Scientists have revealed in a study published in the journal Pain that obese people could reduce their risk of pain from obesity by consuming Mediterranean diet.

Scientists at The Ohio State University in the US say that a well-established connection between body weight and chronic pain might be explained by inflammation in the body. Through the study scientists were able to point to anti-inflammatory foods, including fish, nuts and beans as a key to preventing or reducing that pain.

Researchers found that a healthy diet explained the link between weight and pain and specifically that seafood and plant proteins such as peas and nuts and beans were key. Further, the findings indicate that quality of the food also plays a role in pain for heavier individuals.

The researchers developed a model to help them determine whether components of an anti-inflammatory diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, played a role in the likelihood a person’s weight would contribute to pain. They found that eating more fish and plant-based proteins such as nuts and beans was linked with less pain, regardless of body weight.

The findings of the study are in line with previous studies that showed people who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience pain. It included 98 men and women 20 to 78 years old.

Researchers explain that obesity and pain are two significant health issues and their study was an attempt towards taking a very detailed snapshot of how these two issues might be related.

Researchers spent three hours with each participant in their home. They accounted for other factors that could influence their results, including age, depression, analgesic medication use and joint pain. 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.