In previous posts, I discussed “smoking joints“, and how mechanical stress like whiplash, sports and work can cause inflammation and scar tissue to wear out your joints.

The truth is inflammation is really about chemistry. It’s the chemicals released by our bodies that determines the extent of the inflammation we experience. Too much, and we get increased pain and more scar tissue. Too little, and proper healing may not occur. Joint degeneration, heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disease all have one thing in common; inflammation.

What causes inflammation to get out of hand?

Really, it has a lot to do with your diet. The foods you eat can either contribute to the heat of inflammation or cool things down with anti-inflammation. It’s like your shower at home. The perfect balance of hot and cold is necessary to get the temperature just right.

Here are some foods that can either be hot water or cold water to your pain and inflammation. Reducing the temperature may be a matter of adding more cold water or turning down the hot water.

Cold Water:

Omega 3 Fish Oil: Fish and wild game (not corn-fed farm raised animals) contain these essential fats which keep inflammation in check. Fish, Fish Oil and Free Range Animal Meat; keep these on the menu or it will be like turning on the hot water without adding any cold. Ouch!

Eat The Rainbow: No, not like Skittles. Like fruits and vegetables. Fruits like papaya, pineapple and mango contain anti-inflammatory nutrients. Other colorful fruit contain antioxidants (more on antioxidants and free radicals later) and other nutrients which keep inflammation in check. Freeze the fruit and blend with some orange juice (Vit. C and Ca++), Acai juice (antioxidants) or Coconut Milk (Omega 3’s!!!). Or, grill some WILD salmon and make a mango salsa!…Bam!

Oil That Won’t Damage Your Environment:  Not all oils are made equal. Some will increase pain and inflammation, while others reduce it. EVOO (Extra-Virgin Olive Oil) should be your cooking oil of choice. Coconut Oil goes great with this French Toast Recipe. For flavor-neutral, try canola oil (expeller-pressed). If these are the Cold Water oils, Cottonseed, Corn, Sunflower and mixed Vegetable oils are the Hot Water. Don’t let your cooking oil become your lake of fire!

Hot Water:

Omega 6 Oils: You are what you eat. Because our beef is primarily fed corn and soy, they no longer contain the Omega 3’s we need. So, beef and most poultry contain mostly Omega 6 Oils; Omega 3’s evil twin. We need Omega 6 oils to survive, but due to the way we farm, the average American has 14X what they need. Way Too Much Hot Water! Turn it down by switching to bison meat, or purchasing free range and grass-fed meats online or at your local farmer’s market.

Insulin: This hormone is like adding napalm to the fire. Insulin is released in your blood as a result of ingesting sugar. High Fructose Corn Syrup and Bread, are most Americans’ primary sources of sugar. Eating these and other foods high on the glycemic index, makes your pancreas squirt insulin into your blood stream like a fire hydrant. Except this fire hydrant sprays gasoline! Become familiar with the glycemic index and which foods are fanning the fire of inflammation. Insulin is also a major player in weight management. If you’re overweight, you’ve got inflammation. Weight + Inflammation = “smoking joints”.

MSG: We often think of MSG (mono-sodium glutamate) as something in Asian food. But the truth is most popular canned soups, chips, crackers, beef-ish products contain MSG. MSG has over 90 pseudonyms including being simply being called “spices” on the ingredients list. Glutamate is the “G” in MSG and is the #1 nerve transmitter for pain and is also included in Nutrasweet/Equal/Aspartame/Most “diet” or “lite” “foods”. Studies have linked glutamate to migraine headache and fibromyalgia sufferers as it’s found in higher concentrations in their spinal fluid. Eating glutamate is like taking a pill that makes pain worse. The best way to avoid this nasty drug is simply to avoid most snacks that come in a box, bag or can. Fresh and Easy and Sunflower Market both have plenty of MSG-FREE alternatives.

Ask me about how to include more Cold Water and less Hot Water in your diet so you can turn down the temperature on pain and inflammation on your next visit.
IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC