Do you experience chronic pain that lasts for long, sometimes even for months or years? If so, you are well-aware of how debilitating this can be.
Not only does the chronic pain interfere will all aspects of life, it can even induce feelings of frustration and hopelessness as we.
As per a survey in the Journal of Pain, over 31 percent of the American suffer from chronic pain. Unfortunately, most of these people seek relief in creams and pills without properly addressing the root cause of their problem.
If you are a victim of constantly nagging pain, the real answer to avoiding it has to be right in front of you on your plate. A recent study performed in 2017 has provided the evidence that there is a connection between your diet and the pain you experience.
Now that you know that your meal greatly influences your pain level, it is important to know how certain foods can increase the severity of pain in your body.
How Food Causes Pain
To understand how specific foods can cause pain, you first need to develop an understanding of inflammation and its role in diet and disease.
Inflammation refers to a normal immune response that provides protection to the body against infection and injury. For example, if you get a bug bite, the bitten area becomes itchy and swollen. This is because your immune system is acting on it.
Certain conditions are capable of inducing this inflammatory response even when it is not required. This allows the immune cells to start attacking the normal cells in the body, triggering pain and damage.
In some cases, certain pro-inflammatory proteins activate nerve cells, initiating pain and intensifying it. Some conditions commonly linked to pain and inflammation include:
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Celiac disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Food allergies
So, where does food fit in all this? More than 70 percent of the immune cells are found in your gastrointestinal tract. In addition to this, diet can also influence the mediation of inflammatory responses. Certain food items can ease the inflammation while others can just make it worse.
To reduce inflammation and the discomfort it causes, the immune system needs to be strengthened by taking control of what you eat.
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Some of the food items that may increase the pain in your body are discussed below.
Soy is a constituent of a lot of products such as soy milk, tofu, vegetarian meat substitutes, and soy sauce. Unfermented soy foods are high in phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that causes impairment of the nutrient absorption.
This can cause an increase in the intestinal permeability, a condition known as leaky gut that permits the particles to transfer from the intestines into the bloodstream. The leakage of food particles may cause inflammation and other problems like skin rashes, joint pain, and mood changes.
Nightshade vegetables belong to the Solanaceae family which includes a lot of other vegetables such as potatoes, chili peppers, eggplants, and bell peppers. These nutritional vegetables are generally healthy and useful for most of the people.
However, in some people, nightshades are capable of triggering a number of adverse symptoms such as muscle aches and joint pains, especially in the individuals with sensitivity.
The current evidence on nightshade intolerance is limited and more information is required to make a conclusion. However, it will be important to opt an elimination diet if you think these vegetables are worsening pain.
Gluten-free meals have generated a lot of buzzes lately, however, a lot of people still can’t understand the basic facts about it. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as rye, barley, and wheat.
Gluten is present in a lot of food items other than bread and wheat products. It may also be a part of your favorite salad dressing and even the deli meats.
For people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, consuming this protein even in a small quantity can trigger pain. Although more research is required, it is considered that gluten may even cause pain in individuals not sensitive to it.
Having an occasional glass of wine to spice up your dinner is absolutely fine. However, its chronic consumption might not be good for your pain. Overconsumption of alcohol can damage your liver, induce inflammation in the body, and even intensify the damage caused by inflammatory bowel disease.
If you still crave for a drink by the end of the day, make sure to avoid high-carb beers and sugary beverages. Also, keep your alcohol consumption in moderation and consume less than 5 drinks on a weekly basis.
Research suggests that cutting back on meat can benefit your body in terms of good health. Eating high quantity of processed meat is strongly linked to inflammation, a major cause of pain.
Certain types of meat are said to have high levels of purines, compounds that induce pain and worsen gout. If you are a patient of gout and often feel pain, it is better to limit the meat consumption, especially the type of meat high in purines like veal, turkey, bacon, and seafood.
Sugar is said to have a long list of harmful effects on your health, including cancer and heart diseases. But do you know that your love for sugar may also be contributing to pain?
Some researchers have suggested that a diet rich in sugar can alter the gut microbiome in humans, leading to inflammation. Loading yourself on sugar can also disturb the intestinal permeability, giving rise to pain and leaky gut symptoms.
7. Processed Foods
Ultra-processed foods are an important part of the modern diet. According to one study, these processed foods make up for 58 percent of the total energy intake in an American diet on average. The most commonly used processed food items include sodas, snack cakes, juices, breakfast cereals, and potato chips.
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A diet jam-packed with processed food can be the reason behind your long-term pain. The conventional western diet, including a high intake of red meat, sweets, French fries, desserts and refined grains, is strongly associated with high amounts of inflammatory markers.
Processed foods are also rich in trans fats which also play a major role in causing inflammation.
Because of this reason, it is wise to cut down the daily intake of processed foods, especially if you suffer from painful conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis.
8. Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils such as soy, safflower, corn, and cottonseed oils are a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are said to be a huge part of the American diet. The normal ration between the omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids in a diet must be 3:1.
In western diet, the ratio is greatly disturbed and has been calculated to be 20:1.
Omega-6 fatty acids are capable of inducing inflammation and pain. It can limit your functionality and pain sensitivity while causing distress.
So, if you are a sufferer of chronic pain, start paying attention to what you eat in addition to relying on analgesics right now.