Have a sore back, stiff neck, or deal with chronic pain issues? Make sure your diet includes these foods
When you're dealing with chronic pain, it can be tempting to reach for anything that will make you feel better. And by anything, we mean drugs. Strong ones.
While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and prescription pain meds have their place in a chronic pain treatment plan, they're not the only solution. In fact, you'll give those pain pills a better shot at working most effectively if you take a look at your diet.
"You can actually find a lot of relief by adding specific foods to your diet that are proven to ease pain," says Ashley Koff, RD, Los Angeles-based celebrity dietitian and author of "Mom Energy." But just as important as what you add to your diet is what you might need to stop eating, says Alison Massey, MS, RD, LDN, a dietitian at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. "Diets high in refined starches, sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats turn on the inflammatory response in the body, which makes pain worse," she says.
Skip ahead to find out which 6 foods will ease chronic pain.
So while comfort foods packed with these ingredients may be just what you're craving when your pain gets intense, try to remember that those bad-for-you foods are only going to make you feel worse. Your new go-to eating plan: Load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and these nine foods proven to ease chronic pain.
Wild salmon and Chia seeds
Salmon is loaded with essential fatty acids (EFAs) -- especially omega-3 fatty acids -- which help reduce pain-causing inflammation in the body.
Not a fan of fish? Get a hefty dose of omega-3s by adding chia seeds to your diet. (Yes, the same seeds that make the chi-chi-chi-chia pet grow.) "Athletes all over the world add chia seeds to their training diet to reduce the inflammation caused by hours of training," says Koff. You can find chia seeds at your local health food store; toss them into an omelette or salad, add to your favorite milk or milk substitute to make a chia pudding, or blend into a smoothie. These seeds have a mild, nutty flavor, and odds are you won't even notice you're eating them.