Anti Inflammatory Diet – Controlling Inflammation with Food
Can The Foods You Eat Make A Difference In Chronic Pain?
Inflammation is defined as a localized reaction of tissue to irritation, injury, or infection. Its symptoms include
pain, swelling, red coloration to the area, and sometimes loss of movement or function. We commonly think
of inflammation as the painful component of arthritis.
Common medical treatments for inflammatory conditions include rest, exercise, stretching, and medications
designed to reduce the inflammation and control the pain. These medications include Non Steroidal AntiInflammatory
Drugs (NSAIDs), steroid medications, and perhaps ultimately joint replacement surgery. The
NSAIDs are widely used as the initial form of therapy.
For the most part NSAIDs are tolerated fairly well, although they can irritate the stomach and lead to
ulcers. In many instances, long term use can lead to kidney problems.
Diet and Inflammation
The foods we eat play an important roll in how we feel. Loading up on junk foods and fast foods tend to
make us feel worse due to the unhealthy fats that are used in the cooking processes. Excessive
consumption of sugars and refined starchy carbohydrates like white flour can make inflammation worse.
Switch your diet to whole fruits, vegetables, and lots of cold water oily fish.
While the whole fruits and vegetables are important for their vitamins, minerals, and natural antioxidants,
some vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant may actually make inflammation worse.
These vegetables are part of the nightshade family of plants and contain a chemical alkaloid which is an
Essential Fatty Acids
The right type of fats in our diets will impact pain and inflammation in a positive way. Omega-3 oils that are
found in cold water oily fish, walnuts, flax and pumpkin seeds will reduce inflammation. It may be beneficial
to supplement the omega 3 oils with flax oil or fish oil capsules. Add some vitamin E as well.
Water and Dehydration
One big factor in pain is dehydration. When we do not drink enough water, we hurt and inflammation feels
worse. Make sure to drink at least 60 to 80 ounces of water every day. Avoid heavy caffeine and alcohol
consumption because they contain diuretics that will cause the body to lose more water.
Delayed Food Allergies
Many people have delayed reactions to foods that will increase inflammation and pain. These type of “food
allergies” are not really allergies like hayfever, but they do involve the immune system and can make pain
and inflammation much worse. Frequently the underlying problem is due to faulty digestion or excessive
consumption of any particular food. Most any food that is consumed more than 4 days a week can be
suspected as a possible allergen, but some of the more common allergic foods are milk and dairy, wheat,
corn, eggs, beef, yeast, and soy. Even healthy foods can cause problems. There are blood tests that can be
performed, or elimination diets that can be undertaken to determine the allergic foods.
Changing Our Diets
The common western high fat, high sugar diet is likely to increase inflammation while a healthy diet low
made up of whole foods can actually help to decrease inflammation and pain. Choose low fat protein
sources combined with fruits, vegetables and greens. Apples and red onions are especially great choices
because they contain quercetin, a powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent. A diet like this may help
decrease inflammation and sensitivity. Avoid sugars and junk food whenever possible