Chronic pain and inflammation can be a reality for those of us that suffer from an injury, autoimmune disorder, chronic illness/disease, or even an unhealthy lifestyle. Suffering from a fractured neck injury, chronic pain has been something I’ve struggled with for over 15 years. Over time I realized that managing my pain starts with managing my diet. I had to learn what foods/supplements to add and which foods triggered inflammation.
Inflammation is your body’s way of dealing with an outside threat of stress, an infection, a toxic chemical, or even unhealthy food. Inflammation isn’t always bad. It starts the healing process and makes you aware something is going on. It helps the body remove damaged cells, irritants, and dangerous pathogens. Chronic inflammation is harmful and can cause illness and or disease.
You can manage inflammation in your body through your diet. If you have problems with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, or stomach pains, you could be experiencing inflammation from your diet. The following are a list of Anti-inflammatory and Inflammatory causing foods:
Foods that fight inflammation
● Nuts are an inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fat. The recommended serving amount per day is a handful or 1.5 ounces. Walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds are the best nuts to fight inflammation.
● Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are not only low on sugar, they contain anthocyanins, which may reduce inflammation.
● Turmeric contains curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps protect your memory and mood.
● Green leafy vegetables
● Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
● Olive oil
● Water! ( Drinking plenty of water prevents vital organs from stealing water from your joints that can lead to pain and inflammation)
Foods that cause inflammation
● Sugar: When we eat too much sugar, there is excess glucose and our bodies can’t process quickly enough, therefore can increase levels of pro-inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Sugar also depresses the effectiveness of our white blood cells germ-killing ability, weakening our immune system and making us more susceptible to infectious diseases.
● Fried foods: They contain high levels of inflammatory advanced glycation end products, compounds formed when products are cooked at high temperatures, pasteurized, dried, smoked, fried, or grilled.
● Refined flour: Refined four has been stripped of their slow-digesting fiber and nutrients. This means your body can break down the foods made from this ingredient very quickly. When this happens your blood sugar levels spike and then spikes your insulin levels. This process causes a compound which is associated with a pro-inflammatory response.
● Dairy: Dairy is a very common allergen which can trigger inflammation. A full-fat dairy diet can also disrupt our gut by decreasing levels of good gut bacteria which helps reduce inflammation.
● Grain fed meats: Eating meats high in saturated fats have greater levels of Omega -6s from a corn and soy diet. Our bodies think it’s being in a constant state of attack due to ingesting leftover levels of antibiotics and hormones.
● Processed Meats: “Mystery meats” such as hot dogs, sausage, and deli meats are injected with preservatives, colorings, and artificial flavors. These injectables are foreign to our immune system and our bodies can’t digest them properly.
● Gluten: This ingredient is hard for digestion, therefore causing inflammation in the lining of our intestines.
● Alcohol: Alcohol damages liver cells, promotes inflammation, and weakens the immune system
● Transfat foods: Doughnuts, baked goods, cookies, muffins
In conclusion, paying attention to how your body reacts to food is key. Seeing a food allergist or doing a dietary elimination challenge can definitely help you discover which foods could be causing inflammation and causing your aches and pains.