Is the food you eat the culprit for your joint pain? Inflammation-causing foods are quite popular. Some of them won’t surprise you, but some of them might be part of your healthy diet, and you don’t even realize they’re behind your pain.
Joint pain and inflammation are nothing to take lightly. In fact, keeping your joints healthy and supple is a big part of healthy aging.
We’ll help you learn which foods to avoid or consume in moderation, and which ones are okay. We also have some tips on what to eat so you can keep your body in fighting form.
What Is Inflammation and Why It Can Be Bad
Inflammation does have its place in your body. It’s the body’s white cells releasing chemicals that protect your body from foreign substances.
A chronic response by white blood cells causes inflammation that irritates the joints, causes swelling of the joint lining, and eventually wearing down of the cartilage. This can lead to arthritis and severe joint pain and prevent you from doing the things you want in life.
Chronic inflammation can even cause inflammatory diseases and has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and cancer. This is obviously nothing to be taken lightly, and taking steps to eliminate inflammation-causing substances from your life will help you live a healthier and stronger life.
Following LiveWell on Facebook @livewelllabsnutrition and Instagram @livewelllabs can also help you learn more about the causes of inflammation and how to combat them, so that you can continue on your journey of health-lightenment.
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Now that we understand what inflammation is, at least in its most basic form, and some of the health problems associated with it, let’s look at the foods to avoid or to consume.
1. Fried Foods and Saturated Fats
You know you shouldn’t eat this stuff, and yet sometimes you just need a fix. Fried foods and saturated fats are all around us. They play a role in some of the most popular and delicious foods, and sometimes you don’t know you’re eating them.
The first step in avoiding these inflammation beasts is cutting out the fried foods. The next step is cutting way back on saturated fat-laden dairy and meats.
2. Processed Foods
Try to avoid all foods that have additives that make them more “packageable” or that extend their shelf life a long time. Some of these foods include lunch meats, cold cuts, white bread, store-bought cookies and pastries, sugary drinks, chips, and processed cheese.
A study by Mount Sinai Health System found that by cutting back on processed and fried foods that contain Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products, inflammation was reduced, and the body’s natural defenses were restored.
AGE products are toxins and known contributors to inflammation. They’re rather rampant in processed foods and meats.
3. Excess Sugar
You may have noticed that a lot of processed foods have excess sugar. Many of these foods that cause inflammation come with a double-whammy effect of being bad on more than one level.
4. Refined Carbohydrates
Look out bread lovers, here is where you’re going to feel a little sad. White bread, donuts, cakes, cookies, bagels, pizza, pasta, and all sorts of delicious comfort foods are packed with refined carbohydrates, and they’re really hard to cut out of your diet.
If refined carbohydrates are your sticking point, try to cut way back on them and look for healthier, whole food alternatives. Whole grains can keep pasta and bread on your menu, and swapping out your pizza crust for a cauliflower crust might just change your life.
5. Dairy Products and Casein
Casein is the protein in milk, and it’s been linked to inflammation, especially if you have dairy allergies. Dairy feels healthy, but it might be your inflammation culprit.
6. Trans Fats
There’s nothing good about trans fats, and they’re a well-known joint inflammation devil. Cook with olive oil at home, and avoid anything that’s made with partially hydrogenated oils.
7. Excess Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Here is a really tricky one. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. In moderation, they’re good for you, but when eaten in excess, they may cause inflammation. The jury is still out on this one, but once again, moderation is the answer.
You may cringe when hearing this one, but alcohol may be connected to oxidative stress and inflammation. Follow the moderation drinking rule, and you should be fine.
Foods That Help Fight Inflammation
Now that we’ve listed the bad foods, what should you eat to fight inflammation? A big part of any anti-inflammatory diet is cutting down on red meats and not eating processed foods, but we’ve covered that above. Here’s what you should keep stocked up.
To boost your diet and help with inflammation, focus on eating more plants. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes give your body what it needs to be healthy and strong.
Luckily, those plants you’re now eating are loaded with antioxidants. Focus on adding as many antioxidants to your diet as you can, and they will help fight cellular and tissue damage.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This nutrient plays a big role in regulating inflammation in your body, so you should load up on fatty fish and some flaxseed and soy.
Joint supplements like LiveWell’s MoveWell Plus and MoveWell give you some options when it comes to fighting inflammation in your body. These all-natural, proprietary blends of ingredients offer two different approaches to fighting the inflammation in your body while supporting joint comfort and health.
Try them both to see which one works best for your pain concerns.
Inflammation serves a purpose in your body, and when you have an injury, it could be a good thing. It’s when your body is reacting to food and other stressors in an inflammatory way on a chronic and ongoing basis that problems arise.
Staying on top of your health and ensuring that you are living your best life in the future requires attention to what you’re eating and how it can affect your body. Knowing what foods are good and which ones are bad is the first step in taking control and being healthier.
It’s important to note that foods are just one contributing factor associated with inflammation. If changing your diet and adding a supplement doesn’t help, you should speak with your medical team to see if there are other underlying concerns that need to be addressed.
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