According to The Journal of Pain, 31 percent of adult Americans have chronic pain.
Could it be caused by foods that trigger pain and inflammation?
Well according to a 2017 study found in PubMed almost 25% of those who were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis found that their diet impacted the severity of their pain symptoms.
And it’s all tied to inflammation.
Foods that cause inflammation are foods that trigger pain.
In fact, foods that cause inflammation have a profound effect upon the health of Americans since 70% of all deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. And all of these diseases share a common link:
5 Most Common Foods That Trigger Pain and Inflammation
There are more than 5 foods that trigger pain and inflammation. But these 5 foods would be the most common. We’ll discuss each in more detail but here are the big 5:
Dairy and Soy Milk
Vegetable Oils – I’ve placed this first because it’s one of the leading causes of inflammation, which then triggers pain. Vegetable oils include corn, safflower, cottonseed, and soybean. It’s estimated that 20% of your total caloric intake comes from soybean oil, which is used in processed foods to help maintain shelf life and stability.
And here’s the main reason why vegetable oils are such a factor in creating inflammation that leads to pain:
Lopsided Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio
Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory. Omega-3 fatty acids have the unique ability to reduce inflammation.
The ideal ratio is 1:1 or 2:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. However, in the standard American diet this ration is 20:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
And the main reason why this is such an issue is that omega-6 fatty acids are easily oxidized, which then promotes free radicals in your body. Free radicals increase inflammation, which then leads to chronic inflammation because of your over consumption of vegetable oils.
So why are vegetable oils so heavily pushed by the medical community? Because they help reduce total cholesterol, which is suppose to protect you from heart disease. Unfortunately the statistics do not support this since 75% of heart attack patients have a lipid panel that would not indicate they are at a high risk for heart attack.
And while it’s true that vegetable oils help reduce total cholesterol, they also increase the amount of very low density lipoproteins, which cause most vascular inflammation that then leads to plaque formation.
If this were not bad enough, emerging science in the area of the microbiome or gut health is showing that vegetable oils actually disrupt your gut health and suppress your immune system. This is significant since 80% of your immune system is dependent upon a proper and healthy gut mircobiome.
Plus vegetable oils are a contributing factor in creating a “leaky gut” which allows more toxins to enter your bloodstream. This results in inflammation throughout the body and the resulting pain symptoms.
Processed Foods – The average American diet contains a large amount of processed foods. One study estimated that 58 percent of the total energy intake was from processed foods.
Processed foods would be convenience foods, snacks, sodas, juices, breakfast cereals, all types of chips, and many of the fast food items consumed on a daily basis.
A Harvard Medical School study found that the traditional Western diet was associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers that then aggravated pain levels in conditions like arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
I’ll come back to process foods at the end of this post to help drive home why this is such a big factor in foods that trigger pain.
Sugar – This ingredient has already been linked to a whole host of diseases from cancer to diabetes to heart disease. And with the emerging science of the microbiome, it’s now clear that sugar has a significant influence on your gut microbial communities.
Sugar is fuel for a microbial community called Firmicutes. When this microbial community dominates your gut health the following conditions occur:
As well as weight gain that leads many to become either overweight or obese.
Wheat/Gluten – I’ve coupled these two items together because wheat is associated with gluten. And while some people have no issues with gluten, while others are impacted from mild sensitivities to issues like Celiac disease, modern day wheat has a whole host of health issues.
In his book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, he lists the following health concerns heavily influenced by modern day wheat:
Negative effect on brain chemistry
Negative effect on intestinal health
Significantly contributes to obesity issues
Significantly contributes to diabetes
Negative impact on maintaining a proper pH balance
Significantly contributes to cataracts, wrinkles, and the aging process
And with a glycemic index higher than table sugar, modern day wheat is one of the foods that trigger pain because of the amount of inflammation it causes throughout your whole body.
Dairy and Soy Milk – I’ve coupled these two together because many people who have allergies and/or sensitivities to dairy will opt for soy milk as a replacement.
Unsweetened almond milk would be a better replacement but let’s look at why dairy and soy milk are foods that trigger pain and inflammation.
When born most people have the ability to digest lactose, which is the main sugar found in cow’s milk. Unfortunately, as we age about 75% of us lose this ability. When we lose this ability to properly digest lactose, we increase our probability for inflammation and chronic pain.
For many the alternative is soy milk. Most soy milk contains phytic acid, which impairs nutrient absorption and can irritate the gut lining helping to contribute to a leaky gut.
And as we’ve mention earlier, a leaky gut allows toxins to enter the bloodstream. These toxins lodge throughout the body resulting in inflammation and chronic pain.
Concluding Thoughts on Foods That Trigger Pain
I want to come back to processed foods. The next time you eat any fast food item or packaged food product I want you to look at the product ingredient list. If you do, then you’ll most likely find the following ingredients:
Some Type of Vegetable Oil
Some Type of Dairy or Soy Component
This is why many of the processed foods today trigger pain and inflammation. And if you’re suffering, then you need to make changes in your diet to eliminate these triggers to inflammation and pain.
That is another post on how to effectively do just that.
Or click here for my Purify Manual, which will help you learn how to replace foods that trigger pain with healing foods to eliminate pain and inflammation.