Updated: Aug 12
Summer is finally here, which means it's a great time to have good times! However, chronic pain can get in the way of that regardless if you're prepared for it or not. So let's talk about what NOT to eat during a flare-up, so we can get you back outside and enjoying sunny weather.
Now some of these items are definitely in the yummy-feel-better-pain-sucks, comfort food group. But, trust me, these foods make flare-ups worse, increasing intensity and duration. So, keep on reading to learn how you can stay proactive during those not-so-great pain days.
1. "I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream"!
A nice sweet treat always seems like a good idea, right? It makes you even feel better about the situation. Like saying to yourself, "well my body may be aching right now, but I'm a champ for dealing with it, and a champ deserves ice cream!" Sorry, not quite.
Sugary foods like ice cream, donuts, cupcakes, and cookies cause spikes of pain. Processed sugar especially causes inflammation within the muscles and joints in the body, resulting in higher levels of physical sensations. Healthline.com states that "consuming a 50-gram dose of fructose causes a spike in inflammatory markers in just 30 minutes... and remains high for over two hours." Increased pain symptoms for two or more hours, on top of the time you were already suffering, sounds terrible!
I remember when I decided to treat myself to the Ventura County Fair and ate everything I wanted, EVERYTHING! Funnel cake, fried Twinkie, vanilla bean ice cream, and I can't even remember the rest due to that food-coma I underwent afterward. I'm kidding! But, I did have a pain attack. Spasms came every 5 seconds throughout my entire spine. It was not pretty and was not fun! The moral of the story is to stay away from sugar, folks!
2. French Fries, Onion Rings, Fried Calamari
Who else is a sucker for fried food here? Sometimes menus will convince consumers that fried vegetables like fried zucchini or sweet potato fries aren't so bad. But we know deep down inside, having these vegetables baked is far more nutritious. Now, regardless of what's more nutritious, let's talk about how fried foods cause increased pain!
Fried foods in restaurants and the frozen aisle of the grocery store are no good for flare-up days. Most frozen foods have been fried in oils that are high in omega-6, like safflower, sunflower, vegetable, and corn oil. Foods cooked in these oils cause an increase in blood pressure, water retention, and inflammation.
If you must have something fried as comfort food, try cooking at home with an air fryer. My air fryer is my new favorite item in my kitchen, especially on bad pain days!
3. Bottoms Up!
Sorry, I meant "shots, shots, shots, shots" in my Pitbull voice. Nope, didn't mean that either. Water, let's go with water, folks. Alcohol, including wine, causes more inflammation in the body. Also, if you are taking medication to help silence chronic pain symptoms, then alcohol shouldn't be consumed. Try to drink as much water as possible to help flush toxins out of the body and decrease inflammation.
Interested in learning more about how nutrition can help decrease inflammation? Click here to check out this free webinar!
Also, download my free Pain Management Guide here! It gives 7 essential steps that I faithfully use to manage chronic pain.