3 Nutritional Steps to Tame the Flame
3 Nutritional Steps to Tame the Flame
It’s Pain Awareness Month, so we’re all about supporting you with any ailments you might have. While we’d like to be able to mend all of your aches, throbs, and twinges, much of what we do is about empowering YOU to discover how to be the source of your very own relief and comfort.
Nearly all forms of pain -muscle aches, arthritis, headaches, fibromyalgia pain, digestive disturbances, to name a few- are associated with inflammation. While we may not realize it, our lifestyle choices may very well be contributing to the “fire.” One important aspect is the food that we eat. Nutrition may not always be the source of pain; however, it can certainly promote inflammation. Whether your pain is brief or lasting, minor or severe, ensure that your dietary choices aren’t feeding (literally) the “fire”— follow these 3 steps to “tame the flame.”
Step 1: Eliminate “Fire Feeders”
We’ll keep this one short and sweet (okay, maybe we’ll skip the “sweet”) as a simple reminder: Avoid added sugars, refined grains, grain-fed meats, trans and saturated fats, vegetable oils, alcohol, excessive caffeine (sorry, all you coffee lovers), processed foods, and food additives. These choices are proinflammatory and tend to exacerbate our aches and pains.
We’d also like to highlight a particular additive, carrageenan, as it can often be quite inconspicuous (we’ve even found it hiding in “organic” products at our favorite health food stores, drats!). Carrageenan is a thickener or emulsifying agent found in numerous foods such as yogurts, ice cream, whipped cream, and dairy substitutes like almond and coconut milks. Several studies outline its inflammatory effects as well as link the additive to inflammatory bowel disease (no fun!). Keep carrageenan in mind as you scan food labels for the more common food additives.
Step 2: Incorporate “Fire Fighters”
We know that our bodies run best on natural, real food; however, as we are faced with daily choices, it may be helpful to have a nutritional outline at top-of-mind. A Mediterranean-style diet, which indeed adheres to a whole foods pattern, is often recommended for the reduction of inflammation (and chronic disease prevention in general). Its staples are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and olive oil, with the main source of protein as fish and seafood. One of the most widely-researched diets, numerous studies validate benefits such as inflammation reduction and disease prevention.
What makes the Medi-style approach so beneficial? It is high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber while low in sugar and saturated fats. Additionally, the polyphenols have received quite a bit of “press” as these plant compounds are packed with antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation-inducing oxidative stress in the body. These “treasures” can be found in foods such as vegetables, berries, green tea, flaxseed, black olives and extra virgin olive oil. The omega-3 fatty acids are also featured as they are uber powerful inflammation-inhibitors! Befriend omega-3’s with foods like flaxseed, chia seeds, nuts, and coldwater fish such as whitefish, salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring.
Work Tips: Consider ordering or packing a salmon or tuna lunch at least two days a week, pairing the protein with lots of greens. Replace any refined grains with brown rice or quinoa and when you opt for a salad, use olive oil for dressing. Time for a snack break? Grab a green tea and a handful of walnuts, pecans, olives, or berries. May olive your day be healthy and pain-free!
Note: Talk to the docs about supplements/herbs such as omega-3 fish oil, grape seed extract, ginger root, and turmeric.
Step 3: Identify Food Sensitivities
Remember that we each have our own unique biochemistry - there’s no “one-size-fits-all” diet that’s suitable for everyone. In fact, up to 10 to 20 percent of us have unique food sensitivities which can ignite or aggravate inflammation, amplifying our pains. Real quick: A food sensitivity should not be confused with a food allergy or intolerance. A sensitivity doesn’t lead to an immediate reaction; rather, it is often difficult to detect as symptoms may be delayed, sometimes arising even a few days after consumption. Pain-related symptoms of a food sensitivity might include chronic headaches or migraines, muscle and joint pain, arthritis, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
We suggest an elimination diet to help identify the foods that might be contributing to any ailments you have. The most common foods associated with sensitivities are dairy products, eggs, corn, gluten, wheat, pork, beef and citrus; however, almost any food can be a culprit. In fact, many people with arthritis and joint pain are sensitive to nightshade vegetables— tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. (You can ^almost never go wrong with vegetables!)
Learn more about nutritional considerations for common health conditions such as headaches, arthritis/joint pain, IBS/digestive issues, and fibromyalgia.
Managing stress may also help ease your ailments.
Check out the article below for pain relief and de-stressing!
The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. The contents of this web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on any exercise, medication, nutrition, or supplementation.