If you suffer from chronic pain, you know how detrimental it can be to your quality of life. Taking care of yourself is essential, and what you eat can play a huge role in how you feel.
Luckily, there are plenty of foods that can help ease your everyday aches, but there are also some you should avoid. If you have chronic physical pain, these everyday foods may be making things worse.
Your morning cup of coffee may be hindering your health. | Christopher Jue/Getty Images
You may get a brief boost from your morning cup (or cups) of coffee, but it does more harm than good in the long run if you have a condition like fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The inadequate sleep and fatigue caffeine can cause will only make things worse.
Next: This sweetener is linked to all kinds of diseases.
This substance is never a good thing to put in your body. | iStock.com/chokja
Sugar has been linked to diabetes and other diseases for decades. But new research indicates it’s an even bigger health risk than we previously thought, and the chronic inflammation it causes can lead to many joint-related aches and pains.
Next: If your food lives an unhealthy life, you probably will too.
Factory farmed meat
Make sure it’s organic. | Bit245/iStock/Getty Images
Most conventionally raised meat, poultry, and fish live very unhealthy, unsanitary lives. They’re given too many antibiotics and hormones, and they’re fed inappropriate foods. The expression “You are what you eat” rings true here, so choose grass-fed beef, pastured poultry and pork, and wild caught fish to avoid making your chronic pain worse.
Next: Believe it or not, not all veggies are your friends.
Even though veggies like tomatoes and eggplant are whole foods, they can still lead to inflammation. | joannagaines via Instagram
Not everyone has to avoid nightshades like tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes. But they can trigger arthritis flare-ups and make some chronic conditions feel worse.
Next: Read on to see why you need to put down the BLT.
Skipping processed meats should be an obvious and easy change to make. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Bacon is delicious, and deli meat is a convenient sandwich option. But processed meat is a highly inflammatory food, full of nitrates and preservatives that will wreak havoc on your body.
Next: You may want to order a soda water at your next happy hour.
Limit the amount you drink. | Bogdanhoda/Getty images
A drink now and then probably isn’t a big deal, but if you regularly consume multiple alcoholic beverages in a single evening, it causes an inflammatory response in your body that increases your risk of developing a disease. Unfortunately, it’s common for people with chronic pain to self-medicate with alcohol and unknowingly make their conditions worse.
Next: This is tough to stay away from, but you’ll notice a difference in how you feel if you do.
You may have to reduce your dairy consumption. | baibaz/Getty Images
Cheese is a tough addiction to break, but eating a lot of dairy can make conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, gout, lupus, and back pain worse. If you can’t live without it, at least drastically reduce your consumption of butter, milk, and cheese.
Next: This artificial sweetener is just plain toxic.
When consumed in mass quantities, aspartame can be truly dangerous to your health. | oceane2508/Getty Images
The more we learn about aspartame and the controversial way it was approved by the FDA, the more we learn how dangerous it is when consumed in mass quantities. The fact that a condition called aspartame-induced fibromyalgia exists should tell you everything you need to know.
Next: Here’s why you should choose your sandwiches carefully.
Choose whole grains whenever possible. | iStock.com/SasaJo
You might prefer the taste of white brain to whole grains, but it can bloat your belly and cause weight gain fast. It’s also full of preservatives, gluten, and sugar, which may contribute to chronic pain.
Next: Read on to see which oil could be causing you pain.
Try olive oil rather than canola. | 8vFanI/Getty Images
Canola oil is one of the most popular cooking oils in America, if you use it regularly, it’s definitely contributing to your chronic pain. It’s full of trans fat, which is one of the worst things you can give your body.
Next: This will be a tough food to give up, but your body will thank you.
As delicious as they may be, fries don’t do much for your health. | iStock.com/kiboka
Yes, they taste like like pieces of piping hot perfection. But not only are fries made from a nightshade vegetable, but they’re also typically cooked in trans fat oils.
Next: Cut way back on your consumption of these.
Gluten and yeast
Try going gluten free or minimizing your consumption of bread. | Fascinadora/Getty Images
You don’t have to cut gluten and yeast out of your diet entirely, but it should only be consumed sparingly. Regular ingestion of these products stimulates the growth of yeast and fungus in your body, increasing your pain levels.
Next: Don’t be afraid to ask questions the next time you order takeout.
MSG is found in many of your favorite foods. | topthailand/Getty Images
MSG is found naturally in some foods, but it’s the added flavoring often used in Chinese food that could be concerning. Many people complain of headaches and body aches after eating too much of it, and researchers at the University of Aarhus in Denmark found study participants had elevated blood pressure and headaches after ingesting it.
Next: How does your food get its color?
Artificial food dyes
These are totally unnatural and totally unhealthy. | luchschen/Getty Images
Your body isn’t a big fan of foreign substances that feel unnatural. That’s probably why artificial food dyes can cause stomach pain, cramping, and other health issues.
Next: This specific diet has been shown to improve pain levels and ease suffering.
Try the Mediterranean diet
This diet does wonders for your health. | OksanaKiian/Getty Images
If this list has left you wondering what you can eat, consider giving the Mediterranean diet a try. It’s known for being one of the healthiest diets in the world, and since it consists mainly of veggies, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and limited amounts of red meat, carbs, and wine, it can ease your physical aches and pains and may even make you mentally sharper.
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