Sheer Luxe – November 2023

Leading nutritionist Dominique Ludwig talks about the ways in which nutrition can help to manage chronic pain

Cut back on processed food

“Pain is caused by chronic inflammation in the body. Our diet can play a crucial role in reducing this inflammation and thus easing pain. While your diet is unlikely to be the root cause of your pain, it can exacerbate an already sensitive area of the body and make pain worse. A standard western diet – low in fibre and high in refined carbs and processed food – creates the perfect storm for inflammation. A lower-carb Mediterranean eating plan, which also includes some degree of intermittent fasting, is backed by science and can lead to reduced pain. Fasting doesn’t have to be extreme – you’ll see the benefits if you leave four to five hours between meals and leave 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Eat food that looks like nature intended and ensure fresh vegetables form the basis of every meal. The more colourful, the better. Aim for 250g of vegetables at each meal – frozen is fine. When it comes to carbs, swap refined versions for sourdough, oats, quinoa, brown rice and root vegetables like pumpkin and parsnips.” – Dominique Ludwig, nutritional therapist

Keep blood sugar balanced

“Imbalanced blood sugar can exacerbate symptoms of chronic pain. If blood sugar isn’t properly dealt with, this can lead to insulin resistance, as well as type-2 diabetes, both of which are considered to be factors in inflammation and our pain response. Chronically imbalanced blood sugar can also increase the risk of excess visceral fat – the dangerous type of fat that accumulates around your central organs. Studies show visceral fat can lead to low-grade and chronic inflammation. Aim to increase your intake of lean proteins like poultry, fish and shellfish as well as fresh eggs and dairy.” – Dominique

Test for food intolerances

“Eliminating foods to which we are sensitive can be helpful, as these foods will negatively stimulate the immune system. When we trigger an immune response – in this case, where our body identifies a food as a harmful substance – we trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals which can affect the gut as well as joint and muscle pain and lead to skin rashes. I often use an exclusion diet with my clients to establish if foods are acting as a trigger for pain – gluten and dairy are common triggers.” – Dominique

Get on top of your deficiencies

“Certain nutrient deficiencies can play a role in pain, such as vitamin D. Getting your levels of D3 tested is a sensible first step – levels should be over 50nmol/L, with some experts indicating levels nearer to 100nmol/L may be more optimal. Certain B vitamin deficiencies have also been linked to nerve pain. Those on vegetarian or vegan diets may be more at risk of a B12 deficiency as well as the over 50s as our natural absorption reduces with age.” – Dominique

Support with supplements

“Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and can be helpful with conditions where muscle pain or myalgia is present. Magnesium glycinate is the best form to take. It could also be worth taking a turmeric supplement – just be sure to look at quality. I rate Nutri Advanced Curcumin Megasorb. I also use omega-3 fish oils regularly in my practice and even test a client’s omega 6 to 3 ratio to check requirements. Look for a supplement that has a high amount of EPA and DHA but be sure to check against any medication you’re taking as fish oils can interact with some blood thinners.” – Dominique

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Dominique Ludwig

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