When discussing Musculoskeletal Health & Pain Management, it’s essential to begin by defining the inflammatory process … which happens at the very moment of any bodily injury. Inflammation is normal and necessary for healing. If it becomes chronic, this inflammation contributes to long-term illness and early aging. Foods affects these changes, those that fight damaging inflammation and those that create unhealthy inflammation.
At the time of injury, the involved area is flooded by nourishing blood and special cells that combat infection and remove wastes. This influx of fluids causes the typical swelling, pain and redness. The body’s response is to trigger a sequence of events in the immune system that generates systemic stimulation and a release of requisite proteins.
Sometimes that stimulus continues. Should this occur, inflammation leads to a myriad of longstanding, severe ailments: chronic and recurrent pain in the musculoskeletal system, deterioration of healthy tissues, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Therefore, it is imperative that your current diet contain anti-inflammatory food sources, as they have been proven to impact how you feel, move and withstand the rate of degenerative changes.
Decrease Inflammation & Rebuild Musculoskeletal & Neuromuscular Tissues
First we must identify pro-inflammatory foods and eliminate them from your diet, while simultaneously increasing anti-inflammatory foods and supplements that improve both musculoskeletal and neurological functioning.
- Pro-inflammatory Foods – Exacerbate or worsen inflammation.
- Anti-inflammatory Foods – Reduce system-wide pain.
- Anti-inflammatory Supplements – Provide additional nutrients.
- Joint Cartilage & Soft-Tissue Rebuilding Supplements – Reconstruct joint cartilage and soft tissue, aid in tendonitis and improve bone density.
- Brain & Abdominal Supplements – Increase cognitive and gastrointestinal functionality.
Pro-inflammatory Foods to Avoid
With an anti-inflammatory-filled diet, the body naturally eliminates pro-inflammatory foods and substances because they’re not as satisfying as whole foods. A prime suspect is the combination of saturated and trans-fatty acids. Found in processed foods, these fats cause inflammation and increase risk factors for obesity, diabetes and heart conditions. Those same foods are also likely to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which are necessary … but only to an extent.
In excess and with imbalance, omega-3 and omega-6 fats actually produce inflammation. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports, “The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.”
Simple refined sugars and carbohydrates are more inflammation-causing culprits. Limiting refined grains is also an important factor in an anti-inflammatory diet. Whole grains should replace the refined carbohydrates, as true whole grains are integral to proper nutrition. Sourcing these grains as fermented sourdough allows the nutrients to be broken down and better serve the body’s needs.
Finally, establishing a regular routine of physical activity prevents the buildup or return of systemic inflammation. An active life — fueled by fresh anti-inflammatory foods and unrestricted by processed and toxic compounds — will set you on the path toward being free from inflammation.
Often referred to in research articles as ‘the western dietary pattern,” these irritants include:
Foods to Feel Frail & Ail
- Refined Grains
- Cattle & high-fat dairy
- Hydrogenated fats
- Red meat
- Processed or cured meat
- Vegetable oils
- Food additives
- Sweets & desserts
- Baked goods: Breads, rolls, cakes, muffins, cookies and cornbread
- Soft drinks
- Cereals [except oatmeal]
- Snack or fast food
Anti-inflammatory Foods to Consume
Heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, arthritis, acid reflux, bacterial or viral infections, candidiasis and acne can all be signs of chronic, low-grade inflammation in the body. This considered a leading cause of premature aging, joint degeneration and disease. There are many foods that naturally fight inflammation, creating a reduction in this destructive and disease-promoting inflammatory cascade. To bring your body back into balance, consider these anti-inflammatory foods and their properties:
- Fermented Foods & Liquids – Probiotic drinks build immunity and control infections.
- Broccoli – High in Vitamin C and calcium. Fights eye inflammation.
- Hemp Oil – Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and contain gamma-linoleic acid.
- Wild-Caught Salmon – Leading source of beneficial omega-3s. Includes fatty fish [cod and sardines].
- Tart Cherries – Ten times more powerful than aspirin as an anti-inflammatory.
- Soaked Walnuts – Abundant Vitamin E and heart-healthy omega-3s. Soak in advance for digestive ease.
- Onions – Naturally potent antioxidant quercetin.
- Garlic – Contains sulfur compounds that stimulate the immune system to fight disease.
- Pineapple – Provides antioxidant and immunity-boosting bromelain.
- Spinach – Supplies Vitamin E and carotenoids.
- Ginger & Turmeric – Consists of ancient spice compounds. Known to decrease arthritic pain.
Foods to Feel Alive & Thrive
- Fermented Foods & Liquids
- Hemp Oil
- Wild-Caught Salmon
- Tart Cherries
- Soaked Walnuts
- Ginger & Tumeric
- Seeds [Chia & Flax]
- Red Peppers
- Dark Chocolate
- Black Beans
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Almonds & Nuts
- Coconut Oil
- Bone Broth
Your knowledge is power. Your diet is a conscious choice. Your health is dependent on it.