Food is one of life’s necessities and one of life’s greatest pleasures. The right foods nourish your body and soul and can even help heal pain and illnesses. The wrong foods, though, can make everything worse. Here are ten foods to avoid and the foods you should try instead.

Foods to Avoid If You Have Chronic Pain

We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” What fuel we give our bodies to burn affects how we feel and how we function on a metabolic level. If you suffer from any type of chronic condition, knowing what foods to avoid becomes vital to living the best life you can. When you think of diseases that are affected by what you eat, the first things that come to mind are conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol. But what you eat can also have a huge impact on your pain levels if you suffer from any number of chronic debilitating disorders.

Bad Foods for Arthritis Pain

Arthritis involves inflammation in the joints, leading to pain. Bad foods for arthritis pain include those that promote inflammation throughout the body. By removing the following foods from your diet, you can decrease the amount of inflammation in our joints due to arthritis. Among the foods to avoid for joint pain are processed foods, refined grains, sugar, red meat, and high-fat dairy products.

1. Processed foods

Prepackaged meals, snacks, and other processed foods use trans fats as a preservative. Trans fats have been shown to increase inflammation. Avoiding processed foods can help reduce systemic inflammation in your body. To stay away from trans fats and the inflammation that comes along with it, avoid any food that lists partially hydrogenated oils as an ingredient. Whole foods are best for the body, so choose fresh foods instead of processed foods if you have arthritis.

2. Refined grains

Refined grains, including white bread and pasta, trigger a spike in blood sugar levels. These sudden increases in blood glucose levels have been shown to increase the levels of multiple inflammation markers in the body. For those with gluten sensitivities, grains such as wheat, barley and rye can trigger joint pain and inflammation. Avoid refined grains if you suffer from arthritis pain. Choose whole grains instead.

3. Sugar

Refined sugar triggers the release of cytokines. Cytokines are a protein in the body that causes inflammation. Sugar can be found almost everywhere nowadays. In addition to the obvious culprits, such as candy and soda, refined sugar can hide in some surprising places. Be aware that sugar can go by many other names. When reading the ingredient list on any food, keep an eye out for corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, or maltose too.

4. Red Meat

All meat, but especially red meat, is high in saturated fats. Saturated fats are known for causing high cholesterol, but they also cause inflammation, which is bad for people with arthritis. In addition to saturated fats, red meat also contains high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These AGEs can cause inflammation throughout the body.

5. High-fat dairy

Cheese and other high-fat dairy products, such as butter, cream cheese, margarine, and mayonnaise are also foods to avoid for people with arthritis. Like red meat, these products contain high levels of both saturated fats and AGEs, which both promote systemic inflammation.

Back Pain Food to Avoid

Much like arthritis, back pain is driven by underlying inflammation. If you suffer from back pain, you should avoid foods that can increase inflammation within the body. This is also true of any disease process that involves inflammation, such as fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases like lupus. When living with a chronic disease that causes pain due to inflammation, removing these foods from your diet can make all the difference:

  • Processed foods
  • Refined grains
  • Sugar
  • Red meat
  • High-fat dairy products.

Foods to Avoid with Gallbladder Pain

If you suffer from a dysfunctional gallbladder, what you eat has a huge impact on how you feel. Eating the wrong things can leave you downright miserable, so it is essential that you know what foods to avoid. Among the foods you should avoid to minimize gallbladder pains are high-fat meats and dairy, eggs, baked goods, fried foods, and restaurant foods in general.

Diet can directly impact gallbladder pain. Image via Pixabay.

6. High-fat meat and dairy

People with gallbladder problems have a difficult time digesting foods that are high in fat. Eating meat and dairy products that are high in fat can lead to a host of miserable symptoms, including painful abdominal cramps, upset stomach, and vomiting. So when dealing with a faulty gallbladder, avoid foods such as red meat, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, and homogenized milk.

7. Eggs

Another food to avoid when you have gallbladder pain are eggs. Like red meat and cheese, eggs are very high in fat — and as previously established, fat is difficult for a dysfunctional gallbladder to effectively process. Poached eggs are lower in fat, so some people may be able to handle eggs cooked this way if their gallbladder problems are mild enough. In those with more severe gallbladder issues, even poached eggs may cause a gallbladder attack. However, even those with more serious gallbladder issues tend to be able to digest egg whites fairly well.

8. Baked goods

Unfortunately, baked goods are also high in both saturated and trans fats. This makes them difficult for people with gallbladder problems to eat without painful consequences. Things like cookies, cupcakes, and pie can lead to a lot of discomfort for people suffering from gallbladder conditions because the body is unable to break down the fats they contain. If you have gallbladder problems and simply can’t say no to baked goods, opt for low-fat options.

9. Fried foods

Because a faulty gallbladder cannot process fats effectively, fried foods are definitely on the list of foods to avoid for those with gallbladder disorders. Fried foods are notoriously high in fats. Eating fried foods can cause someone with a serious gallbladder condition, such as gallstones, to be absolutely miserable with pain and discomfort. Foods that are sauteed or fried in butter should also be avoided.

10. Restaurant foods

In general, restaurant foods tend to be very high in fat. Restaurants use a lot of unhealthy ingredients, like butter, lard, and sugar, for obvious reasons — they taste good. But because of the high-fat content of the food, people with gallbladder problems will pay much more than menu price for eating these foods. If you do eat out, choose healthy, low-fat options to avoid a painful gallbladder attack.

Fight Pain by Knowing What Foods to Avoid

Whether you suffer from arthritis, back pain, or gallbladder problems, knowing what foods to avoid can help you feel better and decrease your pain. Changing your diet can change your life. Try avoiding these foods and see how your body responds. You might be shocked to discover just how big of an impact what you eat has on how good (or bad) you feel.

You may also like: The 6 Best Shakes and Juices for Pain Relief.

Featured image Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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