Inflammation is both a good thing and a bad thing.
It’s good because it’s your body’s way of protecting and healing itself. For example, when an injury or allergic reaction occurs, blood flow to the area increases, carrying leukocytes that clean the site of the injury and break down damaged tissue. Within a short time, the area is healed, and you’re good as new!
It’s bad because this process can get stuck in the “on” position, and, instead of breaking down dead tissue, it begins breaking down tissue that is still alive! This is when the body begins to attack itself, causing autoimmune disease, chronic pain, inflammation, and other health problems.
If you’re currently living with a chronic pain condition, you may be taking medications and/or supplements to help you manage your pain. However, if you’re including certain foods in your diet, those foods may be making your condition worse and rendering your medication and supplements almost useless.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at foods that can cause inflammation and foods can that prevent it.
These Foods May Worsen Your Chronic Pain and Inflammation
1. Whole and Refined Grains
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that foods like bread, cereal, and pasta, which are rich in omega 6 fatty acids, increase inflammatory markers.
Monosodium glutamate is a savory-tasting food additive that has been proven to cause chronic inflammation, especially of the liver, your body’s main detoxifying organ. The Journal of Autoimmunity felt so strongly about the dangers of MSG, they stated it should be “potentially withdrawn from the food chain” upon conclusion of their studies.
Although celiac disease is considered rare, gluten sensitivity is believed to be up to ten times more prevalent, creating a range of symptoms. Multiple studies have emerged to suggest that gluten may be responsible for chronic inflammation, obesity, and insulin resistance.
Studies have shown that eighty percent of soy produced in the United States is genetically modified, which means it contains pesticides you can’t wash off. Pesticides interfere with normal gastrointestinal function, which may trigger an autoimmune inflammatory response. If you do eat soy, consume only organic, fermented soy.
7. Conventionally-Raised Meat
Conventionally-raised meat is filled with antibiotics, pesticides, and growth hormones that increase chronic inflammation inside your body.
These Foods May Ease Your Chronic Pain and Inflammation
Curcumin, the anti-inflammatory compound found in turmeric, has been shown to be effective in providing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal benefits in six clinical trials.
Note: Avoid turmeric if you are on blood-thinning medications, are prone to kidney stones, or suffer from GERD.
Ginger inhibits pro-inflammatory compounds and has been shown to provide significant relief from gastrointestinal disorders and chronic headaches.
Note: Avoid ginger if you are on blood-thinning medications, medications for diabetes, medications for high blood pressure, pregnant or nursing, or are prone to gallstones.
Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are rich in phytochemicals such as ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and catechin, which provide both antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory benefits.
6. Cruciferous Vegetables
Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts may have the ability to ease chronic inflammation by lowering three important inflammatory compounds, namely tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), interleukin-1beta (IL-1b), and interleukin-6 (IL-6).
Avocados provide monounsaturated oleic fatty acids, which assist in balancing the effect and nutritional benefits of omega-6 fatty acids.
14. Fermented Foods
According to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, fermented foods such as kimchi, lacto-fermented sauerkraut, and organic yogurt mitigate C-reactive protein, a primary marker for systemic inflammation.
Being aware of which foods can cause inflammation and which can prevent it can help give you a better feeling of control over your pain and help you on your journey to healing.