The foods you eat on a daily basis can impact your weight, your mood and your overall health on numerous levels. But what about pain? Can your diet lead to pain? Indeed it can, suggests research; and the culprit is a familiar one: the Western diet, characterized by high intake of red meat, processed meats, prepackaged foods, fried foods, high-fat dairy products, and processed foods low in nutrients and high in sugar.
Sound all too familiar? This dietary pattern has been shown to fuel the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics. Imagine being obese and/or suffering from diabetes – and then experiencing chronic pain? Not a pretty picture. But that's just the picture many people face due to their diet, according to a recent study published in Nature Metabolism.
The findings are depressing, to say the least, but they should also be motivating. Here's why: Researchers discovered that while the typical Western diet (which is high in inflammation-promoting omega-6 fatty acids) can lead to inflammatory and neuropathic pain, dietary modifications away from the Western diet toward one higher in omega-3 fatty acids (which are anti-inflammatory) can reduce or even reverse pain.
These findings are significant because as the researchers state, chronic pain is the leading cause of worldwide disability and is commonly associated with comorbidities such as obesity / diabetes. Something as simple as changing your diet (or continuing on the healthy dietary path you're on) could make all the difference when it comes to avoiding chronic pain and living a healthier, happier life.