Foods filled with preservatives and processed with chemicals present foreign elements into the body. The immune system sees these ingredients as a threat and revs up inflammation to “defend” against them. In addition, foods stripped of their natural goodness during processing—like white flour—break down too quickly and spike hormone levels, again encouraging inflammation.
Minimize the amount of refined grains you consume, and eat raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a healthy second option. Fresh and frozen meats are much less likely to promote inflammation than those processed in ready-made meals.
Fatty foods. Remember, not all fats are bad for you. But even too much of a good fat is no good. The fats you want to avoid completely are partially or fully hydrogenated fats, trans fats, and vegetable oils. These fats tip the scales toward inflammation, mainly because they throw off the body’s natural balance of fats. Reduce your intake of these items and choose instead meats such as grass-fed (and free range) beef, chicken, and turkey; wild-caught (not farm-raised) fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and cod; nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews; and beans. These types of foods contribute the healthier omega-3 fats, helping the body fight off inflammation. (An omega-3 supplement is also a good idea.)
High-sugar items. High amounts of sugar cause the body to release regulating hormones, which encourage inflammation. Sugar is everywhere in our food supply, so to help reduce pain, really watch your intake. Drink soft drinks and sugary fruit juices in small amounts (or not at all), and use water, teas (hot and iced), low-sugar coffees (avoid high-impact cappuccinos), almond or rice milk, and seltzer waters instead. Eat fewer cakes, cookies, doughnuts, candies, sugary cereals, and pies, and try fruit desserts, frozen yoghurt. Finally, look at your everyday foods. Soups, sauces, ketchup, cereals, applesauce, drink mixes, snack bars, and more all can have extra sugar added. Choose organic options. When you do use sugar, look for raw, unrefined varieties.
Refined grains. Processed or refined grains are found in flour, cereals, breads, baked goods, and snack foods. Usually they’re listed as “enriched” flour or anything other than “whole.” In essence, refined grains have been broken down for you, so your body doesn’t have to do the work. Since the grain then breaks down too quickly in the body and the intestines, it releases hormones that promote inflammation. Choose foods made with whole grains, such as oatmeal; brown rice; and whole-grain breads, cereals, and crackers. Also, you may want to try limiting your intake of grains overall, particularly wheat, as it has been shown to increase inflammation. Try substituting an apple for your normal midday cracker or biscuit snack. You’ll have eliminated one serving of grains, pushing your diet into a more balanced state. Replace your wheat-based cereal with rough oatmeal, which tends to be less inflammatory. Instead of bread for lunch, try a salad with fruit and nuts and a side of low-fat yoghurt. Just one of these adjustments can go a long way toward alleviating pain.
A Better Diet Takes Stress off Your Back and may reduce your Pain too!!
Four simple things you can do today—this week—that will help ease your pain. These are easy things and they don’t take up much time. Drink more water; take a good multivitamin, use an enzyme supplement; and avoid high-fat, high-sugar, and processed foods. Try it for one to two weeks and I’ll bet you’ll find yourself feeling a lot better. Plus, since tastes change as you eat different foods, you’ll probably start to wonder why you ever wanted all those fatty things in the first place.
Train Hard – Eat Clean – Expect Success Jax Allen20/11/10©