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    Foods That Cause Inflammation and Joint Pain

    Foods That Cause Inflammation and Joint Pain

    Originally posted on the NutraBio blog

     

    You are what you eat – this is one of the most popular phrases that you must have heard some time in your life. It is the notion that in order to be fit and healthy, you need to consume healthy and nutritious food. On the flip side, there are foods that cause inflammation and joint pain.

     

    Healthy food choices should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle and even more so for those suffering from inflammation and joint pain. Some foods are beneficial for inflammation and joint pain, but on the other hand, some actually cause inflammation that can have some severe consequences on the mind and body. There are certain compounds found in some foods that trigger the body to produce chemicals that can cause inflammation and joint pain. If not corrected, inflammation can lead to more severe and chronic health conditions.

     

    For that reason, here are some foods that cause inflammation that you should be aware of and try to avoid, whenever possible.

    Avoid These Foods That Cause Inflammation And Joint Pain 

    Sugar

    We know how those tasty pastries and desserts are irresistible to eat. But, processed sugars will trigger cytokines, which are inflammatory messengers in your body that cause inflammation and joint pain. Keep an eye out for ingredients such as fructose, sucrose, or anything that ends with “ose” and avoid consuming them. 

     

    It is advisable to limit sugar intake, in general, because too much of that sweet deliciousness is unhealthy for you. If you have joint pain tendencies, for example in your knees, you must avoid processed sugars in items like soft drinks, candy, ice cream, desserts, etc. A 2017 study showed that more than 200 people suffered from inflammation or arthritis due to sugar intake in their food.  

    Alcohol

    Limiting consumption of alcohol is always good for your body, especially if you have inflammatory issues. Some studies show that excess alcohol consumption leads to systematic inflammation as it takes a toll on your normal gut functions. This inflammation can lead to joint pain, as well. 

     

    Apart from that, alcohol may also trigger gout attacks, and it can get quite severe. So, under drinks that cause inflammation, alcohol is a definite no-no.

    Saturated Fats

    There are many studies that have stated that saturated fats activate fat tissue inflammation, also known as adipose. It does not only trigger heart diseases but also makes joint pain and inflammation worse. So, under foods that cause inflammation, you have to put foods like pizza and cheese to the side or at least to a minimum.

    Gluten

    The United States is full of people who are sensitive to gluten, which is the protein found in certain grains such as wheat and barley. According to studies, gluten-containing foods lead to increased inflammation and joint pain. There are many people who have gone gluten-free, and it has eased their inflammation and joint pain issues. If you are looking to get rid of the same problems, it may be wise for you to change up your nutrition and try a gluten-free diet.

    Omega-6 Fatty Acids

    Omega-6 fatty acids are one of the most essential components that your body requires for growth and development. But, overconsumption of Omega-6 fatty acids can lead to inflammation. You have to maintain a healthy balance of Omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. If you consume excess Omega-6, then your body will activate pro-inflammatory chemicals. 

     

    You will find Omega-6 fatty acids in the following foods:

     

    • Sunflower
    • Corn
    • Soy
    • Peanut
    • Mayonnaise
    • Safflower 
    • Some salad dressings
    • Fried foods and junk food

     

    MSG

    MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate) is quite a popular ingredient around the world. It is that magic powder that makes every fast food dish more delicious. You can find this food that causes inflammation in various Asian cuisines, soy sauce, and some fast foods. This chemical activates chronic inflammation and can also negatively affect your liver.

     

    Processed Foods

    Processed foods such as cereal, fast food items, ready to eat snacks, etc., are generally high in preservatives, added sugar, refined grains, and mostly inflammatory chemicals, which can cause severe joint pain. Processed foods contain trans fats, which help preserve the food item, but unfortunately, it triggers an inflammatory response and can lead to joint pain. Hence, you must avoid processed foods as much as possible, as it can cause inflammation and other serious diseases as well. 

     

    Foods That Helps To Reduce Inflammation

    Now that we are aware of foods that cause inflammation, it is time for us to know some foods that fall under the “you can eat” list. Here are some foods that will help you ease inflammation and lessen joint pain through its consumption.

