By Nancy Mehlert MS
Edited by Mila McManus MD
It’s very common that headaches, joint and muscle pain can be caused from the foods we are eating. Therefore, it is well worth the effort to practice some food elimination tests to find out if you are reacting to foods. Usually the pain response is reflective of inflammation and/or a food allergy. When we trigger elevated insulin levels from the foods we eat, we are also stimulating inflammatory prostaglandin production, leading to inflammation and pain.
Here are the key adjustments to make in your diet if you want to relieve chronic pain as well as provide the healthiest environment for wellness:
What to eliminate or dramatically reduce:
- Sugar, in all forms. Sources include fructose from fruit, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, corn syrup, dextrose and maltodextrin. Check out any ingredient list such as food bars, protein powders, every bottled or canned beverage, portions of fruit, condiments such as BBQ sauces, salad dressings and ketchup, wine, alcoholic beverages and even uncured meats. Look closely, as you may be surprised at what you find. And think in terms of cumulative amount and effect. Sugar is sneaky.
- Grains, and most commonly wheat and other gluten/gliadin containing grain,s as well rice and corn are fast digesting carbohydrates which convert mostly to glucose, thus elevating blood sugar and insulin levels which stimulate inflammatory pathways. Hence, pain.
- Processed foods – sugar, grains, chemicals, damaged fats are all inflammatory contributors to pain and bad for us in a myriad of ways. Migrate to, and stick with, a whole food diet.
What to Eat
- Be sure to eat plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids including Pacific wild salmon, anchovies, and sardines as well as fresh ground flax, hemp seed, chia seed, and grass fed butter or ghee. There is also an oil found in fish and dairy butter (grass fed butter or ghee is optimal) called CMO, which stands for Cetyl Myristoleate. It acts as a “joint lubricant” and has anti-inflammatory effects as well.
- Include fresh herbs and spices. Curcumin/turmeric, ginger and many peppers have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Include plenty of fresh vegetables
- Consider collagen sources in bone broth, protein powders and as supplements which can support joint and gut health to reduce inflammation and pain. We carry protein powders in vanilla and chocolate flavors with beef collagen in them and can also recommend how to make or buy high quality bone broth.