Nutrition as Ammunition

Eating Certain Fruits and Veggies Reduced My Chronic Back Pain

Carrots and apple surrounded by a measuring tape on a white bathroom scaleYeah, yeah we’ve heard it before, right? The acute and chronic back pain sufferers know this story well. Eating better and losing weight will help ease the symptoms of your condition. But even I, a holistic nutritionist, didn’t follow this number one rule to ease my back pain symptoms. No, not in the slightest.

Sometimes life throws you a few curves while you are in the midst of your pain and you simply can’t help eating those three donuts you weren’t even interested in consuming a few minutes earlier. My motto became, "Indulge ALL day!"  Why not?

Eating junk, suffering in silence. Yeah, I was happy, sort of. Donuts, chocolate or my personal weakness—chips— became my reward! In this case, a whole bag! I’m not talking about the vending machine size! I’m talking about the family size bag. Salt and vinegar my favorite type! My poor husband was often the recipient of my disappointment. Seeing as I was in too much pain to handle the grocery shopping, he was burdened with the task.

"Sorry, honey," he would say apologetically."I forgot the chips." Bad move, Really bad move. Short-term gains with long term consequences.

Eating to Relieve Pain

It would be great to think that none of us will ever face chronic pain, but it’s not possible. There are many causes from disease to injury to old-fashioned wear and tear. But if we change a few things in our diet, there are effective ways to manage it, and in some cases eradicate it. According to Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health:

  • Consistently picking the wrong foods speeds up the inflammatory disease process
  • Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects

Experts agree that by choosing the right foods for our chronic or acute back pain and/or chronic illnesses reduces suffering and helps heal our bodies. Heck, we may have “less” pain because the inflammation is under control. Now, wait just one minute here...

You mean to tell me that one of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes from my garden or from the grocery store? Not the pharmacy? Is it possible that our ancestors living off the land and healing themselves without refined products have always had the answer?  Who knew that what we call “organic” today wasstandard fare from our past?

Off I went on a quest to find a nutrient packed “rainbow brick road”, paved with multi-colored vegetables and fruit. The dark green bricks represent all veggies in their colour code—spinach, broccoli, kale and collard greens, to name a few. It turns out these dark green veggies  supply a power house of nutrients that fight inflammation and sweep up cancer-causing free radicals!

Moving onto to the orange/yellow bricks, there are carrots, squash, pumpkin, peppers, and pineapple! Carrots are high in Vitamin E and C—antioxidants that help protect healthy tissue around the area of inflammation. Pineapple is loaded with beautiful natural enzymes that help break down the fibrin capsule that forms around any acute injury. When this barrier is broken down, it allows the nutrients into the area, easing inflammation.

It's not that difficult to build your own nutrient packed road. Fill up with veggies, fruits and herbs and start your walk down a path toward healing. The ability to heal ourselves through proper food choice is a true marvel. The more color your road has, the better! All in favor of our health.

Healing from the Inside Out 

Here, a simple way to start eating your way toward a healing place:

  1. Eliminate fat.. Butter, corn, red meat and simple carbs high in sugar/low in fiber.
  2. Eat 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables at every meal. Select from an assortment of strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple and oranges/ kale, broccoli, spinach, collards carrots, and pumpkin.
  3. Spice it up. Add turmeric and ginger to your meals. Sprinkle generous amounts into your food while cooking. 
  4. Add somethng fishy. Be sure to include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines in your diet.

We have many choices that can aid us on this journey of healing our body from the inside out. Take a step now and start on your road to recovery today.