     

    • Fruit
    • Salmon, sardines, and other fatty fish
    • Almonds and nuts
    • Poultry
    • Green tea
    • Beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes
    • Whole grains
    • Olive oil, coconut oil, and other healthy fats
    • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
    • Avocados and olives

     

    Get Proactive To Fight Inflammation And Joint Pain

    A well-balanced diet and exercise are all it takes to take good care of your health. The same goes for inflammation and joint pain as well. If you consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and avoid sugar, gluten, alcohol, and other foods that cause inflammation and joint pain mentioned above, you can more easily live a healthy life while minimizing inflammation and joint pain that can slow you down and decrease your mobility and movement. Try to eliminate the foods that cause inflammation for a month, and you will be amazed at the positive result you can yield. 

     

    Attempt to make some changes to your nutrition and implement some of the things mentioned above in this article and see how they make you feel after a week or more. You may be surprised at how much a difference it can make. 

     

    If you want to take things to the next level, add NutraBio Extreme Joint Care to your supplement regimen to help promote mobility, renew cartilage, maintain healthy connective tissue, and help revitalize your joints. 

     

    Whether you are already suffering from joint pain, or you simply want to get ahead of it, making these changes to your diet can help. To take your improved diet to the next level, NutraBio Extreme Joint Care contains a supporting matrix of clinically validated and patented ingredients to help improve the overall health and function of your joints. Don’t allow inflammation and joint pain to ruin your life or workouts!

    Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian & Vegan Diets

    Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian & Vegan Diets

    There are many reasons why someone may decide to go vegan or vegetarian. Some are compelled by environmental animal feeding operations while others by ethical or religious reasons. I respect these choices, even if my own exploration of these questions has led me to a different answer.

    But many choose vegan or vegetarian diet because they believe it’s a healthier choice from a nutritional perspective. For the last 50 years, we have been told that meat, eggs, and animal fats are bad for us. This is has been so drilled into our brains that very few people ever question it anymore. 

    Plant-based diets emphasize vegetables, which are very nutrient dense, and fruits, which are somewhat nutrient dense. However, these diets often include larger amounts of cereal grains (refined and unrefined) and legumes, both of which are low in bioavailable nutrients and high in anti-nutrients such as phytate. They also avoid organ meats, meats, fish, and shellfish, which are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat (1).

    Vegan diets, in particular, are almost completely devoid of certain nutrients that are crucial for physiological function. Several studies have shown that both vegetarians and vegans are prone to deficiencies in B12, calcium, iron, zinc, the long-chain fatty acids EPA and DHA, and fat-soluble vitamins such as A and D. 

    Let’s take a closer look at these nutrients on a vegan or vegetarian diet:

    B12

    This vitamin works together with folate in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. It’s also involved in the production of the myelin sheath around the nerves, and the conduction of nerve impulses. Studies have shown that 68% of vegetarians and 83% of vegans are deficient, compared to 5% of omnivores (2). B12 deficiencies can cause symptoms of fatigue, lethargy, weakness, memory loss, neurological and psychiatric problems, anemia, and much more! It’s also a myth that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources such as seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina, and brewers yeast, but these foods actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block the intake of and increase the need for B12. 

    Calcium

    The bioavailability of calcium from plant foods is affected by vegans levels of oxalate and phytate, which are inhibitors of calcium absorption and thus decrease the amount of calcium the body can extract from plant foods (3). So while leafy greens like spinach and kale have a relatively high calcium content, the calcium is not efficiently absorbed during digestion. 

    Iron

    Ferritin, the long-term storage form of iron are notably lower in vegetarian and vegans (4). As with calcium, the bioavailability of the iron in plant foods is much lower than in animal foods. Plant-based forms of iron are also inhibited by other commonly consumed substances, such as coffee, tea, dairy products, supplemental fiber, and supplemental calcium. This explains why vegetarian diets have been shown to reduce non-heme iron absorption by 70% and total iron absorption of 85% (5).

