It’s important to keep in mind that there is no magical wonder food that can 100% cure the underlying cause of the inflammation that leads to pain. However, there are many options you can try to safely reduce and manage the pain on a daily basis. Listed below are the top 5 foods that can provide relief for neck and back pain.
Loaded with essential anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is pretty much one of the best foods for your body. Omega-3s counteract immune cells called leukocytes and enzymes called cytokines, which are both main players in inflammation. Plus, it’s also considered one of the most heart and brain healthy foods out there, and may relieve joint tenderness if you have rheumatoid arthritis as well.
However, salmon is often a bit pricey. So when your budget is a bit tight, you can opt for other varieties of cold-water fatty fish instead, such as tuna, sardines, or mackerel. Just be careful how much canned fish you consume, as too much mercury can cause a number of serious health complications.
What To Avoid: Skip tilapia and catfish. Although they do have some health qualities, they contain excessive levels of omega-6 fatty acids that can actually exacerbate inflammation, making them completely counter – productive.
Not only do blueberries taste delicious and go so well with yogurt, smoothies and many other timeless favorites, these small juicy gems also contain lots of phytonutrients that help fight inflammation and lessen pain. Better yet, blueberries have a lower glycemic index than other fruits, making them a superb choice for both diabetics and pre- diabetics.
When blueberries are out of season, you can add other healthy fruits with antioxidants and polyphenols instead, such as strawberries or cherries.
When it comes to meat and poultry, it’s best to reduce the beef and increase your lean cuts of chicken, duck and turkey. This is because red meats and processed meats are high in saturated fat that can easily increase inflammation in the body. What’s worse, processed meats such as pork, ham and sausages, are also loaded with harmful additives and tons of salt, which can lead to unwanted water retention, edema, achy stiff joints and heart disease.
If you lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, almonds are a great source of protein that go very well with a wide variety of foods. They contain a superb amount of unsaturated fats, magnesium, and a slew of other essential vitamins and minerals that can help reduce neck and back pain. Alternatively, you can also get your magnesium and good fat sources from olive oil, soy, beans, walnuts and flaxseed.
Whole wheat grains, such as brown rice and whole wheat bread, are also high in essential fiber and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Recent studies have shown that fiber, which you can also get from beans, fruits and vegetables, significantly lowers the impact of a major culprit of inflammation in your blood called C-reactive protein. In fact, one study found that men who ate more fruits and vegetables could lower their C-reactive protein levels by one-third.
There is one thing you need to keep in mind when you consume more fiber – rich foods: It’s vital to drink more water, as failing to do so can lead to constipation issues.
Apart from harmful foods, it’s crystal clear that alcohol and smoking can also affect bone and muscle health. Besides the damage they cause to your lungs, kidneys, heart and brain and those around you, both of these substances also deplete your body’s calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D and other essential nutrients, which then weakens and damages your immune system, cognition, muscles, bones and joints.
Every part of the body, along with all the different cells, nutrients and functions in your body are all intricately connected, so once one part or building block gets too low, too high, impaired or damaged, it gradually starts to affect the rest of the body. This is why maintaining as healthy of a diet and lifestyle as possible is crucial for reducing neck and back pain, along with keeping your overall health and strength at its best.
Lastly, before you make any changes to your diet, first consult with your primary health provider to ensure that it’s safe for you.