Nutrition in Pain Management

Nutrition plays a role in pain in three different ways: 1) Food provides the basic materials in order to allow the body to heal; 2) food has a biochemical impact on things like inflammation in the healing process; and 3) If nutrition is poor and toxins are ingested, the body cannot heal properly.

Good things that we put into the body plus the body’s reserves, minus the bad things put into the body equals the pain and troubles that go into healing the body.  While we cannot control our body’s reserves, we can control the input of good and bad things into our body during the healing process. 

When we mean putting “bad things” into the body during healing, nutritionally we mean aspartame and hydrogenated oils. Aspartame is bad because it breaks down into formaldehyde and methanol inside the body, both of which are poisonous for you.  The more you consume, the more these substances build up inside the body.  Foods containing aspartame are mainly diet yogurt, calorie-free sodas, and other diet products.  Aspartame doesn’t affect everyone but if you think it might be affecting you, stop consumption of the chemical and pain will lessen over the next two months. 

Hydrogenated oil is found in margarine and in processed foods that have hydrogenated oil in them in order to extend their shelf life.  When consumed, however, it increases cholesterol, increases the risk of coronary artery disease. Hydrogenated oil also affects prostaglandin syntheses, which directly increases inflammation.  Products containing hydrogenated oil also affect the synthesis of cell membranes and negatively affect their repair. 

Cell membranes are basically made from two layers of fat that separate them from the inside and outside of cells.  We need our cell membranes to bring nutrients and electrolytes into the cell and to get rid of toxins in the cell that build up during metabolism. 

Our body needs to ingest essential fatty acids, primarily omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids because they are not able to be made inside the body itself.  Quality fats can be gotten from fats in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, borage oil, flaxseed oil, and evening primrose oil. 

Hydrogenated oils are normally considered foreign substances in the body but, when consumed, must be incorporated into the cell walls.  This causes the cell walls not to function properly.  The cell loses its flexibility and cannot absorb nutrients of get toxins out of the cell as efficiently. 

Injured cells release a portion of their cell membrane into the circulation, which contribute to the inflammatory process.  Some parts of cells are pro-inflammatory and others are anti-inflammatory.  As you might expect, hydrogenated fats are pro-inflammatory. 

Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil are found in margarine, donuts, non-refrigerated peanut butter, cakes, potato chips, cookies, crackers, and pretzels.  All foods that have been deep-fat fried have been exposed to these bad oils. 

If you are worried about inflammation and want to cook better, the best choices are sesame oil, olive oil and butter.  Look for and avoid foods that say they contain hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil.  Avoid any deep fat fried foods.  This can reduce pain and decrease the risk of heart disease. 

You should eat foods that are high in energy.  Low energy foods consist of things like wheat, sugar, and potatoes.  Sugar actually weakens the immune system, weakens the body’s energy system, and changes your personality.  One of the worst foods you can consume is regular soda, which contains up to ten teaspoons of sugar per can.  Soda also contains phosphates, which cause a reduction in Calcium levels, causing the bones to weaken.  Even juices you buy at the store are high in sugar and are not really good for you.  White bread and pasta contain a lot of wheat and should also be avoided.  Instead choose breads that are multi-grain bread or those that are made from rye. 

Some individuals are so sensitive to wheat products that they become fatigued the next day even if they consume just one bread roll the night before.  Potatoes are not really good for you because they contain the equivalent of a half-cup of sugar.  Rice is much better for you and should be used instead of wheat products when you are trying to heal from an injury or illness.  Brown rice is better for you than white rice.  Sweet potatoes/yams are considered better for you than regular potatoes. 

Our bodies contain up to 7-8 pounds of microorganisms inside the gut.  Symbiotic bacteria are considered helpful to us, while dysbiotic bacteria are bad for us.  Symbiotic bacteria include lactobacillus and acidophilus.  They help us produce vitamin B and help to regulate what goes on in the immune system.  Dysbiotic organisms include yeast, which is technically not a bacterium at all.  It destroys the gut wall, allowing toxins to enter the body unchecked.  When the inner lining of the gastrointestinal wall is destroyed, we do not effectively make IgA, an important part of our immune system.  Without IgA, the immune system must make more white blood cells to fight off bacteria and other substances we ingest.  This leads to tiredness. 

It turns out that 95 percent of the serotonin our body makes is made by the intestinal lining cells.  When these are destroyed by yeast and other dysbiotic organisms, the lack of serotonin can lead to both depression and constipation.  Toxins can enter the body too easily, a condition called leaky gut syndrome.  This is believed to be partly what goes on when people have irritable bowel syndrome.  You can heal the intestinal lining by taking in more L-glutamine, which is a nutritional supplement.  It can also be found in many leafy green vegetables.

Healing occurs when we consume good foods and have fewer toxins in the blood.  Another thing we can’t forget is the consumption of water.  Water not only keeps us from dehydration but it helps detoxify the body.  Toxins released from muscle during massage or heavy activity must have water to get the toxins out or we can develop flu-like symptoms.  You need about a quart of water every day for every fifty pounds you weigh.  This means that the average 150 pound person needs 3 quarts of water per day in order to relieve the body from toxins. 

After adopting a healthy diet, you can notice a change in your health, healing, and energy levels after about 2 weeks, with maximal effects taking place after about two months.

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