Do you sometimes feel like your chronic pain becomes worse after eating certain foods? As a matter of fact, research studies have demonstrated that eating several types of foods can trigger an inflammatory response in the human body. And we all know that inflammation can be one of the primary causes for your chronic pain flare-ups. Before we discuss the foods that can cause inflammation and the foods that can fight against inflammation, let’s discuss what is inflammation and how you can measure inflammation.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the immune system’s natural defense mechanism. It functions by protecting the human body from injury, illness, and infection. Inflammation helps to maintain overall health and wellness. Allergic reactions can also result in inflammation. When you’re injured or you have an infection, you can see symptoms of inflammation: or swollen, red, and hot spots. However, inflammation may occur seemingly without a cause. The ideal way to diagnose inflammation is to measure specific biomarkers through blood tests.
The C-reactive protein, or CRP, a substance produced by the liver, is one of the best biomarkers of inflammation. CRP levels increase as inflammation increases, therefore, you can know a lot about what’s happening inside your own body by looking at your CRP levels. According to the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a CRP concentration of under 1.0 mg/L suggests a low risk for heart issues; between 1.0 to 3.0 mg/L suggests an average risk for heart issues; and over 3.0 mg/L suggests a high risk for heart issues. Substantial levels of CRP (greater than 10 mg/L) may also suggest a risk of developing other health issues.
Other biomarkers like activated monocytes, cytokines, chemokines, various adhesion molecules, adiponectin, fibrinogen, and serum amyloid alpha, are other biomarkers which can be measured through blood tests to diagnose inflammation. Inflammatory responses consist of sympathetic activity, oxidative stress, nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kB) activation, and proinflammatory cytokine production.
White blood cells play an important part in the human body’s immune system. Every time a bacteria or virus enters the bloodstream, the white blood cells, or leukocytes, recognize and destroy the foreign invaders. You might believe that an increased white blood cell count may be beneficial since white blood cells fight infection, however, this may not necessarily be the case. An increased white blood cell count may indicate the presence of another health issue, although a large white blood cell count is not a problem itself.
Foods that Cause Inflammation
Not surprisingly, the same types of foods which can cause inflammation are also generally considered to be bad for our health, such as refined carbohydrates, and sodas as well as red meat, and processed meats. Inflammation is an important underlying mechanism which has been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, among other health issues.
Unhealthy foods also contribute to weight gain, which is itself a risk factor for inflammation. In several research studies, even after researchers took obesity into account, the connection between inflammation and these foods remained, which suggests that weight gain is not a cause of inflammation. Some foods have an increased effect on inflammation and increased caloric consumption.
Foods that can cause inflammation include:
- Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- Sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks
- Red meat like burgers and steaks as well as processed meat like hot dogs and sausage
- Margarine, shortening, and lard
Foods that Fight Against Inflammation
Alternatively, there are foods that fight against inflammation, and with it, chronic disease. Certain fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens, are high in polyphenols and antioxidants, which are components that may have anti-inflammatory effects. Research studies also have associated nuts with reduced biomarkers of inflammation and a decreased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Coffee may protect against inflammation, as well. Choose anti-inflammatory foods and you could improve your overall health and wellness. Choose inflammatory foods and you might increase the risk of inflammation and chronic pain.
Foods that can fight against inflammation include:
- Olive oil
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines
- Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
Healthcare professionals are learning that one of the greatest ways to reduce inflammation is found. not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator. An anti-inflammatory diet can ultimately help reduce the human body’s inflammatory response. The immune system triggers inflammation to protect the human body from injury, illness, and infection. But if inflammation continues, it can cause a variety of health issues, including chronic pain symptoms. Research studies have demonstrated that certain food can influence the effects of inflammation in the human body.Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight
To reduce inflammation, focus on following an overall healthier diet. If you’re looking for an anti-inflammatory diet, consider following the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and oils. The Longevity Diet Plan, presented in the book by Dr. Valter Longo, also eliminates foods which can cause inflammation, promoting well-being and longevity. Fasting, or caloric restriction, has long been known to decrease oxidative stress and slow down the mechanisms of aging in various organisms.
And if fasting is not for you, Dr. Valter Longo’s longevity diet plan also includes the fasting mimicking diet, or FMD, which allows you to experience the benefits of traditional fasting without depriving your body of food. The main difference of the FMD is that instead of eliminating all food for several days or even weeks, you only restrict your calorie intake for five days out of the month. The FMD can be practiced once a month to help promote overall health and wellness as well as to help reduce inflammation and chronic pain.
While anyone can follow the FMD on their own, Dr. Valter Longo offers the ProLon® fasting mimicking diet, a 5-day meal program which has been individually packed and labeled to serves the foods you need for the FMD in precise quantities and combinations. The meal program consists of ready-to-eat and easy-to-prepare, plant-based foods, including bars, soups, snacks, supplements, a drink concentrate, and teas. However, b
In addition to reducing inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, spinal health issues, and functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topic Discussion: Acute Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain attributes to the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. Your spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.
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