Talk about an accidental discovery …I’ve got a client who went on a trip to Europe a few years ago. She ate differently than she did here in the US – basically less processed foods and more whole foods (veggies, fruits, proteins, etc.).

Can you guess what happened?

After a few days, almost every one of her everyday aches and pains went away. Pains she had gotten used to – a sore knee, a tight lower back, etc. – were pretty much GONE. And this happened even though she was MORE ACTIVE all day, walking and sightseeing. Not to mention sleeping on strange beds. It made such a difference that when she came home, she decided to keep it up – staying away from all her favorite go-to’s for snacks and weeknight meals.

She learned a valuable lesson: Sometimes, making a slight change in your lifestyle or everyday diet can have a HUGE payoff. There are a lot of foods out there that can increase inflammation in your body.

And as you probably already know, inflammation is linked with aches & pains (especially if you have arthritis), but also obesity, diabetes, and a long list of other diseases.

I’ve put together a list of foods that are directly tied to inflammation, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

  • Sugar: Processed sugars can trigger the release of inflammatory messengers in your body called cytokines.
  • Trans fats: These can cause systemic inflammation. Even though they’re banned, trans fats can still be found in fast foods and some processed items. Check ingredient labels and avoid items with partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Omega 6 fatty acids: Your body needs a healthy balance of omega 3s and 6s, but most of us get way too much of the 6s, which can lead to inflammation. They’re found in salad dressings, mayo, and many vegetable and seed oils like corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, and peanut.
  • Refined carbs (aka “white” carbs):  White flour, rice, pasta, bread, crackers, cereal, etc. can spike your blood sugar and lead to inflammation.
  • Alcohol. Moderate drinking (1 drink a day for women; 2 for men) may have some health benefits for many people. However, studies show the more alcohol people consume, the higher their level of inflammatory markers in their bodies.
  • Processed meats: The methods used to prepare these meats create AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), which are linked to inflammation.

Some people also find they get aches and pains from foods they are sensitive to, like gluten, dairy, and even some vegetables. I’m not suggesting that you go on a big kick and throw out all of those foods. That can be hard to sustain.

But sometimes making just one or two changes can start you on the road toward feeling your absolute best.

Morning Routine “Musts”

Morning Routine “Musts”

Did you have a great morning? If you did, it probably wasn’t by accident. You either: Made the decision (even if you didn’t consciously do it!) when you woke up to have a GREAT morning. And/or …It was great by DEFAULT because you’ve created your own morning routine that set you up for a successful day!

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Rob is the owner and founder of Fitness Lifestyle Personal Training.

He has been training for over thirty-three years; seventeen of those years as a personal trainer helping others reach their goals.