Over the past few decades, the prevalence of low back pain has increased affecting up to 90% of people during their lifetime. The high prevalence of back pain may be supported by the fact that this condition is regarded as a multifactorial disease and thus, has several possible causes.
Which makes us wonder-
Could diet trigger back pain? Or How your diet affects back pain?
So, yes it won’t be wrong to say that there are some foods that cause back pain.
A study published in 2014 explained that-
Even not smoking, no consumption of alcohol, an optimum level of leisure physical activity and recommended consumption of fruit and vegetables, can have a positive influence on the diagnosis of occasional low back pain.
Apart from other factors, unhealthy dietary intake is known to be a contributing factor to the development of being overweight and obese. It can further retard the healing process and trigger inflammation, which can worsen your back, leading to pain.
If you do grieve from ongoing back pain, it is wise to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory foods, you eat.
Here we present a list of foods that needs to be cut down from your diet:
1. Red Meat:
Red meat is abundant in protein. But, it is something that you should avoid if you are suffering from back pain. Due to the presence of a substance called neu5g, which promotes inflammation, one of the main culprit behind low back pain. Red meat is amongst the top foods that cause inflammation.
2. Sugary foods and drinks:
Beware of sugary foods! They are also amongst your dietary enemies. Not only can sugary foods trigger inflammation and a person’s hypersensitivity to pain, but they can also accelerate ageing and weight gain or obesity. Excess weight can further aggravate your back pain.
A better alternative- stick to natural sugars, for example, fruits, even to sweeten and enhance desserts.
As the studies have proved that-
Energy-containing beverages like “soft” or “fizzy” beverages or fruit juices with added sugar (sugar-sweetened beverages), diet drinks, energy drinks, sports and isotonic drinks, etc. consumption promotes weight gain, avoiding these can be a good idea for people with back pain.
Also, alcoholic beverages contain a high volume of sugar, and sugar can worsen chronic pain.
Note: Alcohol consumption appears to be associated with complex and chronic low back pain and in people with alcohol consumption dependence, as per a 2013 study.
3. Whole-fat dairy:
Milk and other dairy products are often endorsed as being an essential part of a healthy diet. But they can also cause inflammation.
Milk and dairy products contain ‘lactose’ a type of sugar that may cause inflammation. Several people are lactose intolerant, i.e. their bodies have a hard time digesting dairy.
Also, the protein in milk- casein, can be difficult for some people to process, giving way to the painful inflammatory response in the body. You might want to avoid it for keeping your back pain away!
4. Refined Grains and white flour:
Refined grains are the grains that have been altered so that they lack roughly, or all, of their naturally occurring germ or bran. Exclusion of the bran and germ eradicates many bioactive components like minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phenolics, flavonoids, carotenoids and fibre, mainly insoluble fibre. White bread, Pizza and cereal are some examples of the foods that are high in refined grains. These foods can cause an insulin spike and hence, inflammation and pain.
The bottom line: White, refined foods can be part of a healthy diet, but moderation is key and, it is best to eat whole grains as a substitute for refined grains.
Most vegetables are rich in omega 6 fatty acids which are not necessarily bad. Though, if you have more omega 6 fatty acids in your body as compared to omega 3 fatty acids, this can generate an inflammatory response.
If you pick to use vegetable oil while cooking, then you should stick to only using a small amount of it.
Alternative: Olive oil is one of the best oils that you can use for cooking as to it has monounsaturated fats.
Opt for natural foods whenever you can and avoid the foods with chemicals.
The foods with additives, colouring agents, and preservatives are not accepted well by your body. Your body may generate an inflammatory response when you eat foods with chemicals.
Always make sure that you read the food labels before buying anything from the grocery store.
Researches have found out that a diet high in heat-processed foods, including fried foods, play a role in AGE (proteins or lipids) formation. The development of AGEs over time causes tissues in the body to break down, increase inflammation that might initiate disc degeneration and back pain. It also contributes to other degenerative diseases, comprising of atherosclerosis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
TIP: To help you identify the foods that trigger pain, it is advisable to keep a food diary or work your way with a dietitian or nutritionist.
Now that we know how an unhealthy diet can affect the disabling painful condition,
If we do not provide ourselves with the right balance of nutrients, our body may get deprived of the energy to function and immunity to fight diseases.
And so, along with balanced nutrition, incorporating some lifestyle changes like regular exercise, using the appropriate equipment, for example, ergonomic chairs, backrests, and back braces, can be helpful in our fight against back pain to avoid it!