“You are what you eat”. Have you heard that? It’s an oft-repeated cliche because it’s true. It is incredibly important when it comes to your overall health when working with a chiropractor because certain foods you eat can contribute to inflammation, which is detrimental to the healing process your body needs.
You can read more about how your diet affects your back in a previous post but here, we’ll be talking about foods and meals that can specifically lessen inflammation to ease back pain.
How your diet affects your back
Foods that fight inflammation will have a positive effect on how your back, neck, and shoulders feel. Subluxations (misalignment of the vertebrae) often cause inflammation, pain and swelling around the joint, loss of range of motion, and limited mobility. The muscles of the lower back and abdomen are meant to work together to keep your spine aligned and healthy. When they are strained by extra weight and/or are inflamed, aches and pains develop. This can last for a long time and get worse if not properly addressed.
At Greenville Spine, we work to reduce those subluxations through regular adjustments but patients can also work to reduce the pain they cause through their diets. It will be from your refrigerator, not your medicine cabinet, where relief comes from.
Top anti-inflammatory foods
Unprocessed foods are key to maintaining a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet. These are some of the foods that are excellent for keeping inflammation down:
- Fruits like strawberries, oranges, blueberries, and cherries
- Kale, collards, spinach and other green, leafy vegetables
- Whole grains like bran, oats, quinoa, barley
- Olive oil
- Nuts such as walnuts and almonds
- Fish like mackerel, tuna, sardines, and salmon
- Flaxseeds, pumpkin and sesame seeds
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet, which focuses a lot on healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, and leafy greens.
To reduce inflammation, stay away from soda, sugar-sweetened drinks and foods, red meat, and fast food. These foods are the most unhelpful when trying to maintain a diet to ease back pain from inflammation.
Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plans
Sure, it’s a great idea to include anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, but making meal plans and sticking to them can be the tough part. Here are several ideas to help you to work efficiently with your chiropractor through your diet to improve function and reduce back pain. You will find below suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
- Really Green Smoothie – this includes almond milk, a banana, avocado, kale, chia seeds, and honey.
- Steel Cut Oats with Berries & Kefir – this filling breakfast is high in fiber and tastes delicious.
- Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes – these gluten-free pancakes are delicious and you can even double the recipe and freeze half for another day.
- Scrambled Eggs with Tumeric – some studies1 have suggested that turmeric specifically aids in inflammation reduction so adding it to scrambled eggs really kicks up the anti-inflammatory properties of this breakfast dish.
- Hummus Greek Salad – the salad is a mix of cucumber, arugula, tomatoes, olive oil, and hummus. You can add grilled chicken for a more substantial meal.
- Stuffed Sweet Potato with Hummus Dressing – back to the hummus on this easy recipe, which only includes a sweet potato, hummus, black beans, and kale.
- Coconut Ranch Kale Salad – the star of this dish are the crunchy chickpeas.
- Veggie Soup with Tumeric – this tasty dish is great for the whole family with its array of vegetables and cozy spices. It’s also budget-friendly.
- Whole fruits like apples, pears, or peaches. Look for whatever is in season where you live as it will be the freshest.
- Dry-roasted almonds
- Garlic Butter Roasted Salmon with Asparagus and Potatoes – the omega-3s in the salmon are excellent for reducing inflammation and you can substitute your favorite vegetables for the side dish.
- Chicken & Wild Rice Soup – for a comforting food during cooler weather, you can’t go wrong with this chicken soup dish. This is another good one to freeze for another night when you don’t have time to whip up dinner.
- Easy Turmeric Chicken – this one pan dish is easy to make plus makes for easy cleanup. And with turmeric, you know it’s a great meal to help reduce inflammation.
- Sheet-Pan Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts & Gnocchi – another easy dish where you cook everything in one pan essentially. This meal works in vegetables and a bit of potato for a filling and satisfying dinner.
Start your journey to a healthier back
If you need help getting started on living a pain-free life and learning more about how your diet affects back pain, we are more than happy to help! The benefits of working with us at Greenville Spine are extensive due to the holistic and individualized treatment options. If you’ve been experiencing pain and don’t know where to turn, give us a call at Greenville Spine. We would be more than happy to sit down with you and discuss treatment options. Give us a call at (864) 631-1420 and let’s get you started on accomplishing all your health goals.