    Zinc

    Although deficiencies not often seen in Western vegetarians, their intake still often falls below recommendations. This is another case where bioavailability is important. Many plant foods containing zinc also contain phytate, which inhibits zinc absorption by about 35% compared to omnivorous diets (8). Therefore, deficiency may still occur. This study suggested that vegetarians may even require 50% more zinc than omnivores (9).

    EPA and DHA

    Plant foods contain both linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) which are both considered to be essential fatty acids, meaning that they cannot be synthesized or produced by the body and therefore must be obtained through food. Of the two essential amino acids, EPA and DHA from omega-3 fatty acids play a protective role in the body such as fighting disease, cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune disease by greatly reducing inflammation in the body. Although it is possible for some omega-3 fatty acids from plant foods to be converted to EPA and DHA, that conversion is poor: between 5-10% for EPA and 2-5% for DHA (10). Vegetarians also have 30% lower EPA and nearly 60% lower DHA (11). 

    Fat-Soluble Vitamins

    Probably one of the biggest problems with vegetarian and vegan diets is their near total lack of the fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Fat-soluble vitamins are critical to human health. Vitamin A promotes healthy immune function, fertility, eyesight, and skin. Vitamin D regulates calcium metabolism, immune function, reduces inflammation and protects against many forms of cancer. These fat-soluble vitamins are concentrated and found almost exclusively in animal foods: seafood, organ meats, eggs and dairy products (12). Also, the idea that plant foods contain vitamin A is a misconception. Plants contain beta-carotene, the precursor to active vitamin A (retinol). While beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in humans, the conversion is inefficient (13).

    With care and attention, it is possible to meet nutrient needs with a VEGETARIAN diet that includes liberal amounts of pasture-raised, full-fat dairy and eggs, with one exception: EPA and DHA. These long-chain omega fats are found exclusively in marine algae and fish and shellfish, so the only way to get them on a vegetarian diet would be to take a microalgae supplement (which contains DHA) or to take fish-oil or cod-liver oil as a supplement (which isn’t vegetarian). Still, while it may be possible to obtain adequate nutrition on a vegetarian diet, it is not optimal—as the research above indicates.

    I do not, however, think it’s possible to meet nutrient needs on a vegan diet without supplements—and quite a few of them. Vegan diets are low in B12, bioavailable iron and zinc, choline, vitamin A & D, calcium, and EPA and DHA. So if you’re intent on following a vegan diet, make sure you are supplementing with those nutrients

    When working with clients who I believe may suffer from nutrition deficiencies I often run a micronutrients blood test to see exactly where we need to fill in the gaps. Click here more information on testing and nutrition consulting.

    Guest post by Rachel Scheer, BS Nutrition & Dietetics from Baylor University. DFW Clinical Nutritionist (www.rachelscheer.com - @rachelscheer)

    Sleeping 101

    Sleeping 101

    In today's society the physical and mental demands of our responsibilities don't leave enough hours in the day to get everything done. When we get overwhelmed with deadlines, errands, studies, and projects, proper sleep is unfortunately one of the first casualties.

     

    Sleep is a crucial part of keeping ourselves healthy. As much as we try to "burn the midnight oil" and grind out extra hours to get things done, neglecting proper rest puts our bodies, minds, and emotions in a state of imbalance. This affects more than muscle recovery or mental clarity — it can even distort our sleeping patterns, hunger, and hydration signals.

     

    What can we do to ensure we get proper rest when the world doesn't stop turning? Create a good wind-down or pre-bed routine that relaxes and de-stimulates our senses.

    Sleep Strategies

     

    1. Natural Light & Morning Activity

    Getting light exercise in the morning can help regulate your body's circadian rhythm and improve circulation. Getting outdoor activity promotes better oxygen intake and blood flow, positively impacting our health.

     

    2. Caffeine Cut-Off

    I love a strong brew or tasty energy drink to get the gears turning just as much as anyone else, but did you know caffeine can last in your system for up to 8 hours? This can easily cause sleep deprivation. Avoiding it after the morning hours ensures your body flushes it out long before you attempt to sleep.

