Foods to Lower Pain and Inflammation

October 18, 2021

Are you someone who is experiencing chronic pain? Joint pain, ongoing headaches, muscle pain like fibromyalgia, back pain, cramps? Chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. The questions we want to address are: why are so many Americans suffering from chronic pain and what can they do to reduce their pain? What we eat and what we DO NOT eat can greatly affect our inflammation and pain level, so tune in to learn what food you can eat to either increase your pain level or decrease your pain level.

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CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. My question for all of you listening this morning is are you experiencing chronic pain? If you're shaking your head yes right now I can sympathize with you. And it's hard, isn't it? For some of you, maybe it's arthritis maybe in your hands or in your back, or maybe you have joint pain in some other area, or maybe you have ongoing headaches. Maybe like a lot of people, you have fibromyalgia. So you have that all over muscle pain. If you have any type of ongoing pain, you're going to want to stay tuned this morning. You are in for a great show. Today, my cohost and I are going to be talking first of all, a lot about the reasons why you might be experiencing pain and inflammation, and then we'll focus on nutritional solutions.

And we should mention too, and this might surprise some people that environmental toxins can sometimes be the source of the pain. And I think one good example is the recent wildfires in Northern California. They've been causing more lung inflammation for people with asthma and other types of breathing problems. And in fact, we've even heard reports of people who have never had any lung issues in the past now having trouble breathing because of the toxins in the air from the wildfires. So sometimes it can be environmental factors too.

And as registered dietitians at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we are well aware that there are a lot of people in this country dealing with pain and inflammation on an ongoing basis. But I also think that a lot of those people aren't even aware that their food choices could be the cause for that pain and that inflammation. It's true that what we eat and what we don't eat can really affect our pain level.

NIKKI: Yes, Cassie, that's so true. Knowing this is the critical first step. The foods you eat can either increase your pain level or decrease your pain level. Before I started working at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, even as a dietitian, I did not realize what I ate affected pain level.

CASSIE: We weren't taught that in college to connect those dots. I, you know, I think back to my schooling and I'm sure you went through many of the same types of classes. There really was a disconnect between food and how our bodies react.

NIKKI: Exactly.

CASSIE: But Nutritional Weight and Wellness teaches that connection. And if you are somebody suffering from chronic pain, I know what you're thinking. Relief is everything. That is so true, especially when you're in those moments of intense pain. You just want relief. So doesn't it make sense then to learn what foods you can be eating to help reduce or lessen some of that pain and inflammation? I am hopeful that all of you listening want to know how to change your eating so that you can have less pain. So for everybody out there listening that has that chronic pain and inflammation, again, today's going to be a great show because we're going to focus all on what foods increase pain and what foods decrease that pain and inflammation.

And with that, I am Cassie Weness. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. You heard her voice here just a couple of minutes ago. My cohost this morning is Nikki Doering. She's in studio with me today. Nikki is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And I'm going to say good morning, Nikki, but I'm also going to say, I'm so excited to be here today. This is our first time on air together. And I know it's going to be a great show.

NIKKI: It already is an awesome show. It already is an awesome show.

CASSIE: Right.

NIKKI: So good morning to you, Cassie and good morning, obviously to our awesome listeners. I am going to start by sharing an eye opening statistic with all of you. 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. That is a lot of people. Chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.


NIKKI: Yeah. That is huge. So much so that I really want people to hear that. Chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. So pain is obviously a very big problem here in the U.S. The questions we want to address are why are so many Americans suffering from chronic pain and what can they do to reduce pain? That's the big one. What can we do to reduce pain? When you have pain and inflammation, do you ask yourself, what did I eat?

Now, probably not. I don't think most people, because as we mentioned earlier, as dietitians, we don't learn that. So when I saw patients, you know, in the hospital and they complain of pain, I didn't say, well, what I didn't retort, well, what are you eating? Let's try and figure this out. I didn't connect the dots until I worked here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness and saw the correlation. When you're thinking about managing your pain, maybe your mind does not really go there to what foods you've been eating. Perhaps you thought, well, perhaps you think, “Well, my mother had arthritis or my grandfather, so I'm destined to have it.” Also, I am one of those people. I had knee pain, chronic knee pain from a very young age. And I just was told, well, everyone in our family has bad knees. And so I just thought, well, that's my future. Well, when I started eating better, that pain went away.

