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.

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.

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