Nutrition and the Healing Process
Healthy nutrition habits are often overlooked by the general public and many doctors as well. Western medicine tends to treat chronic disease, as well as pain, with a very structural approach. For example, you fall down and break your leg. The doctor is going to reset your bone, maybe give you some medication and tell you to rest. Those treatments aren’t inherently wrong. In fact, if you break a bone, you would obviously want to fix it.
However, few ever correlate one’s diet with the success of the healing process. This makes absolutely no sense. Let’s use the same example. After you break your leg your body immediately begins its healing process by sending helper cells to the damaged area. This starts the process of clearing out the debris and repairing the tissue. What is at the root of this process? Cells. Our cells must regenerate for proper healing but if there is a lot of chronic inflammation in the body, then regeneration isn’t going to be as efficient.
So if you are struggling with an injury, acute or chronic, and your recovery has been poor then ask yourself this: Am I giving my body the tools it needs to heal? Is what I’m eating decreasing or increasing inflammation in my body? Eating low quality food can increase our internal inflammation.
Conversely, it’s important to understand that even if your diet is amazing, that does not mean that all your pain will go away. The nervous system is much more complex than that. However, eliminating our consumption of foods that cause inflammation and increasing our consumption of foods that decrease inflammation will contribute to hormonal balance, metabolic health, healing and overall fitness. Wouldn’t you say all of these are important if you are coping with chronic pain? Of course!
Significantly reduce or completely eliminate sugar consumption. Now that can be a pretty incendiary comment. People love sugar; sugar in our coffee, cereal, what we drink etc. However, research evidence has shown that sugar increases inflammation in the body. The United States has staggering rates of obesity, chronic disease, metabolic derangement and chronic pain. We would be foolish to reason that our diets had nothing to do with it.
Here are some general guidelines:
1. Eliminate processed foods including white bread, white rice and other processed grains
2. Avoid soda, dairy drinks and fruit juice (yes fruit juice has tons of sugar!)
3. Base the bulk of your diet around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Of course, these are guidelines and not specific health advice. It is recommended that you consult your doctor or other qualified health professional individually when making dietary changes.