CASSIE: Isn't it amazing; the power of food.

NIKKI: Yeah. So maybe you're thinking too, “I'll just use medication or ibuprofen to manage my pain.” Or maybe your thoughts are a little more severe and you're thinking, well, “I'm going to have a major surgery on my knee or a major surgery on my back to, at some point in my life to help relieve the pain.” Today, we want to think, we want you to change your thinking about how to manage that pain and inflammation.

CASSIE: Yes. Change your thinking. So on that note, let's jump right in. Think about what foods or what lifestyle habits do you have right now that might be causing your body to have more pain, more inflammation. And I brought an article here today that I want to share a quote with, or from, with all of you. The article is titled How Acute Inflammation Turns Chronic. It comes from the Harvard Medical School. And here's the quote: It says, “Unhelpful lifestyle choices can cause ongoing inflammation.” It goes on to say, “Smoking, failing to exercise regularly, eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates. All of these can contribute to chronic inflammation.”

NIKKI: And to add to that, ongoing inflammation increases the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and COPD. And for those that don't know what COPD is, it's chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And so when I hear that list, I think inflammation. Those are all inflammatory conditions. And in fact, three out of five people around the world die from a disease that has been linked to inflammation. So that being said, pain is a big deal. It's not to be ignored. And it's important to discover the root cause and reduce that inflammation and reduce that pain.

CASSIE: Especially, yeah. I want to repeat that. Three out of every five people die from a disease that's been linked to inflammation. And here we are telling you, wow, your food choices matter. We could really tamp down or maybe even get rid of that inflammation.

NIKKI: I mean, I'm a numbers nerd. I've said it before on the radio.

CASSIE: You’re a cool numbers nerd, though.

NIKKI: I’m also a nutrition nerd. But that's 60%. I think if I’m doing my numbers right.

What are some ways inflammation can present?


CASSIE: Right. That's a chunk. That's a big number. Yeah. So, so really ask yourself, is chronic inflammation causing you to have anxiety or maybe chronic inflammation is causing your fatigue or your depression? Or are you one of the many that has ongoing constipation or diarrhea or maybe even heartburn? Do you have chronic headaches? Do you have brain fog? These are all symptoms that can be a result of inflammation in your body or in your brain. So sometimes inflammation shows up in ways that we don't always think of as inflammatory, but at the core it is inflammation that's creating all of these health problems that I just mentioned.

NIKKI: Yeah. I mean, I can relate to that having inflammation, not in pain, you know, and come up in different areas. And so inflammation, we can't just think knee pain. It can be, I mean, headaches are obviously painful, but like you mentioned in that list.

CASSIE: Depression, fatigue, brain fog.

NIKKI: Skin conditions, rashes, things like that; that’s inflammation.

CASSIE: At the core of most all health problems is inflammation. Well, we will talk more about this on the other side of this break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're just tuning in this show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today, Nikki and I are talking all about the role that different food choices can cause or can have on chronic pain. And we're going to pinpoint some of those villains when we come back from this commercial. But first I want to leave you with some research. Research estimates, Nikki said this already, but I want to repeat it. Research estimates that 50 million adults in the United States are dealing with chronic pain. And in a new study just published this year, researchers found that the prevalence of chronic pain is increasing for all demographics of United States adults. As registered dietitians, Nikki and I have both seen it in clinical practice. When you get out the sugar, when you get out the processed carbohydrates, you can really help to reduce the inflammation and reduce the chronic pain. And we'll be talking more about that on the other side of this commercial. We'll be right back.


NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. There was some good news from the FDA this week. With a sweeping recommendation, the Food and Drug Administration urged manufacturers and restaurants to reduce salt in their products by 12%. They want the salt cut in potato chips, deli meats, bakery goods, pizza, chicken nuggets, and the list goes on and on. So it sounds like processed food to me. However, the best news is that as Dishing Up Nutrition listeners, you've learned not to eat these processed foods, especially on a regular basis. And instead you've learned to continue to eat your grass fed meats, your garden fresh vegetables, your, which are cooked in butter. So we will remain ahead of the game because we know these processed foods were never really healthy for us. And so and like today's topic, we're learning how carbohydrate levels in these processed foods leads to pain and inflammation. So they're just not that healthy in general. So that being said, you know what listeners? What are you eating that may be causing pain inflammation? Are you eating sugary foods or processed carbohydrates? You know, let's hope the FDA kind of battles that, you know, sugar reduction in some of these foods as well. That might be helpful too.

