A balanced diet is one of the simplest changes a person can introduce to their diet -- but is it possible that the diet is to blame for pain and inflammation? Because 70% of immune cells are in the digestive system, the food that passes by them can easily affect the body’s ability to maintain balance. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has written that processed sugars and other starches increase inflammation, which in turn causes pain, redness, overheating, and swelling.
Preventing inflammation and controlling pain should always involve a doctor’s consultation, and an exclusively dietary approach isn’t the most comprehensive way to solve chronic pain. However, eliminating certain foods can sometimes have a positive effect on overall health. We’re all familiar with the external inflammation seen in wounds -- redness, pain, irritation, etc. But that same inflammation happens internally to the inner lining of arteries and organs. This second type of inflammation can be curbed by diet changes
Some common food triggers for overall pain include:
Beer and Wine
Red wine is a common suspect for many migraines, and there is a link between consuming beer and developing gout.
Fried and Processed Foods
This should be a no-brainer for most, but it turns out that fried and processed foods aren’t exactly ‘healthy’ foods.
Sugars and Refined Carbs
High amounts of sugar can increase AGEs (advanced glycation end products), which damage certain proteins in the body and encourage inflammation.
The type of protein found in dairy products may irritate joint tissue. Replacing dairy proteins with leafy grains and beans can introduce more inflammation-fighting vitamins into the system.
These are very generic triggers, and should be avoided as deemed appropriate, not as a rule.
Before beginning any significant change to your diet or health plan, be sure to speak with a licensed physician to find a treatment plan right for you.
For more information about pain treatment and pain doctors in the Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Olympia and Edmonds area, contact the Washington Center for Pain Management.