Still waiting for all that heavy extra-bad eating you did during this Thanksgiving holiday to settle? Yeah, me too.
Often patients will ask why their inflammation doesn’t seem to subside quick enough, or why they are SO inflamed! For some of our patients, the inflammation remains fairly persistent even after reasonable methods to combat the inflammation have been attempted (i.e. icing, anti-inflammatory medications like Advil or Aleve, rest, compression therapy). Consideration to inquire about our patient’s diet habits is something factored in at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists. After all, as the old saying goes, you are what you eat!
Nutrition CAN affect inflammation in your feet and your body in general! Certain foods CAN increase chemicals in your body that cause tissue inflammation. This inflammation can appear as Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis in your foot. It’s important to be aware of the food types that can elevate the inflammation in your body to avoid unnecessarily prolonged inflammation.
Inflammatory Food Categories
These foods have been linked to obesity, increased risks of numerous diseases, and even death in some cases.
1. Sugar: Sugar is everywhere. Excessive sugar intake causes tooth decay and has been linked to increased risks of obesity, inflammation, and chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Sugar-sweetened foods and beverages include soft drinks, fruit drinks, punches, pastries, desserts, candies, and snacks. Other aliases for sugar include: corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, golden syrup, maltose, sorghum syrup, and sucrose are some of the creative names used.
2. Common Cooking Oils: Safflower, soy, sunflower, corn, and cottonseed. These oils promote inflammation and are made with cheaper ingredients.
3. Trans Fats: Trans fats increase bad cholesterol, promote inflammation, obesity, and resistance to insulin. They are in fried foods, fast foods, commercially baked goods, such as peanut butter, and items prepared with partially hydrogenated oil, margarine, and vegetable oil.
4. Dairy: While kefir and some yogurts are acceptable, dairy is hard on the body. Milk is a common allergen that can trigger inflammation, stomach problems, skin rashes, hives and even breathing difficulties. Foods with hidden dairy content include breads, cookies, crackers, cakes, cream sauces, and boxed cereals.
5. Feedlot-Raised Meat: Animals who are fed with grains like soy and corn contain high inflammation. These animals also gain excess fat and are injected with hormones and antibiotics. Unless otherwise stated, most, if not all, beef, pork, and poultry you can find in the supermarkets and restaurants come from feedlot farms. Always opt for organic, free-range meats that have been fed natural diets.
6. Red and Processed Meat: Researchers found that red meat contains a molecule that humans don’t naturally produce called Neu5Gc. After ingesting this compound, the body develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies – an immune response that may trigger a chronic inflammatory response. And low-grade simmering inflammation that won’t go away has been linked to cancer and heart disease.
Processed meat has been stated as a convincing cause of cancers of the colon and rectum, and possibly esophagus and lung cancer too. Processed meat includes animal product that has been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.
Common red meats are beef, lamb, and pork, while processed meat includes hams, sausages, and salami.
7. Alcohol: Regular consumption of alcohol causes irritation and inflammation to numerous organs, which can lead to cancer.
8. Refined Grains: "Refined" products have no fiber and have a high glycemic index. Refined grains are white rice, white flour, white bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits, and pastries. To make things worse, many products with refined grains undergo further processing to enhance their taste and look, and are often loaded with excess sugar, salt, artificial flavors, and/or partially hydrogenated oil in the process. A prime example is boxed cereals that contain substantial amounts of added sugar and flavorings.
9. Artificial Food Additives: Aspartame and MSG are two common food additives that can trigger inflammation responses, especially in people who are already suffering from inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Beware of them in packaged foods and in certain Asian cuisines.
10. Food Intolerance: Many people are sensitive to a certain food but are totally unaware of it. Symptoms related to food intolerance can include but are not limited to tiredness, fatigue, and headaches. Typical food allergy symptoms usually come fast and furious. However, symptoms caused by food intolerance take a longer time to manifest. Repeated, long-term exposure to food that irritates can cause inflammation and lead to chronic diseases.
Common food allergens are gluten, milk, nuts, eggs, and nightshade vegetables. Contrary to common belief, it is possible to develop an allergy to the foods that you eat often.
So now that you have a better idea of inflammatory foods, be aware, the Christmas goodies are upon us next.
Let’s get you ready for the holidays on a good foot (2 good feet that is!)