CASSIE: You’re dreaming, but that would be great. I think we got to, there's so much money involved that it's, we, we really have to make our own informed choices.

NIKKI: Real food.

CASSIE: Get in the kitchen a little bit more.

Sugar increases inflammation


NIKKI: Let's start with sugar. Let's talk about sugar. We know that sugary foods and processed carbs, think candies, crackers, breads, pastas. I can go on. You know, Cassie had mentioned some of these and the quote earlier. They break down to a lot of sugar in the body which increases inflammation. I have some questions for you, just to get you thinking maybe about your own food habits. And I like using questions for myself to kind of say, am I on track right now? Is this healthy for me? Is my body going to be the healthiest it can be? So ask yourself, is that bowl of ice cream you are eating before bedtime causing you to have inflammation? Or could it be the morning toast? Or maybe the granola breakfast bar that may be causing, you know, both of those could be causing you inflammation. What do you think listeners?

CASSIE: Right. And remember that article from the Harvard Medical School that I quoted that said refined carbohydrates can contribute to inflammation. So the ice cream, the toast, the granola bar that Nikki just mentioned, those are all refined carbohydrates. Here's another inflammation causing habit that I saw so many people practicing this past summer. Every time I drove by our local Dairy Queen, there was a line of people waiting to order. And I, I know it sounds pretty appealing to some people. You're heading out of town to your late cabin. Let's stop at Dairy Queen on the way out or it's after your child's softball game. Let's all go get a treat at Dairy Queen. But I'll tell you it does not sound at all appealing to me because I know the numbers. So I see spoonfuls of sugar when I look at these treats and I want to share these numbers with you.

So for example, a Dairy Queen Blizzard, I looked up a large cookie dough Blizzard to get the number here. And I bet that's a pretty popular order. A large cookie dough blizzard breaks down into more than 48 teaspoons of sugar in your body.

NIKKI: That's, that's a lot.

CASSIE: That's obnoxious. I mean, no wonder there is an epidemic of diabetes in this country. Another inflammation causing habit that comes to mind is when I run into pay for my gas at the Kwik Trip or the Emma's right near my house, I often see people at the checkout with a huge muffin. You know, whether it's the blueberry muffin, the banana chocolate chip; whatever; but a lot of times people will have this huge muffin and then a big glass of some type of flavored cappuccino. So I looked up a blueberry muffin; average size that you would get at a, you know, at a convenience store like that. And then I looked up a 16 ounce vanilla, French vanilla cappuccino. Those two things combined turned to over 40 teaspoons of sugar in our body.


CASSIE: And as we have said so many times over and over on this Dishing Up Nutrition program, but it bears repeating: sugar equals inflammation. Just stop and think about that for a minute. Sugar equals inflammation. If you are somebody who has arthritis pain or some kind of joint pain or chronic headaches, would you have ever thought before listening to the show today that maybe it's the muffin and the cappuccino? Or maybe it's the morning toast you're having in your own kitchen? Or maybe it's the bagel with jelly that's causing more inflammation in your joints. Some of you are well aware of this. For some of you it will be new news, but toast is very inflammatory for most people. And a few other foods that I think a lot of people would not necessarily associate with being high in sugar are pancakes, breakfast cereal; pasta turns to a lot of sugar, popcorn, corn chips, potato chips; all of these will cause inflammation and inflammation eventually leads to pain.

NIKKI: Yes. And this, yeah, all of those foods, you have to really watch the inflammation that it causes. So really listeners, I challenge you to make sure, hey, when I eat this, does it cause a little increased pain?

CASSIE: Connect the dots. Yeah. Kind of take inventory. We're going to take another commercial break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I just want to circle back for a minute and repeat what Nikki mentioned earlier about the FDA in that they came out this last week and said that they're going to require manufacturers to reduce salt in their packaged foods. And as I was reading up on this new requirement, I've read that there are over or no, not over, but there are 163 categories of processed packaged foods in this country.


