The Top 8 Pain-Triggering Foods – What Should You Avoid?

a meat and cheese platter next to some wine

The Relationship Between Food and Pain

Before looking at the list of pain-triggering foods, it’s best to understand the relationship between food and pain.

  • Arthritis
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Headaches
  • Food Allergies
  • Gout
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Lupus

These are some of the painful conditions the wrong foods can trigger if a person isn’t careful about his/her diet plan. Thinking about these details is a must when it comes to staying healthy and feeling as safe as possible about one’s food consumption.

In general, the immune system uses “inflammation” to respond to infections and/or injuries. For example, if a person were to get a mosquito bite, the body would swell up (in the bite area) and start to work on correcting it as soon as possible. This is normal, however, some conditions lead the body to continuously react in this manner even when it is unnecessary. The body starts to attack itself assuming there’s something wrong when everything is okay.

When a person eats the wrong food, he/she triggers the immune system and leads to the activation of specific nerve cells. This causes the human body to feel pain throughout the day. In most cases, it has to do with the pain-triggering proteins in these foods.

Our Top 8 Pain-Triggering Foods

1) Alcohol

a cocktail sits on a dimly lit table

Alcohol is noted for its lingering effects (i.e hangovers) but there are other noteworthy pain-related details to ponder over. In general, the average person will be aware of red wine and its positive impact on the human body (in moderation). However, alcohol comes in various forms and can be one of the most severe pain-triggering items on the planet.

It is known for increasing inflammation in the body, weakening the liver, and leading to inflammatory bowel disease. For those who do prefer to drink and have a good time out, it’s best to pay attention to how you are consuming alcohol. This means avoid using sugary mixers.

2) Dairy

At one point or another, at least 75% of all people are unable to digest dairy products and this includes individuals that aren’t lactose intolerant. For anyone that is in this situation, dairy products can result in various triggers including bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, and nausea. Being able to eat dairy products in moderation and/or eliminating them from your diet is a good step and will result in a reduction in pain. If necessary, always feel free to test a dietary change such as this and recognize the differences it has to offer in the long-run.

3) Sugar

Having a sweet tooth might seem like a good idea at the time but is one of the major pain-triggering foods on the planet. This has to do with how it responds to the body and how it is digested. While sugar is associated with heart disease and cancer, there is more to the equation.

An increase in sugar consumption can lead to inflammation and immune system problems. Sugar has also been noted to alter the gut microbiome and therefore has an impact on how food is digested on a day-to-day basis.

It’s always best to reduce the amount of processed sugar that’s consumed during the day.

4) Meat

Red and processed meats are bad for the human body and should only be consumed in moderation. Various studies have been done on this subject and increased consumption can lead to pain. As the intake increases, the amount of chronic pain a person has to deal with is going to amplify as well.

Since some meats are known for being high in purines, this can have a detrimental effect on the body and lead to conditions such as gout. These meats would include bacon, seafood, veal, organ meats, and turkey to name a few.

5) Vegetable Oils

Items such as safflower, corn, soy, and cottonseed oils can lead to chronic pain depending on the amount that is consumed. Based on modern-day studies, the average person consumes more than the recommended amount and tend to welcome pain-related conditions.

Please note, Omega-6 fatty acids are reported for having inflammatory effects on the body. Not only does the amount of pain go up but so does one’s sensitivity to regular pain. Based on a study that was done on vegetable oils such as the ones mentioned above, numerous people noted a change in their knee pain on diets high with these oils.

6) Processed Foods

The average person is well aware of the impact that processed foods can have on the body but are they aware of the pain-triggering effects?

Most people consume over half of their diet in this form whether it is burgers, convenience store munchies, sodas, juices, and more. The list is endless and it can increase inflammation in the body too. A lot of people note a change in painful conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis by eliminating processed foods.

Regardless of one’s response to processed foods, it’s highly recommended to cut down on them as soon as possible.

7) Caffeine

For many people getting up in the morning and going to work is impossible without a mug of coffee in hand. If that is the case, it’s important to understand some of the underlying side effects associated with overconsumption of caffeine especially for those drinking multiple mugs of coffee during the day.

Many people note an increase in headaches when they start to increase their intake of caffeine. A study done on the subject noted people with migraines responded incredibly well to the removal of caffeine from their diets. It was this simple change that made their lives simpler and afforded them the ability to avoid painkillers for the first time.

Please note, caffeine can be found in various items and is not reserved for coffee. It can be found in tea, chocolates, soft drinks, and even ice cream.

8) Gluten

Millions of people prefer to stay on a “gluten-free” diet because of the consequences attached to these items. If you are unable to exclude them from your diet, the medical problems can start to add up over time. In general, gluten refers to a form of protein that is sourced from wheat, rye, and barley. This means it is often found in bread, deli meat, and even salad dressings depending on what type a person purchases. It’s best to keep an eye out for gluten as it can have a detrimental impact on the human body.

Based on medical research, some of the common medical conditions attached to gluten include leaky gut syndrome and general inflammation. Anyone diagnosed with celiac disease will understand the pain caused by gluten and how important it is to avoid these foods at all costs. While continuous research is being completed on gluten, it has been reported to have a profound impact on individuals not diagnosed with celiac disease as well. It’s best to keep this in mind before eating bread, salad dressings, and/or deli meat.

Final Thoughts: The Importance of Testing for Pain

Let’s assume these foods are being consumed and now a person is dealing with some form of chronic pain. The best option moving forward is to test everything and gain a better understanding of how your body responds to specific triggers. For example, if you are noticing pain, does it have to do with your caffeine intake? Perhaps, it has something to do with processed foods? Sugar? Vegetable oils? Meat? The questions have to be asked and it’s best to answer them with appropriate testing.

This is where tweaking your diet plan can bring about positive change and eliminate pain.

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