Eating a nutritious diet is a cornerstone of good health. A healthy diet will give your body all of the nutrients it needs to perform essential daily tasks like healing damaged tissue and eliminating waste, creating energy and much more.
But did you know that your diet can also have an impact on your pain levels? If you are suffering from an inflammatory condition like arthritis, the foods you eat can impact your inflammation levels and affect the severity of pain you are experiencing.
In this post, our London chiropractor identifies the link between inflammation and pain along with sharing some tips on choosing a diet that may reduce inflammation levels.
Inflammation and Pain
Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to disease, irritants, and injuries. It encourages blood and regenerative cells to move to the site of trauma and begin healing. The swelling and pain caused by inflammation also discourages you from using the injured part of your body as it heals.
Once healing has progressed to a certain point, the body produces enzymes which counteract inflammation. Unfortunately, the production of these enzymes becomes weaker as we age which causes inflammation to stay around longer than necessary.
There are also various illnesses and auto-immune diseases which cause chronic inflammation, including arthritis. These conditions can cause unrelenting inflammation that is difficult to counteract.
It’s important to note that there are several factors which can contribute to inflammation and worsen associated pain. They include:
- Unaddressed injuries
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Prescription medications
- Negative mental and emotional stress
- Poor nutritional habits
We work with patients at our London chiropractic clinic to determine the specific factors which may be worsening their inflammation. Our team then develops holistic treatment plans which use chiropractic techniques in combination with diet and nutrition to help each patient.
Foods Which Can Reduce Inflammation
Researchers have discovered that the foods a person eats can affect the levels of C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation) in their blood. This means changing your diet can increase or reduce inflammation.
Some foods will also reduce oxidative stress, which is a common cause of inflammation. Here are a few of the foods which have been shown to reduce inflammation:
In addition to being a delicious addition to your toast, avocados have some excellent health benefits. They are high in mono-saturated fats, fibre, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C, A, E, and B. Researchers have also found that the polyphenols contained within avocados are excellent anti-oxidants, which can reduce inflammation.
- Almonds and walnuts
Both of these nuts are a wonderful source of protein, mono-saturated fats, vitamin E, and manganese. The fatty acids they contain can also help to reduce the inflammatory response.
Green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, and collard greens are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, which can alleviate inflammation.
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuns, sardines, mackerel)
Eating fatty fish is one of the best ways to boost inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids.
- Fresh fruits (strawberries, cherries, oranges, blueberries)
Virtually all fruits are a useful source of vitamins. However, strawberries, cherries, oranges, and blueberries are particularly useful for people dealing with inflammation. They are packed with vitamins and contain phytochemicals like flavonoids, anthocyanidins, and phenolic acids. Phytochemicals can prevent and repair the cellular damage caused by free radicals, reducing inflammation.
Beans are a delicious way to boost the amount of protein and fibre in your diet. They also contain inflammation busting polyphenols. Some of the best beans to try include kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, and pinto beans.
Foods That Can Worsen Inflammation
There are also foods which can worsen inflammation and lead to more pain. They include:
- Refined carbohydrates including white bread, white rice, and pastries
- Fried foods like hot chips, fried chicken, calamari, and fried cheese sticks
- Sweetened drinks like Coca Cola, lemonade and sports drinks
- Red meat and processed meat
- Margarine, shortening, and lard
- Foods containing trans fats
If you are suffering from an inflammatory condition like arthritis, the foods you eat may be impacting your inflammation levels and affect the severity of pain you are experiencing. Reviewing your diet and reducing the foods that may contribute to worsening inflammation and increasing the foods that may help reduce inflammation may help reduce the pain you are experiencing.