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GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
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7 Foods That Could be Making Your Pain Worse [Slideshow]

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Food has a powerful effect on our bodies. Some foods fuel our bodies and promote health. Others are not only not healthy, but can also trigger pain. If you suffer from chronic pain, you know how it can affect your quality of life. Staying healthy as possible and taking care of yourself is super important when you have chronic pain, and what you put on your plate can play a significant role in how you feel.

While there is plenty of healthy food that can help you feel better, and adding some of these anti-inflammatory spices will help, there are also some common foods you should stay away from. If you have chronic physical pain, the foods below could make your pain worse.

Image by Alina Kovalchuk / Unsplash
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Caffeine

Caffeine has been common in our diets for generations, and its cultural and social significance is far greater than the boost it gives us every morning. The pros and cons of caffeine have been well-documented. For a lot of us (guilty), caffeine is a regular part of our diet. But drinking excess caffeine may do more harm than good if you have fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and chronic back pain. The combination of caffeine and a lack of sleep and make things worse.

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Sugar

Sugar has not been linked to causing arthritis, but it may make the condition worse if you already have it. Eating too much sugar can raise the level of uric acid in the blood, which increases the chances of a gout attack. Besides, it may make the symptoms of osteoarthritis worse.

By focusing on eating for your health and cutting out as much sugar as much as possible, you can avoid a lot of the chronic pain caused by sugar. Find out what happens to your body when you go on a sugar detox.

Image by Victor Espadas Gonzalez / Shutterstock
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Nightshade Vegetables

Most of the time, we’re told to eat more vegetables, whether they are fresh or frozen. But eating nightshade vegetables can trigger flare-ups of arthritis and other chronic conditions. Common nightshades include tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers.

Nightshades don’t affect everyone, so if you want to know if they negatively affect you, take this three-month challenge. Avoid eating nightshades for three months. Once three months have passed, add one nightshade at a time back into your diet. Notice any aches, stiffness, pain, low energy, respiratory problems, headaches, or any other symptoms.

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Processed Meats

Bacon seems to be found in everything these days, even chocolate, and deli meat is a popular lunch option. However, processed meats are full of preservatives and nitrates that are highly inflammatory and will wreak havoc on your body.

Any meat that has been salted, smoked, dried, or canned is considered processed. This includes hot dogs, sausages, salami, ham, and cured bacon. If eliminating these meats completely seems impossible, start by slowly reducing your consumption. In the end, you may decide that feeling better is worth giving them up.

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Alcohol

A drink every once in a while isn’t a big deal, but if you regularly drink multiple alcoholic beverages in one evening, it causes an inflammatory response in your body that increases your chances of developing inflammation. It’s not uncommon for people with chronic pain to use alcohol to self-medicate and make their condition worse without realizing it.

Not only can alcohol make the pain worse, but it may also interact with medications you may be taking, even over the counter painkillers. Not to mention the increased risk of lung and heart disease moderate to heavy drinkers may have.

Image by Rebecca Orlov / Unsplash
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Dairy Products

Cheese is a tough one to beat, for some (me) it’s more addicting than drugs or alcohol. Let’s face it, dairy plays a starring role in many Americans’ diets. However, overeating dairy can cause low-grade inflammation, which can worsen conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, gout, lupus, and back pain.

If you find that eating dairy products causes pain flare-ups, you may have to quit dairy altogether. This guide on milk alternatives will help you find a good substitute. It may take a little while for your body to get used to not eating dairy. Always talk to your doctor when you make major changes in your diet.

Image by Nestor Rizhniak / Shutterstock
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White Bread and Refined Carbs

Inflammation is a big factor in chronic pain, and eating white bread is a big cause of inflammation in the body. White flour is the main source of refined carbs in our diets, any food made with refined flour can trigger inflammation in the body. It’s also loaded with gluten, sugar, and preservatives, all of which have been linked to chronic pain.

Refined flour has been stripped of its nutrients and slow-digesting fiber, which makes it easier for the body to break it down. This caused blood sugar levels to rise and insulin to spike, which leads to inflammation. Check out these low-carb, gluten-free bread recipes to get you started.

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Stephany
GR8NESS Writer
Stephany is a GR8NESS Contributing Editor who writes about pet care, CBD, stress, self care, meditation, time management, brain training, and natural remedies with a focus on the science behind it all. She has three dogs, three cats, walks half marathons, and practices yoga and powerlifting. You can often find her training her dogs or experimenting with new flavors in the kitchen.
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