CASSIE: 163 categories, all of which have too much sodium. So the FDA is requiring manufacturers to reduce that salt by 12%, which means cutting out a teaspoon of salt a day.

NIKKI: That's significant.

CASSIE: It is, you know, so certainly if you are somebody that eats a lot of processed foods by reducing the, the salt content of those processed packaged foods, it could help to prevent high blood pressure. Maybe it can help with cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, severe COVID-19 symptoms. But again, we just tell our clients, eliminate those processed packaged foods, or at least greatly limit them in your diet. And instead get in the kitchen at least a little bit and cook delicious, healthy meals at home. And then that extra salt consumption isn't even a worry. And if you want a lot of delicious, healthy recipes that you can make in your own kitchen, just go to, click on recipes. And we'll be back after this break.


NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We have such a wonderful, we're having such a wonderful fall season. I think we're really lucky right now. So I am going to believe that our holiday season is going to be just as beautiful.

CASSIE: Power of positive thinking.

NIKKI: Exactly. And I just, it gets me thinking, you know, some people, you know, we start celebrating these holidays with cookies, chocolates, bars throughout the holidays, you know, and I think, you know, what do we like to do here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness and in our homes? We like to celebrate with home cooked meals and some healthy treats out of our Weight and Wellness cookbook, which is an amazing cookbook. To be quite honest, most of us need a support plan to stay on our healthy eating plan during the holiday season. So are you one of those people? Do you need support?

If so, please join others who are also looking for that extra help and sign up for the Nutrition for Weight Loss virtual class. That starts November 2nd. That's coming up pretty quick; and meets every Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 7:30 PM. And it’s for 12 weeks. Like so many of our former class participants, you're going to say “That was the best decision I made for my health.” So call our offices at (651) 699-3438 so you can get the support you need. And I just think what a great support, a weekly class and some, you know, a check-in during the holidays.

Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program

CASSIE: The best idea.

Client testimonials-pain reduction

NIKKI: And that class is amazing. I just think, wow, that's great. Do that. All right. So, you know, we're talking about inflammation and pain today, and I'd like to share some stories, some success stories with our listeners. So in 2012, one of our amazing clients named Madeline was a guest on our Dishing Up Nutrition show. And she shared that she gave up sugar and processed carbs and her back pain and her muscle spasms stopped. This inspiring real life story is on our Dishing Up Nutrition September 29th, 2012 podcast. So please, I encourage you to go listen to that; very informative amazing show; lots of information; inspirational if you have pain.

CASSIE: Oh my gosh. That story is just like miracle.

NIKKI: So what's remarkable about Madeline's story is she has been able to avoid back surgery.


NIKKI: Yes, because she changed her eating. And to this day she continues to be pain-free. So the power of real food. Another success story I have to share is Andrea's. After Andrea eliminated processed carbs and sugar from her diet and added in healthy protein, healthy fats, and loaded up on vegetable carbs, she was no longer struggling with sore, achy muscles. Not only that, but her cravings went away. So she, so that was like an unexpected, very positive side effect of changing how you're eating. So reduce pain, reduce cravings. Sign me up. We have some, a lot of other amazing client success stories on our website, I highly encourage you to go check them, especially if you have chronic pain and you need some inspiration. Go read some of those stories.

Just this week, one of my clients said, you know, I've really noticed since I've cut out processed carbs, my pain is gone. And I hadn't ever brought that up because we were working on something else. And he came to that conclusion on his own. And I was just like ah!

CASSIE: Right, the angels started singing. Oh my gosh. That reminds me, Nikki, of years back. Because I think I was in the Wayzata office. And I had a client and I forget the whole story, but I just remember her saying to me, she had figured out her pain before she even came to see me. And she came to see me for some different reason besides the chronic pain. But she had given up gluten and then her achy joints went away. And I remember asking her because this was before we found out we had to go gluten free in our family. But I said, was that really hard? Because I couldn't imagine at that time. And she said, “No, because now whenever I look at bread or bagels, I see pain.”


