You feel like what you eat…or, what does kale have to do with carpal tunnel syndrome?

01/26/2013

juiceplus-web

Happy 2013! One thing I resolve for this year is to share more often what I feel is important for achieving optimal health in body mind and spirit. My musings of one year ago (yes, we got busy) still ring true as a call for self discipline and commitment, but right now I am really excited about a book published last year called “The Willpower Instinct”, more about that in next month’s post.

Meanwhile, to elaborate on my revised “My Body is My Home” page on my updated website, how diet and nutrition affect chronic pain continues to be a very hot media topic. Practical Pain Management and Pain Pathways journals have published articles on anti-inflammatory diet and diet for chronic pain repeatedly in the last year and a half, with a variety of health professionals’ opinions, and a several “anti-inflammatory diet” cookbooks are available as well.

Although each source has a slightly different take on the subject, the overwhelming consensus is that inflammation is at the root cause of not just all degenerative processes but pain in general- from arthritis, degenerated discs, tendonitis, R.S.I., you name it.
It all stems from our basic amazingly complex cellular metabolic processes, which either pump out pro- or anti-inflammatory mediators and chemical messengers, depending on many factors, mainly diet. For example, one of the key markers of inflammation is edema, and any swelling in the tissues compressing nerves will increase the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, R.S.I., degenerated lumbar or cervical discs, and other neuro-orthopedic conditions.

#1 inflammatory dietary factor: high glycemic refined carbs and sugars, due to wide swings in blood sugar and increased insulin surges. Right up there: trans fats. Very significant: the imbalance of fatty acid intake in the modern diet- too much omega 6 (most polyunsaturated seed oils) and not enough omega 3 (flax/hemp/chia seeds, cold water fish, grass fed meats). Dairy or gluten – damned by many, but whether in moderation harmful to you can only be determined by elimination and then challenge.
Of course, negative nutrition- artificial sweeteners and fats- just plain toxic.

#1 anti-inflammatory remedy: a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables for potent antioxidants and phytonutrients, fiber, minerals like magnesium, potassisum, and bioavailable calcium. Emphasizing intake of omega 3 containing foods.
Spices like ginger and tumeric. Very important: Avoiding hypo/hyperglycemia from erratic eating schedule and intake of high glycemic carbs alone, by eating good quality protein and fiber with every meal, and favoring low glycemic carbs like sweet potatoes.

So who knew? Coffee and toast on the run, not much better than a typical fast food, trans fat- cholesterol laden breakfast bomb?