Pain and Inflammation

Did you know that oftentimes chronic pain and inflammation is from food allergies or sensitivities?  Besides stress that certainly aggravates pain and inflammation, and processed and fried foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, even healthy, whole foods can make people experience pain and fatigue.

Wheat and other gluten-containing grains are at the top of the list. Some people who have a gluten sensitivity are able to eat gluten products in Italy with no adverse effects.  That is because they eat a different type of wheat there known as Einkorn wheat.  Einkorn is the oldest form of wheat cultivated over 10,000 years ago.  It has a higher protein content than any other form of wheat and much better nutrients than the wheat we eat here in the U.S.  The gluten in Einkorn has 14 chromosomes as opposed to modern wheat that has 42.  So the gluten structures of these two different wheat grains are very different.

Here are some common ways food allergies or sensitivities cause or contribute to pain and inflammation:

  1. Triggering immune responses: Some foods, particularly those high in certain proteins like gluten or casein, can trigger immune responses in susceptible individuals. In conditions like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten-containing foods can lead to inflammation in the gut and other parts of the body.
  2. Promoting oxidative stress: Foods high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and processed ingredients can promote oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress leads to the production of free radicals, which can damage cells and tissues, contributing to inflammation and pain.
  1. Imbalance of gut microbiota: The gut microbiota plays a crucial role in regulating inflammation in the body. Consuming a diet high in processed foods, artificial additives, and low in fiber can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to inflammation and increased susceptibility to pain conditions.
  2. Increased production of inflammatory mediators: Some foods contain compounds that promote the production of inflammatory mediators in the body. For example, omega-6 fatty acids, found in high amounts in certain vegetable oils like corn and soybean oil, can promote the synthesis of pro-inflammatory molecules.
  3. Activation of pain pathways: Certain foods contain substances that can directly activate pain pathways in the body. For example, some people are sensitive to histamines found in aged cheeses, fermented foods, and certain alcoholic beverages, which can trigger migraines or other types of headaches.
  4. Exacerbating existing conditions: For individuals with certain inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, consuming foods high in purines (found in red meat, organ meats, and some seafood) or certain nightshade vegetables (like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers) can exacerbate inflammation and pain symptoms.

Identifying the trigger foods through an elimination diet can make a huge difference in your pain and inflammation.  Dairy products – and who doesn’t love cheese! – and eggs are high up on the food sensitivity list too.  Try eliminating one food – I suggest you start with all gluten containing foods — for a couple of weeks and see how your pain is.  You might be surprised!

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