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The Pain Reducing Anti-Inflammation Diet E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA   

Cooking Healthy

The right types of fats in your diet can impact pain and inflammation in a positive way. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are very powerful anti-inflammatory agents. They are found in cold-water oily fish, walnuts, flax seeds, canola oil and pumpkin seeds. Adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements from flax oil or fish oil may also help reduce inflammation. Olive oil is another type of oil that will reduce inflammation. In fact, olive oil has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and will help to reduce pain. Other healthy oils include rice bran oil, grape seed oil, and walnut oil.

Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Day

In the morning, analgesics are needed. Analgesics have aspirin-like properties. Berries are a great food choice, especially blueberries and strawberries that are packed with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and anti-oxidants. Add some whole grain toast or cereal to your morning meal. Whole grains are excellent sources of fiber, and a high fiber diet will reduce your inflammation.

Lunchtime and Dinner

Those experiencing afternoon pain should focus on foods with anti-inflammatory properties. Foods such as avocados, pineapples, legumes, cold-water oily fish (Best protein choices wild alaskan salmon, halibut, herring, trout, anchovies and sardines.), walnuts and soy foods like tofu and soy burgers are anti-inflammatory. So are green teas, fruit juices, green leafy vegetables, green and brightly colored vegetables, fresh fruits, which contain anti-oxidant and healing benefits. You should eat at least five and preferably more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Green vegetables and whole fruits are also important as sources of dietary fiber.


Deserts do not always need to be considered bad. Choosing certain deserts can provide healthy and healing properties.  For instance:
  • Many fruits and vegetables provide anti-oxidants.
  • Dark chocolate contains flavinoids, which provide great anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Avoid Pro Inflammatory Foods

Pro-inflammatory foods will increase inflammation, increase your pain from the inflammation and may also raise your risk for chronic disease. A simple rule of thumb is to avoid foods that contain flour, and/or sugar or other sweetener. Not only will these foods be pro-inflammatory but can pack on excess pounds, they will make you look older than your years. Foods to eat in moderation, or better yet avoid, include but are not limited to:

        • Bagels, Breads, Rolls, Crackers, Croissants,
        • Candies
        • Cakes, Cookies,  Doughnuts, Muffins, Pastries and Pies
        • Cookies
        • Sugary Cereals
        • Cornstarch, Corn Bread, Corn Muffins and Corn Syrup
        • Fast food, Fried foods
        • Flour, Margarine, Molasses
        • Pizza
        • Pasta
        • Rice
        • Snack foods, including: potato chips, pretzels, corn chips, rice and corn cakes, etc.
        • Soda
        • Sugar
        • Tacos, Tortillas
Other Anti-inflammatory Diet Tips
  • Stay away from deep fried foods and bake or stir-fry your meals instead.  Use healthy oils like olive oil and MCT oils if you must fry your food. Cut down on the junk! Loading up on junk foods, high-fat meats, sugar and fast foods will increase inflammation in your body. This is partially due to the unhealthy fats used in preparing and processing these foods, especially trans fats and saturated fats.
  • Say no to lunch meats. Processed meats such as lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages contain chemicals such as nitrites that are associated with increased inflammation and chronic disease. 
  • Cut down on the sweets. Diets high in sugar have also been associated with inflammation, obesity and chronic disease such as diabetes. Eliminate high sugar foods such as sodas, soft drinks, pastries, presweetened cereals and candy.
  • Eat more fish, soy, poultry and less fatty red meat (red meat promotes inflammation). If you choose to eat meat, eat lean cuts. Meat high in saturated fat, besides clogging the arteries and increasing your waistline, contain fatty acids called arachidonic acid. While some arachidonic acid is essential for your health, too much arachidonic acid in the diet may make your inflammation worse.
  • Eat More Veggies. Choose colorful vegetables such as green, orange, and yellow vegetables for your side dishes. and enjoy them with every meal 
  • Hydrate. Drink plenty of water, fresh 100% fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas and green tea.
  • Snack well. Snack on whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and fresh vegetables throughout the day instead of cookies and candy. An apple a day might just keep the doctor at bay. Apples contain fiber, anti-oxidants, and quercetin and has strong anti-inflammatory properties.. Food can be your best medicine!
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