Mediterranean Diet Could Help Reduce Chronic Pain In Obese

A Mediterranean diet is not only delicious, but could have meaningful benefits when it comes to decreasing pain associated with obesity.

New research from Ohio State University finds that those who eat more fish and plant proteins are less likely to suffer. The findings, published in the journal Pain, came from scientists tracking 98 men and women, ages 20 to 78 years old.

Charles Emery, a professor of psychology at OSU, noted that beans, nuts and fish all have anti-inflammatory properties.

“Obesity and pain are significant public health problems. This was an attempt to take a very detailed snapshot of how they might be related,” he said. “It appears to be telling us that it’s not just the quantity of the food you eat that plays a role in pain for heavier individuals, but the quality of food as well.”

The scientists used a model that accounted for weight, an analysis of self-reported dietary patterns and results from a two-question pain survey. Researchers also spent three hours with each participant in his or her home. In addition, they tested the model using three different measures of weight – body mass index, waist circumference and body fat percentage. In all three cases, they found evidence that anti-inflammatory proteins may explain the link between increased weight and pain.

“For people with obesity, it’s kind of like a cloud hanging over them because they experience high levels of pain and inflammation,” said Emery. “I’m interested in how our work can contribute to effective treatments for overweight and obese individuals.”