Can the Foods You Eat Make a Difference in Chronic Pain?
You may be familiar with the anti-inflammatory medications, but have you heart of anti-inflammatory foods? The foods you eat really do have an affect on how you feel.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is defined as a localized reaction of tissue to irritation, injury, or infection.
Symptoms of inflammation include pain, swelling, red coloration to the area, and sometimes loss of movement or function. We commonly think of inflammation as the painful component of arthritis. Inflammation is also a component of chronic diseases such as heart disease and strokes.
Medical Anti-Inflammatory Treatments
Common medical anti-inflammatory treatments include rest, light exercise, weight maintenance, stretching, and medications designed to reduce the inflammation and control the pain.
These medications include Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), steroid medications, and perhaps ultimately joint replacement surgery.
Avoid Pro-Inflammatory Foods
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 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.
Be sure to choose low fat milk and cheese and lean cuts of meat, which will not promote inflammation.
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, presweetened cereals and candy.
Another possible source of irritation comes from the nightshade family of plants.
What Are Nightshades?
Tomatoes, white potatoes, red and green bell peppers, the “hot” peppers such as chili and paprika, as well as eggplant belong to the Nightshade Family, a botanical genus called Solanaceae species.
This species also includes tobacco, poisonous belladonna, and the toxic plants herbane, mandrake, and jimson weeds.
Whole fruits and vegetables are important to eat for their vitamins, minerals, and natural antioxidants, however some 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.
Choose Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Adding foods that reduce inflammation will improve how you feel and help to decrease your risk for chronic diseases. Here are some suggestions.
Fats and Oils
The right types of fats in your diet will impact pain and inflammation in a positive way. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are very powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
They are found in cold water oily fish, walnuts, flax seeds, canola oil and pumpkin seeds.
Adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements from Nordic Naturals fish oil may also help reduce inflammation, pain and promote healing.
Healthy oils include Coconut, Macadamia oil, rice bran oil, grape seed oil, walnut oil and Olive oil.
It is very important to avoid any saturated fats and oils such as: hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils. These oils will increase inflammation in the body and can contribute to several different health disorders,
Your body needs protein to build healthy body tissues. Good protein sources include lean poultry, fish and seafood, nuts, legumes and seeds.
Red meats may trigger inflammation, so cut back on fatty red meats. When you do eat red meat, choose lean cuts of bison, venison and other game meats, or the lowest-fat cuts of beef, preferably grass-fed beef.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
Most of your carbohydrates should come from vegetables and fruits. These are excellent sources of fiber, and a high fiber diet will reduce your inflammation.
Choose green leafy vegetables, green and brightly colored vegetables and lots of fresh whole fruits.
You should eat at least five and preferably more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Green vegetables and whole fruits are also important as sources of dietary fiber.
Berries are also a great food choice, especially blueberries and strawberries which are packed with anti-inflammatory phytochemical’s and anti-oxidants.
The pigments in brightly colored fruits, vegetables and berries contain many phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties. One example is quercetin, which is found in apple and red onion skins and has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Ask Dr. Trudeau about New Greens or Greens First products. These 2 products contain several fruits, vegetables and additional compounds that can reduce inflammation, promote good health and reduce the acidity in the body which also contributes to inflammation in the body.
Your body needs water day. The simplest and best form of water is distilled water (make sure you are also taking a good multi mineral supplement) or purified drinking water. The best water in Washington county can be purchased at Water 2 Go.
“Food Allergies and/or Food Sensitivities
Some people believe that allergy-like reactions to foods may increase inflammation and pain. These type of “food allergies” may make pain and inflammation worse. The underlying problem may be due to faulty digestion or excessive consumption of any particular food. Most any food that is consumed more than four days a week can be suspected as a possible allergen, but some of the more common allergic foods are milk and dairy, wheat, corn, eggs, beef, yeast and soy.
Even healthy foods can cause problems if you are sensitive to them. There are certain types of tests that can be performed, or elimination diets that can be undertaken to determine the problem foods.
Anti-inflammatory Diet Tips
Over all, when you are choosing anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce your inflammation and pain, choose fresh foods instead of heavily processed foods.
Here are some tips:
Breakfast could be oatmeal served with fresh berries and walnuts, with a cup of almond or rice milk.
Snack on whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and fresh vegetables throughout the day instead of cookies and candy.
Eat more fish and less fatty red meat.
Stay away from deep fried foods and bake or stir fry your meals instead.
Choose green, orange, and yellow vegetables for your side dishes.
Drink plenty of water, fresh 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas and green tea.
Advanced Injury Center / Dr. Mike Trudeau
4695 Hallmark Pkwy
San Bernardino, Ca 92407