    3. No Snacks Before Bed

    There's no question proper nutrition centered around unprocessed, whole foods helps your body get the nutrients it needs. Studies show opting for carbs before bed can improve sleep, but how do you expect your body to focus on rest when it's busy digesting food? Try to have your last meal at least 2 hours before you plan on sleeping to avoid digestion issues or sleep disruption.

    4. Turn Off Screens

    Blue light from screens suppresses our natural melatonin production, which can easily mess with our sleep. Certain devices and apps have implemented “night mode” to reduce blue light,  but it's still a good idea to minimize your screen time at least an hour before bed.

    5. Cool Dark Space

    Our body temperature needs to drop to get a good night’s sleep. A cooler room promotes deeper sleep, and for most people about 65 degrees is the sweet spot. Light coming through windows can prevent your brain from winding down, so keep your bedroom completely dark with blackout shades/curtains and eliminate all forms of light when trying to sleep.

    6. Meditation/Yoga

    Our minds are constantly thinking, focusing on tasks that need to be done in the future. This can keep us tossing and turning when we truly need rest. Relax physically and mentally with a stretching/yoga routine and a mental stillness practice like meditation. This ensures we transition to a state of rest. Alternatively, writing down tasks you need to complete the next day can potentially remove anxiety about them.

    Supplements

     

    Quick fixes are often our first instinct, rather than taking the healthier route — simple lifestyle changes. Even something as widely accepted as melatonin supplements can be detrimental. In very small doses (0.5mg) melatonin may be beneficial. However, people often take up to 10mg which seriously derails their natural melatonin production, especially when taken habitually.

     

    Taking drugs to counteract poor sleeping habits is like eating fast food every meal and taking a fat burner to lose weight.

     

    That being said, there is one supplement I highly recommend: “Lunar” by Legion Athletics. I’ve been taking it for years and it always helps give me a good night’s sleep. It helps me fall asleep faster, easier, and deeper. Lunar’s dosage has been formulated by scientific research and has minimal impact on natural sleep patterns. For me, taking it 3x a week maximizes its effectiveness while allowing my body to maintain its natural chemical balance.

    Wyatt Medlin’s ICONIC Weight Loss Journey

    Wyatt Medlin’s ICONIC Weight Loss Journey

    In college Wyatt was a weightlifter and avid swimmer. After graduating and entering the workforce, something happened that is all too common — life got in the way and fitness was no longer part of his daily routine. 

     

    Just before January 2021 he weighed 321 lbs, and started eating ICON meals in the new year. His after pics are from June 15th, 50 pounds lighter and looking great! Read on to hear how he got past his biggest challenge: “getting started again.”

     

    Wyatt Medlin Weight Loss ICON Meals

     

    Can you describe the moment when you decided to make a change? What caused you to make that decision?

     

    Late 2020 I went on a family vacation to the mountains and found myself extremely winded and out of breath while hiking trails, struggling to keep up, at only 30 years old. Being an active person most of my life, growing up playing sports and enjoying working out, it hit me very quickly that I had lost focus for my own well-being and had let myself no longer be a priority. It was time to make a change!

     

    When you started, what was your original vision or goal?

     

    My original goal was to realign my physical, emotional, and personal priorities. Finding a new

    routine, trusting the process, becoming comfortable again in the gym, and hitting new goals!

     

    What has been your biggest struggle along the journey so far?

     

    Shifting around a schedule to ensure that I allow myself time every day to be better as a human. 

     

    Do you remember when you finally began to see progress? When was that and how did you feel?

     

    A few weeks into my journey and it was motivating and exciting!

     

    Where are you now? Describe your results and how you feel.

     

    I'm 6.5 months into my journey and ICON Meals has allowed me to follow a healthy, clean diet that takes the guesswork out! I am feeling proud and excited for what's to come!

     

    What advice do you have for others that want to make a change?

     

    Take the first step. You won't regret it! 

     

    Has your journey impacted others? If so, in what way?

     

    My twin sister has joined along on her own journey and it's been so fulfilling to see her progress as well!

     


     

    Share Your Own ICONIC Story!

    Have ICON meals helped you reach your fitness goals? Share your story and inspire others to start their journey.