When people think about ways to manage back pain, nutrition is not the first thing that comes to mind. But what you eat impacts your back health. “Nourishing your body with foods that reduce inflammation can really help you feel better much sooner,” says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, RD, director of wellness coaching at the Cleveland Clinic. Once again, good nutrition to the rescue!
Eating a mixed greens salad with in-season veggies is a great way to get fiber (which helps you feel full) and anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. For an extra anti-inflammatory boost, try this dressing: Mediterranean Salad Dressing
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ground oregano
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together with a whisk or immersion blender; makes 16 (1 tablespoon) servings.
Stop Fanning the Flames
Much of our pain comes from inflammation. We usually think of inflammation as swelling — as in, you twist your ankle and it becomes swollen and it hurts. Inflammation is actually one of your body’s defense mechanisms to protect from infection and foreign substances. However, sometimes the protective response becomes chronic and, for one reason or another, is triggered when there are no infections to fight off.
For example, foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, simple sugars and white flour actually trigger inflammation throughout our bodies through a complex series of biochemical and hormonal processes. Left unchecked, inflammation runs rampant through your body, causing all kinds of problems — including arthritis (an inflammation of your joints) and, believe it or not, low back pain.
Your first line of defense is to reduce the number of pro-inflammatory foods you eat, which means cutting back significantly on:
While cutting down on inflammation-causing foods, you’ll want to increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods. The best way to do this, Jamieson-Petonic says, is to follow the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on eating antioxidant-rich foods, lean protein, whole grains and heart-healthy fat. The overall concept:
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