Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Pain Relief — Pain should not be a regular part of everyday life. Unfortunately, many Americans regularly experience pain and inflammation, which could be due to poor dieting habits. To be clear, society largely promotes the consumption of inflammation-causing foods, so it’s no wonder that so many people deal with the discomfort. Fortunately, it’s easy to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet without having to completely overhaul your food intake.
Watch the video below to hear Doc outline which foods cause inflammation and why then suggest a few easy ways to reduce inflammation through diet without compromising your favorite foods.
What is Healthy Eating?
Before we outline the best anti-inflammatory foods for pain relief, let’s discuss what healthy eating is – and isn’t. For example, a healthy diet is not determined by calories or numbers on a scale. Instead, healthy eating is simply eating foods that nourish the body instead of just satiating the stomach. Consciously consuming foods with well-rounded nutrient profiles is a great start, like eating a variety of colorful plants and minimally processed proteins. Essentially, when you consume nourishing foods, you’ll feel better, experience less pain, and ultimately get more out of life.
Foods that Cause Inflammation
One of the best ways to reduce inflammation quickly is to stop eating the foods that contribute to it. As such, your first priority should be to stop eating the following products, or at least reduce how much you consume in a day.
People who consume less sugar tend to have fewer inflammation factors in the blood. On the other hand, people who consume more sugar tend to be more prone to obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation. This suggests that sugar could exacerbate inflammatory responses by increasing “bad” cholesterol levels and contributing to weight gain. Sugar also increases toxins in the stomach, which could pass into the bloodstream to cause inflammation throughout the body.
Fried foods contain high levels of trans fats and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which contribute to inflammation in the body. They also produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which directly contribute to inflammation. What’s more, fried foods often include refined sugars, which your body converts into sugar very quickly. This process can cause insulin levels to rise, which may lead to poor insulin regulation and thus contribute to the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
Processed foods are meats that have been modified either by curing, smoking, salting, or adding chemicals to them to improve flavor and increase shelf life. Unfortunately, these products tend to contain high levels of saturated fat, which can cause weight gain and inflammation throughout the body.
Refined starches are things like white flour and rice that have been stripped of their nutritional value and often modified to adjust their appearance. These products are not only void of nutrition, but they also contribute to inflammation. Basically, refined starches digest quickly, which can raise blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal. This can increase the risk of weight gain by prompting consumers to overeat, often with “empty calorie” foods.
Foods that Reduce Inflammation
Now that we’ve outlined the foods you should avoid, let’s discuss the best anti-inflammatory foods for pain that you can add to your diet today. To begin, try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet, especially berries, pineapples, beets, broccoli, and avocados (Doc explains why these specific items are so beneficial in the video posted above). Essentially, these foods contain tons of antioxidants to help fight inflammation. Plus, avocados may also be neuroprotective by reducing brain inflammation to prolong dementia onset.
Fish and other omega-3 oils are also helpful anti-inflammatories. To be clear, fish contain high levels of omega 3 fats, which studies have found reduces inflammation in the body for up to 24 hours after consumption. Omega 3 fats can also help destroy bacteria, eliminate dead cells, and make blood platelets less sticky to reduce the risk of developing blood clots.
Finally, ginger and turmeric make an excellent anti-inflammatory pairing. Notably, both come from the same plant family and exert anti-inflammatory properties. The herbs can also control blood pressure, improve circulation, and reduce plaque build-up for better heart health.
Easy Tips to Improve Your Diet
Improving your diet doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it shouldn’t be hard if you want to build sustainable habits. As such, you should not face a diet upgrade with disdain. Instead, plan simple alterations to your every-day routing then modify your diet with more healthy habits as you go.
Fortunately, improving your diet is a great opportunity to try new foods and experiment with new flavor combinations. Think of ways to incorporate some of the foods listed above into a new recipe once each week then keep record of your favorites. Eventually, you’ll have your own recipe book filled with healthy, delicious meals that you can add to your weekly meal plan.
Another easy way to add nutritious substances to your diet is to supplement when necessary. Green drinks and other super food-based beverages make it easy to consume a serving or two of your daily vegetable requirements and you can drink them on your way to work! You can also add smoothies to your diet by blending a variety of leafy greens, berries, and omega-3 protein powders.
Finally, take some time to plan your meals for the week. Spending a few minutes each week planning your next meals can encourage you to add healthy variety to your meals. It can also help reduce daily meal planning time and save money on groceries that you never end up eating. You can also use this time to sort your favorite from your not-so-favorite meals.
Final Thoughts About Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Pain Relief
Your diet plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health. Make sure you feed it the best fuel possible by incorporating these anti-inflammatory foods for pain relief into your diet.