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This summer has been really busy. Between the kids being home from school, work, going on vacation, summer camps, holidays and the hundreds of other little things that have to happen it seems like there hasn’t been a minute to spare.
So as usual, the first thing to fall by the wayside has been our diet.
Instead of eating nutritious, home-cooked meals, we’ve been ordering out more and more. And, the people at the drive-thru have started to recognize us…
And, you know what? I can feel it!
I can feel it in my gut… I can feel it in my back… In my head… I feel it all over my body.
That’s because the food you eat can literally make you hurt. If you’ve been in pain like me, here are seven foods that could be at fault:
#1 – Gluten
Although not really a specific food itself, gluten is responsible for a lot of pain. If you haven’t heard of it before, gluten is actually a protein that’s found in grains, like wheat, barley and rye.
So, it’s in the bread you eat, the beer you drink and the cereal you have for breakfast.
If you’re sensitive to gluten, like I am, even a little bit of it can cause you big problems. It can cause stomach pain, headaches, back pain, diarrhea and even nausea.
#2 – Junk food
They may be easy but all those processed convenience foods can add up to huge pain for you. In fact, studies have shown that a diet packed with processed foods leads to high levels of inflammation, something we all know is a big contributor to pain.
#3 – Trans fats
What are those you ask?
Well, trans fats are basically partially hydrogenated oils. In other words, they’re what companies stick in foods when they don’t want to use good fats like butter and coconut oil. So, make sure to look at the package ingredients for “trans fats.”
You’ll find them in biscuits, pie crusts, frozen pizza, cookies, stick margarines, snack cakes and more.
#4 – Vegetable oil
Now, the body needs a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, but the standard American diet is far too heavy in omega-6s.
Avoid sunflower, safflower, corn, soy and cottonseed oils.
Choose coconut oil, avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil.
#5 – Dairy
Did you know that up to 75 percent of people are unable to digest the lactose in dairy products? And you can suddenly develop lactose intolerance.
If you’re one of these people, eating dairy could be contributing to your pain and you wouldn’t even know it.
If you don’t want to give up milk completely, you can switch from cow’s milk to coconut milk. It tastes great and you can even get flavors like vanilla or cinnamon.
#6 – Luncheon meats
That luncheon meat on your sandwich and the bacon you ate at breakfast could also be contributing to your pain problems.
You see, MSG (you know that food ingredient you think of when you order Chinese food) is commonly found in processed meats like those deli and breakfast meats. And, it is known to trigger two pathways that cause chronic inflammation.
Related: The cancer in your sandwich
#7 – Sugars
You may love a sweet treat but you’re body doesn’t. That’s because sugar causes your body to release cytokines, inflammatory messengers, that amp up your pain signals.
Over and over again studies show that sugar metabolites — foods, like carbohydrates that metabolize to sugars — cause protein damage, abnormal cell signaling (like increased inflammation), increased stress responses and DNA damage.
Your diet and your pain are two sides of the same coin. If you want to control your pain, keep your diet clean and avoid the foods that trigger your pain.
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- Major dietary patterns are related to plasma concentrations of markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction — The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- Dietary intake of trans fatty acids and systemic inflammation in women — The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- Omega-6: Omega-3 PUFA Ratio, Pain, Functioning, and Distress in Adults With Knee Pain — The Clinical Journal of Pain
- Lactose intolerance: diagnosis, genetic, and clinical factors — Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology
- Prescribing Optimal Nutrition and Physical Activity as “First-Line” Interventions for Best Practice Management of Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation Associated with Osteoarthritis: Evidence Synthesis — Arthritis
- 8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation — Arthritis Foundation