It is not about re-discovering the wheel here: health is, in its majority, about nutrition. It’s a lot of common sense and going back to basics.
Dr. Bonakdar delivered a fantastic overview on how nutrition can help alleviate pain. The success on managing pain with appropriate nutrition is going to depend on combined factors, among them anti-inflammatory foods, grains and fruit and vegetables. It is no surprise that the ideal recipe includes common sense, knowledge and awareness and connecting with people and places. A check list on proper nutrition to manage pain include the following suggestions :
Knowing your numbers: The NIH defines Metabolic syndrome as the name for a group of risk factors that raise your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. Being aware of these key factors can reduce the risks of serious illness. Dr. Bonakdar utilized these established guidelines as part of his “recipe for pain management”:
Knowing where your food comes from & eating clean:It is no secret that organic food gives us the peace of mind about what we introduce in our bodies. While eating ‘organic’ does not mean that we are getting more nutrition, it does mean that there is some control on the chemicals and pesticides in the produce we purchase. By learning how to read the product codes –or PLU’s – beyond the numbers, we can rest assured that the produce is clean and healthy for our bodies.
Food News.org also has a great guide on what produce to buy organic and a list of produce with lowest pesticide residues. Check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen foods that you need to include in your diet.
Supplementation: If using a supplement find those with evidence of safety and efficacy. Always work with a health care provider when deciding what supplement work with your current condition.
Creating Connections: I always look forward to preparing my specialty dishes. Not because I am an excellent cook, but because of the love I put into it. Cooking reminds me of the people I love and the great times I’ve had with them. It promotes conversation with my family. It makes me connect.
Make sure you include VARIETY: I have not found any research on it, but after conducting ‘informal research’ amongst my acquaintances and friends I came to the conclusion and am convinced that the reason why many disregard healthy eating is because of boredom. Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory food pyramid gives us an overview of the foods we can incorporate to our diet as well as the benefits of the ingredients we use in preparing our meals.
How fast do you eat? How do you feel when eating your meal? Do you eat alone? Do you enjoy the table conversation with your family? Research shows that eating a meal slowly increases the body’s capacity to absorb the nutrients you are consuming. In addition, conversing with friends and family at the dinner table not only strengthens our relationships, but has shown to decrease stress.
All benefits aside, accompanying a meal with a great glass of wine is just the ‘cherry on top’ of a fantastic meal! Bon Appetite!
Dr. Robert Bonakdar is the Director of Pain Management at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and a member of the Scripps Physician Wellness Committee. The hand out’s distributed during the Howell Foundation Presentation include material from the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, the Environmental Working Group and information from Dr. Andrew Weil.