Find your food triggers to help ease your pain

October 9, 2015

As anyone who's ever had indigestion or heartburn knows, food can definitely switch on pain. Certain foods are common triggers for people with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, gout, and migraines. Bellying up to a plate of pork, for instance, is a bad idea for anyone with gout. Other food triggers are less obvious. These tips can help you to pin them down.

Find your food triggers to help ease your pain

Some foods that may cause pain

  • Do you eat a lot of foods with additives such as nitrates (hot dogs, cured meats)? Try switching to fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains whose only additives are vitamins or minerals.
  • What kind of fats do you eat? The saturated and trans fats in many desserts and dairy products increase inflammation. Switch to low-fat dairy products, use plant oils like olive oil, and cut back on red meats in favour of fish.
  • Do you eat a lot of highly spiced food like chili, hot wings, and salsa? Hot spices can aggravate some conditions like heartburn and IBS. Try replacing them with more soothing spices, like ginger or fennel.
  • Do you chew gum? Sounds harmless, but, in some people, it can activate headaches.
  • Do you eat a lot of diet foods and drinks? It's possible that the diet substitute aspartame may increase muscle tension and trigger headaches.

Avoid these pain-inducing drinks

  • How many drinks do you have per week? Alcohol can exacerbate many conditions, such as gout and heartburn, and interferes with sleep, which stokes pain. Try cutting back or switching to water.
  • How much coffee do you drink? Caffeine is no stomach soother and can stir up pain for those with heartburn or gastrointestinal disorders. Remember that many soft drinks contain caffeine, as does chocolate.
  • How much water do you drink per day? For some conditions such as migraines, dehydration may play a part. Drink at least eight glasses of liquid per day.

Keep this guide in mind and determine what is causing your pain by avoiding these foods and drinks.

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