Whole Foods and Pain

Diet and what we eat is incredibly personal. 

There are so many individual differences in how our body reacts and responds to foods, and what certain foods do for us. Our food preferences and habits also change throughout our lives, so being open to what our bodies need is important.

I was recently involved in an international webinar with international speakers that addressed our health and our food, primarily focusing on whole food diets. 

What is whole food eating?

Whole food eating relates to eating foods with as little processing as possible. Have you heard about companies that make whole food powder capsules?  These capsules are well researched and have careful preparation of whole foods so that you can add them to smoothies, and use in other types of food preparation. 

Keep exploring what foods help and hinder you

The worst thing is if we don’t pay attention to how we are reacting to something. We might listen to our bodies when it comes to exercise or posture, if something feels bad, we don’t do it. But often, we forget this with how our body responds to food. 

Food affects pain 

I was excited to hear a specialist talk of the effect of food on our neurobiology. No,  I’m no nutrition specialist, but what foods we are eating affect the nervous system simply because putting more load on your gut lining can be another source of stress on the body. Our gut affects hormone regulation, and the health of gut bacteria impacts our production and modulation of  neurotransmitters. 

Some of these neurotransmitters are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. 

Serotonin and dopamine are released for pleasure experiences, relaxation, reward, contentment. If we can make our bodies more in balance and therefore our brain neurochemistry more balanced because we are eating better, then why the heck not?!

We see many people managing pain, ongoing low or high level pain, and maximising our gut health appears useful. By looking after ourselves from the inside out (not just the muscles and joints) we can be healthier. 

In  summary, here are a few things to think about when thinking about whole food diets

  • Explore and monitor what foods you react to, good and bad
  • Be open to explore different foods and diets
  • Research suggests Mediterranean diet (mostly vegetables) is linked to less gut inflammation 
  • Less processed foods and whole food intake is also linked to better balance in the gut microbiome
  • Don’t get stuck on what you’ve always done, be creative!
  • See all aspects of your life, food, exercise, work, play as important parts of your health
  • Enjoy good food!
  • Think about your body from the inside out

See a nutritionist, we know some very good ones! 

And if you are unsure of who to speak to, at Performance Medicine, we have Dr Kathy Yu – a sports doctor who is incredibly knowledgeable and would love to help you.

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