Living With Chronic Pain

Nuts Can Help Ease Pain

Wednesday I discussed how nuts can help weight loss. Now there’s an added benefit- it can help with chronic pain as well. Arthritis is often caused by joint inflammation, leading to restricted motion and chronic pain. Nuts could help to reduce those issues due to their ability to lower some markers of inflammation.

Nuts, including peanuts, walnuts, pistachio nuts and others, all contain immune boosting vitamins and minerals. Some nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats, protein and antioxidants. According to the Arthritis Foundation, some nuts are high in alpha linoleic acid (ALA), a type of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid. These include walnuts, almonds, flaxseed and chia seeds. Research suggests the monounsaturated fats from these nuts have been shown to lower some markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein (CRP).

Some nuts are rich in magnesium, l-arginine and vitamin E, which may play a role in keeping inflammation under control. Studies have shown that people who eat a diet high in these nutrients tend to have lower levels of some inflammation-causing molecules that circulate in the bloodstream (often referred to as ‘free radicals’) and higher levels of the anti-inflammatory protein adiponectin compared with those who consumed less.

Whether you snack on a handful, slip them into a stir-fry or sprinkle them on a salad, nuts and seeds are versatile additions to your diet and cooking repertoire. Most also offer a variety of benefits. All nuts are high in protein, low in saturated fats and contain no cholesterol, unlike animal proteins. Replacing a serving of meat with just a quarter-cup of nuts can help you avoid the inflammation you may experience when eating red meat. And unlike meat, nuts also are a good source of fiber.

Ideally, you should reach for raw, unsalted nuts. Bu if a little seasoning is going to help you swap nuts for buttery crackers, potato chips or other less healthy treats, it’s fine to grab some lightly salted nuts – unless you’re on a low sodium diet. Be aware though,all nuts and seeds are high in calories, so you can’t eat them mindlessly. One serving a day (about an ounce of nuts or 1 to 2 tablespoons of seeds) is all you need.

Check back next Wednesday- I’ll share delicious recipes that will help you incorporate nuts into your diet!


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