In my last article, we discussed how inflammation causes pain, and the bad things we do that increase inflammation, so that we can avoid them and decrease the pain. Now, let’s look at some things you can do to reduce inflammation by adjusting your lifestyle.
So, how should you eat and what can you eat?
- Try to eat 6 times daily to reduce stress on your body-3 meals and 3 snacks. Each meal should have some protein, good grains, fruits and veggies. Snacks can be a dozen nuts or a piece of fruit.
- Eat 15-20 grams of protein at each meal. This includes grass fed lean red meat, white meat skinless chicken, white meat turkey, and other meats free of hormones and antibiotics. Eggs are good. Wild caught fish and shrimp are good. Try vegetable protein such as organic hemp or soy.
- Drink 70-80 ounces of reverse osmosis or distilled water This does not include sodas or sports drinks-they need to go. Consider putting a Reverse Osmosis system under the kitchen sink to make your own water for drinking and cooking. This will help eliminate the plastic water bottles and will save you money.
- Eat fruits and vegetables free of pesticides. Lots of them. Eat brightly colored and dark green leafy ones. Eat tubers such as sweet potatoes. A pesticide wash you can make in a spray bottle combines a cup of water and 1 tbsp baking soda, then slowly pour in 1 cup vinegar and ½ lemon. Leave this on produce for 5 minutes and then rinse off.
- Eat raw nuts. Walnuts and almonds are the healthiest, but all are good. They have lots of calories, so eat them as snacks, only a dozen or so at a time. Nuts have good fatty acids, fiber, and protein. Roasting and processing destroys some of the nutrients.
- Eat dark chocolate (75% or more cocoa) or unprocessed raw cocoa Cocoa is very high in antioxidants, magnesium, and other good things. Avoid commercial processed chocolate as it is loaded with fat and sugar.
- Eat good oils, such as extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Organic butter is OK.
- Eat They are high in fiber, protein, and other good nutrients. Wash them thoroughly if out of a can as they will be contaminated with plastics (BPA).
- Drink limited amounts of coffee and tea, especially green tea. There are antioxidants and good compounds in them. Avoid creamers and sweeteners. Use a little honey, agave nectar, or stevia.
Sleep is essential to healing. You must get 7-8 hours of deep sleep nightly. Many pain patients have trouble sleeping. For falling asleep, Melatonin, Tryptophan, and Taurine can help. You need a quiet, dark room with a comfortable temperature. Do not use computers or watch TV 30 minutes prior to bed or if you wake up. Reading is calming for the brain; try reading the Bible before bed or if you wake up. Benadryl can help make you tired. Consult us if you can’t sleep for prescription medications to help.
Reduce Stress to reduce inflammation. How do we do that? By taking time to relax, meditate, listen to music, read, and talk. Turn off the electronics, the computer, TV, social media, etc. Critical to reducing stress is your spiritual life. The Bible, prayer, fellowship with others in church, worship, listening to Christian music, and your overall relationship with God will help reduce the effects of stress. Speak to us further to get help with your spiritual life. Counseling can be very effective at reducing or even eliminating some kinds of pain, as well.
Lack of exercise causes inflammation and increases pain. You must move to heal. Even walking can help. We can advise you on what exercises you can do to help your condition.
Several supplements can help reduce inflammation and pain. These include Omega 3 fatty acids, MSM, Antioxidants, Vitamin D3, Curcumin (Tumeric), Ginger, and Garlic. Ask us about dosing.
In summary, inflammation is a critical part of your pain syndrome. There are definitely things you can do to reduce your level of inflammation and pain. By following the recommendations above, your quality of life will improve and our therapy for your condition will be more successful.
God bless you,
Alan W. Gruning, DO, FACOEP