A diet consisting of fruits and vegetables is a healthy way of reducing inflammation and boosting our immune systems.

Fruits and veggies vital for recovery, pain management

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Daniel Kean, M.D., with Sentara Physical Medicine & Pain Management Specialists in Hampton, Va is a physiatrist.  Physiatry is a branch of medicine that works to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to people with physical impairments or disabilities. Dr. Kean partners with patients to diagnose their issue, develop the care plan best for them, and ultimately, his goal is to decrease their pain and restore optimal function.

While often treatments may include procedures or injections, Dr. Kean is a big believer in the power of healthy choices and healthy living as part of a comprehensive plan of care.  And he works hard to help his patient’s see the value and impact even a small decision like eating more fruits and vegetables can have on reaching their long-term goals.  He’s so passionate about this, he took time out to share more about his healthy eating philosophy.

Why do healthy eating and living choices make such a big difference in a patient’s recovery?

After having seen countless patients who complained of chronic pain and joint inflammation, I began to research ways to supplement a pharmalogical regimen with diet and physical exercise. There is a wealth of research that explains the benefits of certain foods, fruits, vegetables and herbs and their anti-inflammatory effects. Pointedl,: the omega 3 fatty acids in salmon are shown to reduce arthritic pain comparably to the effect of Ibuprofin; tart cherries are reported to help with painful arthritic conditions such as gout; dark leafy greens, garlic and onions are high in inflammation fighting caratanoids, and turmeric, an Asian spice, has been touted to have anti-inflammatory effects on par with Motrin and hydrocortisone. Medications aren’t always the only answer and even their effectiveness and side effects can be impacted by other factors in our lives and health decisions we make, so it’s good to approach health more holistically.

How could eating more fruits and vegetables help decrease pain?

A diet consisting of fruits and vegetables is a healthy way of reducing inflammation and boosting our immune systems.

Could eating certain fruits and vegetables and making other healthy lifestyle choices lead to a faster recovery in general or for specific injuries?

In general, diets that are devoid of processed sugar, and refined carbohydrates provide the best opportunity for healing through nutrition. Processed foods containing preservatives are linked to pro-inflammation. Artificial food additives, refined sugar and grains are pro-inflammatory agents and when consumed only serve to expedite the onset of degenerative diseases.

Do you know of any good online resources that give folks tips on how to incorporate healthy food into their daily routine?

There’s a lot of good information out there – and a lot of bad information!  Here are a few credible sites to explore:

How do you include fruits and vegetables in your day?

In my own endeavors to lead by example and improve my health, I have incorporated juicing which represents a quick and easy way to integrate both fruits and vegetables into my diet. The process of juicing extracts the nutrients, minerals and fiber from each ingredient and allows me to enjoy a convenient way to ingest naturally refreshing “take out” meals at any point in my day when sitting down to eat is not an option.  Find great juicing recipes at juicerecipes.com.  


About The Author

Daniel Kean, M.D., part of Sentara Physical Medicine & Pain Management Specialists, is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  He specializes in Neuro-Musculo-Skeletal disorders, sports injury rehabilitation, electrodiagnostic, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures like joint/soft tissue injections and Botox injections for Spasticity Management, and pain management.