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The Foods You Eat May Affect Your Pain

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

In our group Pilates classes and private Pilates sessions, we often discuss the importance of proper nutrition. We all know good nutrition and a balanced diet are important components to your overall health. But did you know that diet, nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight also play a major role in preventing back and joint pain?

According to Every Day Health’s Back Pain Management Guide, one cause of back and joint pain is inflammation. Inflammation is often a factor that exacerbates back and joint pain. Many foods have been shown to reduce inflammation, while others are known to increase it. When you are experiencing back and joint pain, modifications to your diet may help you ease the pain and ultimately avoid it. You have to carefully choose your foods so you can reduce back pain and maintain good nutrition.

Every Day Health refers to the following list of foods that have been shown to reduce inflammation and should be included in your diet, unless you have a medical reason to avoid such foods (i.e. food sensitivity, allergy, contraindicated for certain medications, etc.) These anti-inflammatory foods have “back pain-fighting properties”:

  • Basil

  • Cinnamon

  • Ginger

  • Rosemary

  • Ø Garlic

  • Curcumin

  • Onions

  • Oregano

  • Turmeric

  • Olive oil

  • Green Tea

  • Red wine

  • Pomegranate

  • Watermelon

  • Brightly colored fruits and vegetables (particularly kale, spinach, and broccoli)

  • Flax and chia seeds

  • Omega 3-rich Coldwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, black cod, tuna, and trout)

  • Carrots

  • Beets

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Cherries

  • Berries

  • Grapes

In contrast, foods that promote inflammation that should be avoided include the following foods:

  • Nightshade vegetables:



White potatoes


  • Processed foods

  • Fast foods

  • Saturated fats

  • White bread

  • Pasta

  • Rice

  • Sugary drinks and snacks

  • Fried foods

  • Anything with partially hydrogenated oil:

Peanut Oil

Sesame Oil

Soybean oil

Safflower Oil

Corn Oil

Cottonseed Oil

Grape seed Oil

Sunflower Oil

  • Caffeine

  • Alcohol

  • Preservative-packed products with a long shelf-life

It is no secret that your health will benefit by avoiding processed foods, fast foods, saturated fats, and sugary drinks and snacks, among others. But these foods affect more than your weight and general health; these foods can fuel inflammation and foster back/joint pain. When you have pain, modifications to your diet may help you avoid that pain. Many individuals in the health industry often talk about lifelong changes to your diet to promote a healthy lifestyle, but you now have another reason to carefully choose your foods. Review the list of foods that have anti-inflammatory agents, which help control and reduce pain and stiffness in the back/joints.

For more information about how to fuel your Pilates workouts, contact Bodhi Pilates at


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