Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2018
Written by 

When food causes you pain

With the holidays now over, everyone can relate to the feeling of a “food hangover,” or the agony of overeating. But could what you eat really be the culprit of arthritis, muscle pain, asthma, digestive and skin disorders as well? Yes, in fact it can be to blame. Scientists are making a strong link between our food choices and pain. About 70 percent of our immune cells are in our digestive system, making direct contact with the food we enjoy every day. If the immune system is triggered by bacteria in food, or flags a food as an allergen, or has an imbalance of important hormones such as insulin, it can set off the red alert of inflammation.

Inflammation is a major underlying factor in chronic conditions such as arthritis or poor digestive health, resulting in serious discomfort and a limited lifestyle. In other instances, inflammation is a periodic byproduct of stress and the proverbial wear-and-tear of living. At times we tax our bodies excessively, causing joint pain and decreased mobility. And yet, there are occasions where the stressful demands of work and family — the unexpected obstacles that are symptoms of financial and personal hardship, unhealthy diet, and too little sleep — manifest themselves through inflammation.

Persistent, systemic inflammation also increases a person’s risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and an assortment of other problems that become more likely as we age. More disturbing is the rise in the use of prescription drugs — many of which have serious long-term side effects — as a response to the growing threat of inflammation. Bottom line? Inflammation is the root of all chronic disease. How inflammation becomes visible in our own health will depend on the person.

There are immediate steps we can all take to reduce inflammation, starting with improved eating habits. Sufficient rest, moderate activity and a strong immune system also complement our dietary choices so that we can better control inflammation when it strikes.

Diet is critical! Amidst the far-too-numerous types of processed foods, sugary drinks and oversized meals, we must seize any chance to embrace the benefits of sound nutrition. When you eat foods you’re sensitive to (especially over and over each day or week), it causes an inflammatory reaction in your body and your health declines. And the important fact to note is that healthy foods such as squash, turkey, beans and apples, for example, may be your “personal poison” foods causing the inflammation.

The easiest way to discover your food sensitivities is a food sensitivity lab test. It’s a blood test that challenges the part of your immune system responsible for food sensitivities against different foods to determine your immune response. The strength of the response tells if you have a severe, moderate or mild sensitivity or none at all. You can choose to test up to 200 different foods, with results listing all your sensitive foods, the degree of sensitivity and your safe foods. It’s that simple. Imagine how long it would take to test that many foods on an elimination diet!

It is not a matter of whether a person “has” food sensitivities. In my experience, “how many,” and “which foods,” are what the blood test results show. The solution to pain is choosing to support your immune system with your next meal. We eat numerous times throughout the day, every day. Your next bite of food has the power to help or the power to heal. Which would you prefer? 

Kim Stoeger, MS, Clinical Nutritionist

Kimberly Stoeger, MS, is the clinical nutritionist and owner of Nutritional Healing, LLC. Her passion lies in supporting people’s health through evidence-based medicine (risks versus benefits of medications) and healing therapies through nutrition. Kimberly has her masters of science in human nutrition degree, and experience working with clients regarding weight and fatigue issues, sports nutrition, food sensitivities and allergies, and general health concerns such as high blood pressure, high glucose levels, high cholesterol/triglycerides, migraines, thyroid conditions and gut dysfunction. To learn more, call 920-358-5764 or email [email protected]

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