To Decrease Inflammation and Pain
Avoiding These 7 Foods
The foods we eat, and the beverages we drink do more than fuel our bodies — they affect the chemical balance in our bodies. Foods can create an alkaline (healthy) or an acidic (unhealthy) state in our bodies.
Why it’s important to decrease inflammation.
When most people they hear about inflammation, they think of injuries and things like bug bites that cause redness, swelling and pain. But it is important to understand that foods, beverages, and the way our bodies react to them can cause inflammation within your body. And the more acidic our bodies are the more likely we are to have inflammation, which leads to pain. Individuals with existing health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, painful joints, etc… will experience more pain and dysfunction when they eat foods that cause inflammation and increase the acidic state within their bodies. Eating healthy by eating more fruits and vegetables, along with drinking lots of water, will help reduce inflammation and pain while helping to move your body to a more alkaline state.
Modern foods can make it harder to eat healthy. Some foods that were once healthy have now been mutated, grow with poisonous pesticides, or now raised in an unhealthy way. Additionally, many chemicals, sugars, and preservatives have been added to our foods making it hard for our digestive system and internal organs to properly handle the food and extract the nutrition our bodies need. Limiting your intake of processed foods should be considered by everyone wanting to eat healthy.
When you eat healthy foods that allow your body to be properly nourished, you will find that you have more energy, less pain and inflammation, and the ability to heal quicker.
Here is a list of seven top foods to avoid if you are seeking to minimize chronic inflammation and pain:
Everyone knows that consuming large quantities of alcohol can be hazardous to your health. What many people don’t know is that drinking lots of alcohol will also cause inflammation and irritation to your liver, esophagus, and even your larynx. Over an extended period of time, drinking too much can also result in cancer and tumor growth in the sections of your body that consistently experience inflammation and irritation. For those that enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage, the good news is that moderation should allow you to enjoy your favorite beverages while avoiding the more serious side effects.
- Artificial Food Additives
Over the last 30 years, more and more artificial food additives have been added to our food. Some of these ingredients, such as MSG and aspartame, consist of chemicals that have been shown to be toxic to your nervous system. Reports have also shown that these chemical additives increase pain and inflammation, particularly with individuals suffering from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Cooking Oils
Many oils used today for cooking are promoted as healthy because they are “vegetable oils.” Unfortunately, most of these oils are unhealthy because they do not have a proper omega 6 to omega 3 balance. The ideal ratio is 4:1 (omega 6-3) to provide the essential fatty acids needed for our bodies to function properly. The typical American diet is 15-20:1, and many cooking oils contribute to this problem because they are very high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in omega 3. Omega 6 essential fatty acids are found in peanut oils, grape seed oil, cottonseed, safflower, as well as corn and sunflower oil.
One of the worst cooking oils to use in Canola oil. Canola oil is the main ingredient in the popular PAM cooking spray. First, you should know that Canola oil is a made-up word because there are no canola seeds — it is made from rapeseed. Canola oil is a partially hydrogenated oil (see our warning on that in #5). Today, 90% of canola oil is genetically modified (GMO). In 1995, Monsanto created the first genetically modified version. Dow Chemicals also holds patents on modified canola oil
The Two Best Oils to Use
Organic extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil. Both are high in healthy omega 3 essential fatty acids.
Olive oil has many great health benefits, however, it should not be used for cooking. When olive oil (and most other cooking oils) is heated, it literally starts to deteriorate chemically. Coconut oil holds up well under heat, and, contrary to what many people think, it does not add a coconut flavor to your food.
Olive oil is recommended as your best oil for salad and the like, and coconut oil would be the best for cooking. Go organic for the best quality and health benefits.
Another consideration for cooking would be organic, grass-fed butter and ghee. Like olive oil and coconut oil, grass-fed butter is a healthy fat that will actually help you lose weight. Butter is also great for cooking. The key here is grass-fed. The cows providing the butter need to be on a strict grass-fed diet. Grains are extremely bad for cows, requiring antibiotics to be added to the grain. Grains will change the omega 6:3 ratio from a healthy ratio as low as 0.16:1 (about the same as fish) to a bad ratio that can be as high as 20:1. It should be noted that a ratio above 4:1 is where health problems start to show up. So, make sure your organic butter is 100% grass-fed. Even “organic” grain is unhealthy to a cow.
