Studies have shown that many patients who experience chronic pain have an adequate level of protein.
Proteins contain amino acids that are critical for functions that manage pain like the formation of neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, and GABA, and hormones like insulin, while also helping to build muscle, collagen, and cartilage. Eating protein with starchy foods can prevent a rapid rise in insulin, storage of excess glucose as fat, and carbohydrate cravings which can all lead to potential pain flares.
Menu foods that contain protein such as fish and green vegetables contain anti-inflammatory agents that can also reduce pain. The rule of thumb is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. These don’t have to come from animal-based sources either. There are plenty of protein-rich plant-based sources like lentils, beans, edamame, chickpeas, tempeh, and quinoa. You may have to pair certain plant-based sources together in order to make a complete protein. Like pairing grains and legumes such as rice and beans, or legumes with nuts and seeds, such as hummus and Tahini.
Comment below for some of your favorite protein sources.