Health Tips

Using Food to Fight Off Pain

Ancient societies have used food as a tool against pain and sickness before the dawn of modern technology. Today, we are taking ques from the past and revisiting the important link between what we eat and how we feel.

“Patients are interested in non-pharmacological methods of managing their conditions or improving their health so that they can live a long life without the side effects of drugs,” Dr. Christopher Smith, a physician who practices Integrative Medicine at UCF Health, said.

For those suffering with chronic pain, food can help to reduce their symptoms. Dr. Smith recommends an anti-Inflammatory diet — one that is rich in vegetables and other foods that neutralize inflammation.  That’s because chronic pain can be a cardinal sign of inflammation, he explains. By eating foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties, including nuts, fish and Asian mushrooms, you can essentially reduce the amount of pain in your body.

“The anti-inflammatory diet is good for anyone to reduce the incidence of chronic illness, especially those linked to chronic pain,” Dr. Smith said.

Here are some tips to adopting an anti-inflammatory diet:

– Eat lots of vegetables of all different colors. Aim for 4-5 servings per day.

– Limit dairy and grains. When having grains, make them whole grains.

– When eating red meat, go for grass-fed varieties.  Overall, try to limit red meats and opt for more seafood that is low on the food chain, such as clams, mussels, anchovies and sardines.

Other tips for reducing pain and inflammation:

– Stay physically active. Find an exercise routine that suits your lifestyle and pain tolerance.

– Try acupuncture. It can be quiet helpful.

– Reduce stress. If you are having trouble with stress, try something new like yoga, or meditation to reduce the inflammation that is brought on by stress.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus and in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Schedule an appointment online today.