Foods and Inflammation: Can the Foods You Eat
Make a Difference in Chronic Pain?
If you have chronic pain and nothing seems to help take a look at what you are eating
everyday. The foods you eat really do have an effect on how you feel. Many of the
foods in the typical American diet are foods that are classified as pro-inflammatory.
Pro-inflammatory foods will increase inflammation, increase your pain from the
inflammation and may also raise your risk for chronic disease. Loading up on junk
foods, high-fat meats, sugar and fast foods will increase inflammation in your body.
This is partially due to the unhealthy fats used in preparing and processing these foods,
especially trans fats and saturated fats. Processed meats such as lunch meats, hot dogs
and sausages contain chemicals such as nitrites that are associated with increased
inflammation and chronic disease. Saturated fats are also found in meats, dairy
products and eggs.
While all of these foods are important source of minerals and vitamins, you don't need
the extra saturated fat. These foods also also contain fatty acids called arachidonic acid.
While some arachidonic acid is essential for your health, too much arachidonic acid in
the diet may make your inflammation worse.
Diets high in sugar have also been associated with inflammation, obesity and chronic
disease such as diabetes. Eliminate high sugar foods such as sodas, soft drinks, pastries,
pre-sweetened cereals and candy.
Another possible source of irritation comes from the nightshade vegetables. These are
vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant may actually make pain from
inflammation worse. These vegetables are part of the nightshade family of plants and
contain a chemical alkaloid called solanine. Solanine can trigger pain in some people.
While there isn't any formal research findings that back the claim about nightshade
plants, some people believe they get relief from the symptoms of pain and inflammation.
Another overlooked pro-inflammatory food is wheat or specifically gluten. Gluten
intolerance is present in over 60% of the population and is rarely diagnosed. Gluten can
be found in most grains and baked goods like muffins, cookies, cakes.
Foods That Prevent Inflammation
A reasonable recommendation is for 80 percent to 100 percent of our calories to come
from vegetables, fruit, raw nuts, and either lean or omega-3 protein sources including
fish, lean meat, skinless chicken, wild game, grass-fed animals and omega-3 eggs. Spices
such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano and the other popular spices are all
anti-inflammatory. The best oils/fats to use in moderation are extra-virgin olive oil,
coconut oil and butter.
Anti-inflammatory foods, if eaten regularly, can reduce inflammation in
the body and bring the problem under control. Try and feature some kind of
anti-inflammatory food into every meal that you eat, and eliminate pro-inflammatory
foods from your diet all together. People who have done this often describe noticeable
relief from previous discomforts and a greater ability to control their weight.
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