CASSIE: And I thought, well, that's a, that's a way to twist it, right? Yeah. Okay. So all the listeners by this point are well aware that the sugar, processed carbs can increase inflammation in your body. So the next question to ask yourself is, are you ready to cut back or maybe eliminate all together those foods from your diet; the sugar and the processed carbs that are causing the pain. I know for some people that is a whole lot easier said than done, but before the hour's over Nikki and I will be sharing some meal and recipe ideas that hopefully will help to get you started eating in a way that's not only delicious, but that will help you to start and ease that inflammation.

NIKKI: So Cassie, what is another food that people really love that unfortunately breaks down into a whole lot of sugar?

CASSIE: I am going to let you explain that one.

NIKKI: I'm going to, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is pizza.


NIKKI: It's hard to believe, but pizza actually contains a lot of sugar and manmade damaged fats.

CASSIE: So you get the double whammy.

NIKKI: Double whammy. And I, you know, and people say, “Sugar?” You know, “It's not sugary when I eat it.” Well they actually add sugar to the sauces and to the crust. So there is, and sometimes the meats too.

CASSIE: Not to mention all the white flour in the crust turns to sugar.

NIKKI: Yep. So you have that double whammy. So how many carbs and sugar are in pizza? Two slices of pizza has at least 45 grams of carbs, or when we're looking at those spoonfuls of sugar, 11 teaspoons of sugar, and it's all processed. And most of us let's be real, don't stop at two slices when we get pizza.

CASSIE: So no. So you're probably getting even more than those 11 spoonfuls of sugar. So, well, that really is a great lead into this article I came across in preparing for today's show. The title of the article is Pizza Sales Skyrocketing During COVID-19 Pandemic. And here's what this article states: it says, “The love for pizza has gone through the roof during the pandemic, whether it's getting them delivered, grabbing one from the freezer section or grabbing a slice to go, sales have skyrocketed.” And that's the end of the quote from that article. And, you know, we could probably spend a chunk of time talking about why, why did the pizza sales go through the roof? Maybe it's because restaurants shut down for a period of time. And so people started doing takeout instead. Maybe it's because the extra stress that the pandemic brought on made people turn towards comfort foods. And for some people that was pizza. I don't know. I think the reasons behind it can maybe vary, but the point is a lot of pizza has been consumed during the pandemic. So ask yourself, have your aches and pains increased during this COVID-19 pandemic? And if so, is it the pizza?

NIKKI: Pizza is a hard one for people to give up. I think that's one that I hear a lot with clients. And I think for myself too, you know, being a former pizza probably Friday night ritual person. So if you have a Friday night ritual of pizza, having pizza with you or your family, how do you break that habit? Think of it this way. So we have to just change that mindset. “If I eat pizza, my back is going to hurt. My knees are going to hurt. If I eat pizza, I might get a headache and feel really bloated.” So how are you going to break that habit? If you experience pain, headaches, or bloating, when you eat pizza, is it worth continuing that Friday night pizza ritual?

Healthy pizza recipe substitutes


As a dietitian, I want to offer some healthy pizza recipe alternatives because some of you are going, “But that's my family night. That's like our thing.” So we have a couple of pizza recipes on our website that provide some flavor of pizza without all the processed carbs and sugar. One recipe is called the Meat and Veggie Sheet Pan Pizza. And another one that's a great one on the website is Pizza Pocket Muffins.

CASSIE: And I'm glad you mentioned both of those because those are two of my family's favorite dinners. And I'll say too, what's really great about the Sheet Pan Pizza recipe is that if you have a child that's maybe still a little on the picky side, you can swap out veggies in that recipe. You know, I, I believe it calls for cauliflower for one of the vegetables. For example, you can put something else in: broccoli or whatever else you like in there instead of the cauliflower. And it's still going to turn out great. You really can't go wrong with that recipe. I just love it as well as the Pizza Pocket Muffin recipe. And I know there's also another pizza variation in our Weight and Wellness cookbook called the Deep Dish Pizza Pie. I always think I'm going to make that one. I just haven't gotten around to it yet, but I know a lot of people have told me that that's their favorite pizza recipe. So you have options and they all taste great.

