Hooray! The holiday season is here full of love, cheer, and foods you may not often consume on a day-to-day basis. One thing people may not know or understand, is certain foods can cause immediate inflammation, or swelling, after consumption. The inflammation will lead to pain in specific regions causing discomfort. The following are commonly consumed foods that increase inflammation:
Processed sugars - Excess amounts of sugar in your body, also known as glucose, can increase pro-inflammatory messengers in your body. Processed sugars can be found in guilty pleasures such as soda, snack bars, candy, baked sweets, and coffee drinks. Examples of healthier alternatives to processed sugar are items containing agave nectar, date sugar, pure honey, and coconut sugar. Other sweet alternatives include fruits such as oranges, strawberries, and blueberries.
Refined flour - Refined wheat flours digest quickly due to the lack of nutritional value. Ultimately, such grains have a high inflammatory marker that can be found in your bloodstream. Refined wheat flour can be found in foods such as crackers, pizza, pasta, pretzels, or bagels. In order to avoid refined flours, try a gluten-free diet with items containing non-wheat flours.
Conventional grain-fed meats - Chicken, cattle, and pigs are given a grain-fed diet with corn and soy products in order to gain weight faster. Due to their diet, you are consuming an increased amount of saturated fats and omega-6’s that increase inflammation. Instead, a healthier option would be consuming grass-fed meats as a form of protein and utilizing lemon juice over the meat as an antioxidant.
Transitioning into healthier eating habits can be a great option to decreasing pain and increasing your quality of life. Having a healthier overall lifestyle also has a greater impact on a quicker recovery in physical therapy. Feel free to try the alternatives we have presented you with for the holiday season and everyday living!