In the recent years, there has been a lot of information available regarding gluten. Many people think this applies strictly to those with celiac disease, but that is not correct. Most people have some reaction to gluten, and many are unaware of how sensitive their bodies are to gluten until they cut it out of their diet for several weeks and feel the difference in their bodies. Gluten sensitivity is known to cause inflammation in the body. For many people, this means painful joints, migraines, chronic fatigue, constipation, and even skin rashes.
Gluten, a protein found primarily in wheat, rye, barley, and most grains, is something most of us consume on a daily basis. For years now, wheat has been a recommended part of our diets and the primary contributor of gluten to our diets. Many people are unaware that since the 70’s wheat has been radically changed, irradiated with gamma rays, and deliberately mutated to produce a new type of wheat (Monsanto holds the patent) that that is about 2 feet shorter, but with a much larger seed head to produce a higher yield. Not only is this new wheat not as nutritious, but ranks higher on the Glycemic Index (GI) than sugar. So, starting your day out with wheat, particularly for diabetics, is not recommended.
- Trans Fatty Acids and Hydrogenated Oils
Trans fatty acids and hydrogenated oils contain chemicals that will increase your levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while simultaneously lowering your levels of good cholesterol (HDL), which has been proved to increase the inflammation in the body and be a major cause of heart disease and other problems. You should strive to minimize your consumption of trans fatty acids and hydrogenated oils, which can be done by avoiding fried foods, processed foods, and fast foods. Please read the labels carefully on all processed foods.
- Refined Sugars
Sugar is a known cause of inflammation in the body and is linked to major health problems such as diabetes, obesity, liver damage, and other chronic diseases. We know sugar is a major ingredient in candy, desserts, snacks, sodas and fruit juices, but sugar also hides under the name high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Studies have shown high fructose corn syrup to be more toxic than sugar and should be avoided. Sugar is also disguised on labels under the names of corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, sucrose, and maltose. Often you will find several of these listed on the same label.
Sugar Alcohols such as glycerol, sorbitol, mannitol, lactitol, maltitol, and erythritol, have fewer calories than refined sugar since your body is not able to completely absorb them. Consumption of sugar alcohols can lead to abdominal gas and diarrhea if you eat too many foods containing them. It should also be noted that maltitol can spike your blood sugar almost as much as a starchy new potato. Erythritol is used in the sweetener Truvia. Of the sugar alcohols, there is one healthy exception: xylitol. Xylitol is a good sugar substitute for people dealing with diabetes when used in moderation (diabetics also use erythritol), and because it does not convert to acid in your mouth (like sugar does) it can help prevent tooth decay and dry mouth. WARNING: Xylitol can be toxic to dogs and some other animals — even in small amounts.
Artificial Sugars can be just as bad and sometimes worse than refined sugar. You should also avoid aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), Saccharin (Sweet’N Low), sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame potassium, neotame, and other artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners add chemicals that your body can not properly process and have no nutritional value. Many of these artificial sweeteners have been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. You should also be aware that the methanol in aspartame turns into formaldehyde at 86°.
Healthy Sugar Substitutes
Fortunately, there are healthy sugar substitutes available like the herbs Stevia and Lo Han Guo (Luo Han Kuo is an alternative spelling). There is also a Lo Han fruit in China which has been used for centuries. These herbs are sweeter than sugar and have the added benefit of helping your body maintain steady blood sugar levels. These natural sweeteners are much healthier for diabetics to use than sugar alcohols. They taste different than refined sugar, and because they are much sweeter you will need to experiment with them to make your favorite recipes taste exactly as you want them to.
Some companies are now using parts of Stevia to make sweeteners. Truvia is an excellent example. However, we do not yet know the long-term effects of Truvia. Truvia is made of stevia leaf extract, erythritol (sugar alcohol) and natural flavors. In nature, Stevia works as a whole, and has been used for centuries. With Truvia, only a part of Stevia is being used (so it can be patented) and we have no long-term results yet. It may end up being a great sugar substitute.
