At The Pain Center of Arizona, the pain specialists stay educated about all of the latest developments in healthcare, including alternative therapies and programs. It has long been known that certain ways of eating can help or hinder one’s pain level, but recently, light has been shed on the Paleo style of eating, and its possible benefits for those with chronic pain.
The Paleolithic diet is also referred to as the caveman
diet. It is based on the ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various
hominid species consumed during the Paleolithic area (a period of about 2.5
million years that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of
But why do people think that eating more like our caveman ancestors
by consuming mostly meats and vegetables while eschewing dairy and grains will
ward off many different diseases, including arthritis?
Unlike most diets, the Paleo diet does not involve
controlling portions or counting calories. Like most diets, however, it does provide
a list of foods you can eat (lean meats, eggs, fish, produce, nuts, and seeds),
foods you may consume in moderation (certain oils, and coffee or tea), and
foods to avoid.
Forbidden foods on the Paleo diet include dairy products
(yogurt, cheese, milk, and ice cream), grains (wheat, rice, barely, corn, and
rye), legumes (beans, peas, and peanuts), starchy vegetables (potatoes, yams,
and sweet potatoes), processed foods (this includes processed meats such as
bacon and sausage), and candy.
So can a protein-heavy diet such as this one really help
patients suffering from arthritis?
Researchers are on the fence. While there is some evidence
the Paleo diet works, doctors and researchers cannot say for sure that it eases
pain from arthritis, mainly because there have been no randomized human trials.
The reason the diet may be beneficial is because it’s an
anti-inflammatory diet which has been shown to ease pain from arthritis in some
people. The Paleo diet encourages fish consumption, and the types of fish
patients are encouraged to eat—salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines—are rich
in omega-3 fatty acids (as are walnuts, another pro-Paleo food). Studies have
shown that omega-3 fish oils tend to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid
arthritis, which includes joint pain and stiffness. Unfortunately, their effect
on osteoarthritis isn’t clear. Another benefit is grass-fed meat, which is also
higher in anti-inflammatory essential fats.
Good sources of antioxidants, which have been shown to be
important anti-inflammatories, are encouraged during the Paleo diet, such as
fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Another important aspect is the
discouragement of eating refined sugars and grains, saturated and trans fats,
salt, processed foods, and high-glycemic carbohydrates which can all cause
weight gain and other health problems.
As always, it is recommended to speak with your pain
specialist at The Pain Center or with your physician before beginning any new
diet or eating plan.
If you suffer from chronic pain due to any condition or
injury, find hope at The Pain Center of Arizona! Our dedicated team of board certified
pain management physicians will work with you to treat your pain, increase your
functionality and quality of life, and get you back into life! We have
locations across Arizona, including Phoenix, Anthem, Surprise, Mesa, Gilbert,
Deer Valley, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and now Prescott and Tucson! We take
multiple insurance plans; click
here to see if we take yours! To make an appointment and take the first
step toward getting back into life, call us today at 1-888-PAINCENTER. We hope
to see you soon!
advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or
judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned
here or in any other educational medical material.
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