How The Right Diet Boosts Mental Health During Chronic Pain
Guest Post by Ali Holden.
People who have fibromyalgia are 1.5 times more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to the journal Medicine. In addition, those with the condition often experience various types of sensitivity to certain foods. It is, therefore, no surprise that eating an appropriate diet is an essential part of avoiding exasperating your condition.
Still, there are more reasons to practice a healthy diet. While eating a balanced meal might not cure chronic pain conditions, it can better prepare you to deal with them. Research has shown that the way we eat affects our general mental health. As the difficulties of fibromyalgia often increase the likelihood of experiencing depression, it is worth giving yourself every advantage possible in equipping yourself to handle the pain.
The Connection Between Your Gut And Your Brain
The ways in which our diet affects our physical health tend to be obvious: poor nutrition leads to conditions such as skin inflammation or a greater chance of illness. Nonetheless, increasing amounts of research are suggesting that the way we eat plays a large role in our mental fitness as well.
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Optimal health requires a balanced microbiome, or in other words, the correct amount of different kinds of bacteria in your gut. Various factors affect your gut microbes, including the natural consequences of aging, your genetic makeup and, of course, your diet. What the average person might not realize is that there is a direct pathway from your stomach to your brain, called the gut-brain axis. Because of this link, your mental and digestive health often influence each other.
Implementing The Mediterranean-Style Diet
While we can’t always control chronic pain, optimizing our mental health helps us deal with it better, and this starts with the diet. Eating a balanced diet helps favorable bacteria to maintain a foothold in your stomach. You can also eat probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and miso to encourage bacteria fermentation, or alternatively, you can take probiotic supplements.
Researchers from the University of Wollongong have also found that imitating a Mediterranean diet can help boost mental health and prepare you to face difficult situations. Most citizens from Mediterranean countries eat diets rich in vegetables, fish and fruit, as well as plenty of legumes like nuts and beans. In addition, cooking with olive oil introduces a source of unsaturated fats that help boost a healthy mind. You can also take fish oil supplements as a way to obtain these essential fatty acids.
Those who experience fibromyalgia not only have to deal with physical pain, but also the mental stress that comes with being absent from work, missing family events, or feeling unable to interact with the world around them. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to take these problems away. Instead, we have to face it the best we can, and that starts with making sure our mental fitness is as strong as it can be. Be conscious of your diet and your gut health, eating balanced meals that favor proper microbe diversity. Your brain will thank you for it.