News Flash on Honey
While Honey is a natural sweetener, most commercial grade honey (like you buy in the store) is highly processed, pasteurized (nutrients are reduced), and of poor quality. Look for raw, organic honey. Even with raw, organic honey, it is a type of fructose, so it should be used in moderation. But raw honey has other great benefits. Raw honey can be used to help treat bacterial infections, ulcers, diarrhea, sunburn, and even sore throats.
Other Natural Sweeteners
Coconut Sugar and raw Maple Syrup are good sugar substitutes for cooking. Both contain minerals and other nutrients that table sugar doesn’t. Coconut sugar can be used in place of table sugar for any use. While coconut sugar and maple syrup will not spike your blood sugar level like table sugar, they do contain fructose and should be consumed in moderation.
- Feedlot Raised Meat (Grain-Fed Meat)
Grain-fed beef lacks the nutrition and quality of grass-fed beef. The conditions grain-fed animals are raised in at commercial meat producers and feedlots, produce products that are lower quality, contain less nutrition and have more inflammatory effects on our bodies.
Commercially raised animals are typically grain-fed and kept in tight enclosures, causing them to have not only excess fat (therefore more saturated fat in our food products), but also diets high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, grain-fed cattle are injected with hormones and antibiotics in an effort to prevent disease and promote growth. These practices contribute to inflammation of the animal that can affect the consumer as well. A grain diet turns acidic in the cow’s first stomach, which will harm the liver and kidneys, so cows receive low-grade antibiotics when on a grain diet. As mentioned above in #3 when we were talking about butter, grain diets will change the omega 6:3 ratio of the meat you are eating, making it unhealthy.
Eating grass-fed beef will give you many more health benefits and help prevent additional inflammation.
Advantages of Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Beef
- Richer taste
- Branch-chain amino acids
- 400% more Vitamin A (as beta-carotene)
- 400% more Vitamin E
- 2-4 times richer in heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids
- Lower in “bad” saturated fats, and higher in “good” unsaturated fats
- Fewer calories (up to 100 calories less for a 6-ounce steak)
- 3-5 times higher in CLA (Conjugated Linoleum Acid) which assists in weight loss
Moderation is the Key to Any Diet
In any successful diet, the key is moderation. Consuming natural, healthy foods that are nutritionally dense to nourish and fuel our bodies for the rigorous demands of everyday life. Taking steps to minimize the amount of inflammation in the body, will allow you to more effectively manage pain levels. Speak with your doctor of chiropractic for more information on other causes of inflammation in the body.
Inflammation & Pain
Inflammation and pain are daily issues for many people who have been diagnosed with chronic disease, but many others suffer from these common ailments daily as well. As we strive to be healthy and live a life free of pain and inflammation, making sure your diet is right is the place to start. Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
Inflammation is a quintessential response of the body to disease and injury. Inflammation is exhibited through signs of pain, heat, redness and swelling. The body’s response to inflammation is defensive, sending immune cells through increased blood flow (which is the reason for heat, redness and swelling) to the areas that need support. Chronic inflammation, caused by continuously having offensive chemicals in the body, causes the body constantly produce immune cells to fight off the intruders. This continuous response leads to dangerous results, as the overproduction of immune cells leads to conditions such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis.
Chronic inflammation is caused by many things such as inhaling polluted air, experiencing large amounts stress, and being overweight to name just a few of the culprits for chronic pain and inflammation. These are often caused by lifestyle choices such as smoking, lack of exercise and proper sleep, and a poor diet. The foods we eat are capable of causing an inflammatory response. When we are properly nourished, we can heal faster, have more energy and prevent chronic inflammation. When we prevent inflammation, we are able to avoid a major cause of chronic pain and disease.
If you are having problems dealing with pain and inflammation, contact World Class Chiropractic at 410.461.3435 to arrange for a consultation. If you feel any of your friends and family can benefit from this article, please recommend it to them.