Did you know there are inflammation-producing foods that, when consumed, can increase the amount of inflammation in your body and can increase the experience of chronic pain?
Inflammation can play a role in the experience of chronic pain so it’s important to know which foods are known culprits. Below is a list of some of the most common:
Foods That Cause Inflammation
There are several kinds of foods you should avoid if you want to stay away from inflammation and chronic pain. These include the following:
- Saturated Fats – Scientific research has shown saturated fats to trigger adipose or fat tissue inflammation, which is known to make arthritis inflammation worse. Pizza, cheese, ice cream, red met, full-fat dairy, pasta, and desserts made with white flour are major sources of saturated fats. Any kind of vegetable oil and partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils that are used for frying foods should also be avoided. Frying turns these vegetable oils into bad fats that are inflammatory to your system.
- Sugar – Sugar comes from sugar cane but it is far from being a natural food. Sugar is highly inflammatory and lacks in any kind of valuable nutrition. Molasses is a form of sugar that has some redeeming qualities (it provides you with iron) but is still inflammatory to your system. Sugar is also addicting so you should avoid it, especially white sugar or cane sugar, which is highly processed.
- Alcohol – Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, and it places a heavy burden upon this organ that weakens its functioning and therefore disrupts other multi-organ interactions to cause inflammation.
- Too Much Omega 6 Fatty Acids – Omega 6 fatty acids are necessary for the body’s growth and development, but it is only effective when intake is balanced with omega-3 fatty acids. Excess consumption of omega-6 fatty acids produces pro-inflammation chemicals in the body.
- Refined Carbohydrates (Grains) – This includes white bread, pizza crust, pie, cookies, and baked goods made with white flour. According to Scientific American, processed carbohydrates are a greater cause of obesity than any other food. These high-glycemic index foods promote the production of advanced glycation end products that simulate inflammation inside the body.
- MSG – MSG or Mono-sodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer added to food, and widely used in Asian cooking as well as added to many processed foods, like deli meats and canned soup. MSG may trigger two pathways of chronic inflammation, and it also affects liver health.
- Grain Fed Meat – Grain fed meat comes from animals that are also given hormones, antibiotics and other drugs to fatten them up before slaughter. When we eat the meat of these animals, we too become sick and end up eating a lot of artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives.
- High Sugar Fruit – Fruit contains a form of sugar known as fructose, and while unlike table sugar, fruits provide nutrients, the body still registers the sugar in fruit in the same way that it does table sugar and eating too much fruit and high sugar fruits can cause inflammation in the body and exacerbate pain. High sugar fruit include oranges, mangoes, and pineapples.
Foods With Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The good news is there are several foods you can eat that have the opposite effect of the foods described above. A list of some of the most common anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce inflammation in the body include:
- Fresh Whole Vegetables – These foods contain the cells of plant material that are effective in reducing inflammation in the body. Choose dark, leafy green vegetables that contain substances that reduce the inflammation of diabetes. Also, choose root vegetables for their anti-inflammatory properties. Onions contain flavonoids that mimic the effects of ibuprofen, a man made anti-inflammatory medication. Shallots and yellow and red onions also contain high amounts of pain fighting chemicals. Mushrooms are high in protein and protect the immune system.
- Herbs – Herbs are plant foods and can be eaten fresh or dried for their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Healthy Fats –This includes coconut oil, ghee, avocados, and olive oil. They are known to have anti-inflammatory effects, which explain why they are protective against heart disease.
- Grass Feed Beef – You should be eating meat from organic, grass-fed animals because the meat is less inflammatory and contains far fewer chemicals than grain-fed meat. Organic poultry is anti-inflammatory as well.
- Fresh Fish – Fish like salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have known anti-inflammatory effects and also help prevent the ingestion of too many omega-6 fatty acids.
- Green tea
*This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. You are encouraged to visit your doctor if you have any questions.