Remedies That Help With Pain

The Inflammation Diet

March 1st, 2019

Anti-inflammatory Foods and Foods That Cause Inflammation

Everything we put into our body matters, especially when we are trying to manage inflammation in the body. While certain drugs can be effective, most have some pretty terrible side effects, and if it can be treated with natural methods, it should be. The inflammation diet has become popular among many dieticians who see people for things like fibromyalgia as well as an array of other diseases nutrition can affect. Before we get started, there are certain things we should establish right away.
  • There are foods that can reduce inflammation
  • There are foods that cause inflammation
  • Inflammation causes pain, and they often go hand in hand
  • How you eat can have a real effect on how you feel
Inflammation causes pain by pressing on nerve endings, sending signals to the brain of discomfort and pain. Many diseases that cause chronic pain, like arthritis or degenerative disk disease also cause inflammation in the area of the deteriorating tissue, causing even more discomfort. For arthritis especially, the effect of inflammation on the joints can be debilitating. It’s important to know how to get Relief for Your Aching Joints.

Inflammation can have a whole host of other nasty and unwanted side effects other than back or joint pain. Conditions like Lupus and Crohn's disease, both of which have profound effects on the body’s primary functions, are largely caused by inflammation in extremes. To learn more about how inflammation can affect you, including chronic pain, check out our blog here.

Certain foods have been shown to reduce inflammation.  While the inflammation diet looks somewhat different across the viewpoints of many clinicians, some things are well agreed upon. Just like there are foods that reduce inflammation, there are inflammatory foods, which encourage your body’s inflammatory process and can make you more uncomfortable. An anti-inflammatory diet can help across a variety of conditions, and for most kinds of chronic pain, it definitely can help.1

Anti inflammatory foods

Anti-inflammatory Foods

Certain foods have properties that assist the body’s own process for fighting inflammation, and these foods can have powerful benefits in making a person feel better or worse. Think about it. Have you ever noticed how not great you feel after you’ve eaten a great deal of sugar? Well, if you have only foods that fight inflammation, like nuts, green tea, berries, and red wine, you are going to feel a lot better, and not just because of the wine.4

Choosing foods every day that have these anti-inflammatory properties can help you not only to feel better, it can help you to age gracefully from the inside out. It can help prevent or slow the progression of diseases like arthritis, and with that in mind, everyone should really be making anti-inflammatory food choices, not just those who are already dealing with symptoms. 4,5,1

Some Anti-Inflammatory Foods

  • Nuts, especially walnuts, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Berries, especially blueberries which are also high in antioxidants
  • Fish, especially salmon and fatty fish like sardines, which are high in Omega-3’s
  • Beans can be an excellent source of protein to replace the red meat you’ll cut
  • Green Tea helps energy and has several antioxidant and immune-boosting properties
There are so many foods that you need to be incorporating into your diet that it would just be too much to get into all of them here. However, many fleshed out articles on the topic are lengthy and difficult to wade through. Dr Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid is a simple, easy, graphics tool to show you in very simple terms what kind of foods you should be eating. Later, when this article gets into inflammatory foods you should not be eating as much of, you will find your replacements in that pyramid, which has a ton of choices.

Choosing to have a piece of fish instead of a hamburger can make a vast difference in your health. However, it’s not advisable in any diet of any kind to just cut out everything you like. While you might find that some of your favourite foods are inflammatory foods, you don’t have to cut them from your diet entirely. You don’t have to cut steak forever.  However, moderate the amount of these foods that you eat heavily, and surround them with anti-inflammatory foods that help keep you healthy.

According to the Harvard Health Institute, “Choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. Consistently pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.” So, while you may not have to cut all inflammatory foods altogether, repeatedly picking them in your everyday diet could have negative, and even detrimental effects on your health. So, even if you love soda, if you are dealing with a chronic condition that causes inflammation and pain, you should limit your access if you can’t cut it altogether.

Inflammatory foods

Inflammatory Foods

As stated before, certain foods make inflammation worse, especially in those with an inflammatory condition. When your body is already dealing with stress from inflammation, it is best to avoid these foods to avoid making it worse. Also, avoiding these kinds of foods even if you are perfectly healthy can help you, once again, age gracefully from the inside out. The fact of the matter is, arthritis is not just part of getting older. It and all other inflammatory diseases are conditions that are abnormalities. So, if you frequently choose inflammatory foods, you may be doing harm to your body.1,2,4
  • Some foods that cause inflammation
  • Sugar, Corn Syrup, especially in soda, but altogether
  • Excessive Alcohol, which can be hard on many other processes in your body as well
  • Vegetable and Seed Oils, which have far more unhealthy fats
  • Saturated and Trans Fats, which can also have many unwanted effects on your health
  • Red Meat, Processed Meat, which have also been linked to certain digestive cancers
While this list can give you a general idea of things you should be avoiding, talking about how to avoid and which are more serious and how to substitute is a very in depth discussion that has already been covered well on other resources, such as Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. However, while that is an excellent resource for helping you decide what to choose, you’ll need resources on which foods not to choose. For some seriously inflammatory foods, check out 6 Foods That Cause Inflammation.

Supplement your diet

Supplement Your Inflammation Diet

There are known compounds, like Omega-3’s which are known to help reduce inflammation in the body and are included in many ways in the Inflammation Diet. However, some people may find it difficult to abide as strictly as one should, especially if they have an aversion to eating fish a few times a week. A good strong substitute is to take an Omega-3 supplement every day.

While certain vegetable fats like flaxseed oil and soy contain Omega-3’s, they contain not only a less beneficial Omega-3 fatty acid than fish, but they also contain high amount of Omega-6’s, which are not beneficial and actually prohibit effective absorption of Omega-3’s. Flaxseed oil supplements are not a substitute for fish oil. To learn more about this, visit Flaxseed Vs. Fish Oil. Also, not all fish oil is created equally, so check out this list of reviews to help you choose the most high-quality Omega-3 supplement for yourself.

You should probably also take a general multivitamin. The inflammation diet calls for a lot of leafy green vegetables, and tomatoes. This is great news if you love a really diverse salad, but otherwise, eating as many as called for might become laborious. Taking a supplement won’t ease any of your obligation to eat these green leafy vegetables, but just makes sure in doing so, while you are eating vegetables all the time, it certainly would be bad and ironic to find yourself to have a certain vitamin deficiency from focusing so much of your diet on anti-inflammatory foods.

Before starting any kind of nutrition plan, you should see your healthcare provider. The Inflammation diet may not be safe for all patients, and there may be some foods you need to avoid. Always consult your healthcare professional before making any major changes in your healthcare plan.

Put down the soda. Put down the McDonald’s. Step away from those foods that are not only making you unhealthy but making you sick! Try eating more anti-inflammatory foods, and avoiding or moderating foods that cause inflammation, and see how you feel. It could make a world of difference.

Sources:

1. Arthritis Foundation: “Anti-Inflammatory Diet”
https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory-diet.php

2. Arthritis Foundation: “Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation”
https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/foods-to-avoid-limit/food-ingredients-and-inflammation.php

3. Healthline: “6 Foods That Cause Inflammation”
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-foods-that-cause-inflammation

4. Andrew Weil, M.D. “Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid”
https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-pyramid/dr-weils-anti-inflammatory-food-pyramid/

5. Harvard Health: “Foods That Fight Inflammation”
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
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