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Numerous research studies have confirmed that diet and nutrition play a significant and important role in the management of pain. Success relies on a multidisciplinary and multidimensional approach, incorporating lifestyle and dietary changes to achieve optimum health and well being.
What is Nutrition Therapy?
Nutrition therapy is using diet to treat and prevent illness, and restore the body to a natural healthy equilibrium. Nutritionists believe that sub-clinical deficiencies of minerals and vitamins are responsible for much disease and weakness in the body.
Examples of conditions resulting from sub-clinical deficiencies include fatigue, lethargy and susceptibility to colds and viruses.
The Western Diet
Westerners tend to be overfed but undernourished. The foods we eat are far less nutritious than they appear thanks to intensive farming methods, pesticides, additives and preservatives.
We now know that food intolerance and allergies significantly contribute to various conditions such as asthma, eczema and rheumatoid arthritis.
But on a more positive note, we also know that certain types of food can actually support and stimulate the body's intrinsic ability to heal itself.
A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is one in which the food you eat contains all the nutrients needed by the body for it to grow, heal and to function on a day-to-day basis. Diets that are low in fat and cholesterol, and high in whole grains, dietary fiber, fruits and vegetables, are healthier and provide more energy.
As a general rule, supplements should be taken regularly over a period of months. Vitamins B3 and B6 and magnesium deficiencies are well recognized in fibromyalgia sufferers and therefore taking a good quality multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement is the best way of ensuring you get a balance of nutrients.
Recommended Foods and Supplements
Eating the right kind of food can go a long way in helping your body's own healing forces. You need sulphur-containing foods to repair and maintain bone, cartilage and connective tissue. Foods high in sulphur are - asparagus, eggs, garlic and onions.
Eat less saturated fat and more alkaline-forming foods like millet, organic fruits and vegetables.
Other good foods are green leafy vegetables, fresh vegetables, non-acidic fresh fruit (avoid oranges, plums and rhubarb), whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice and fish.
Certain foods may aggravate various musculoskeletal conditions and therefore be avoided. They are dairy products, gluten (as found in wheat, oats, barley and rye), corn, sugar and members of the nightshade family - potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and tobacco.
Reduce your intake of acid-forming foods such as tea, coffee, alcohol, red meat, biscuits and cakes.
You may want to check for other food allergies as well - especially if you have Fibromyalgia (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
And a special mention: Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 a vitamin-like substance plays an important role in the enzymatic process of producing energy within cells and particularly muscles. Your doctor can perform a blood test to determine your CoQ10 levels, if low, supplements of 100mg per day may actually boost energy levels and help lift fatigue and lethargy.
Who Needs A Nutrition Check-Up?
You do, if you:
Have high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure - or relatives with these conditions.
Struggle with creeping obesity and dislike your body image.
Routinely go “on” and “off” diets, only to regain the weight you lost.
Take vitamin pills...or wonder if you should.
Feel chronically fatigued or routinely lack energy to train at your best.
Obsess about food and have undesired binges that seem out of control.
Eat on the run and survive on hit-or-miss meals.
Are discontent with your current eating patterns.
Want to invest in your health and future well-being, as well as that of your family.