NIKKI: Yeah, my clients that have done that recipe really love it. Any of these recipes would be a great substitute as a healthier pizza option. And for you pizza lovers, you don't, I know you don't want to feel deprived when you're giving up one of your favorite foods. So try one of these recipes, just, you know what, there's no harm in trying. And I really want to encourage you to try it with your family. You'd be surprised. They may love it too, because it's not the crust that makes us love pizza. It's the flavor. And these alternative recipes have the pizza flavor. And it's just, give it a try.

CASSIE: Yes. I agree with you because I will tell you my kids, you would think as a nutritionist at Nutritional Weight and Wellness or registered dietitian, my kids must eat just so very healthy. It has been a journey, you know, but you just got to keep trying and, and you'd be surprised at what, what the kids might gobble up.

Refined and hydrogenated oils cause inflammation


So let's talk a little bit here about what else might cause inflammation because certainly sugar processed carbs, you know, the pizza, the muffins, those are culprits, but there's other things too. And another category that can cause a lot of inflammation in our body is the refined, processed oils and hydrogenated oils. These are real troublemakers. And they're hiding in so many things in our food supply here in this country. So things like coffee creamers, the margarine spreads, most of the mayonnaises on the market, most of the bottled salad dressings. They all contain these highly refined oils that can cause inflammation and pain in our body.

So are you eating any of these things? Maybe you're getting that coffee creamer after church service. Maybe you don't have it in your house, but is it served at church? And so you're stirring it in your coffee. Maybe it's Sunday afternoons or Sunday evening when those aches and pains really rear their head. So again, start to make the connections. And read ingredient lists. You want to avoid eating products with corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil, especially if you already have pain in your body. And it's not just us at Nutritional Weight and Wellness saying this. I want to give you a quote from Robert Crayon, who is a nutritionist who's written a lot of great books. In his book called Nutrition Made Simple Robert Crayon states, “Margarine, vegetable shortening, and all hydrogenated oils promote inflammation.” And we, Nikki’s giving me the sign we have to go to another commercial.

You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. But before we break, I just want to say today, and I mean, really every Saturday we have about 40 minutes of show time once you subtract out the commercials to deliver our real food message, which today is all about how eating the right foods can help reduce pain and inflammation. 40 minutes is really only enough time to sort of get the tip of the iceberg. There's so much information on this topic. So to keep you moving in the right direction, I'd like to suggest that you look into our online class called Eating to Reduce Pain and Inflammation. It's only $25 and you'll get even more suggestions on how you can lessen that inflammation and lessen your pain levels. You can sign up for this online class and take it at your leisure at a time that works for you from the comfort of your own home by going to our website at, or you can call us at (651) 699-3438 and the front desk staff will help you get started. Stay tuned. We'll be right back.

Eating to Reduce Pain & Inflammation-online class


NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. As we mentioned earlier, 50 million adults are suffering with chronic pain. You may have tried everything; maybe chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, and pain pills, but have you tried eating the Weight and Wellness real food way? I challenge you to make an appointment and start eating an anti-inflammatory diet and see how you feel in three months. Set up three appointments and let's see if you are experiencing less pain and inflammation after those three appointments. Get ahold of your pain and try a new treatment called real food. Call 651-699-3438 to set up appointments at the times that work best for you.

Nutrition Counseling

And so before break Cassie was mentioning that we're not the only ones that are saying bad oils and sugar are causing inflammation. Robert Crayon said, you know, he said, promoting inflammation, the things that promote inflammation, excuse me, are those manmade fats. So like Cassie said, the refined oils, soybean, corn, canola, vegetable oils.

Anti-inflammatory fats


However, let's flip it and say, there are right kinds of fats that decrease inflammation. Butter’s anti-inflammatory; heavy whipping cream. By the way, butter's my favorite. Heavy whipping cream is anti-inflammatory. Avocado oil is anti-inflammatory. Coconut is anti-inflammatory. You're getting the picture, right? So there's a lot that are really healthy for you and anti-inflammatory. Olive oil is very anti-inflammatory. So stock your cupboards with these anti-inflammatory oils. Olive oil is actually written up in a lot of research articles as being anti-inflammatory for your body. I mean, you can, you've probably heard of the Mediterranean diet that's basis on that healthy olive oil fats and healthy, you know, the fatty fishes. Isn't it interesting to think about the fact that we can improve our joint health with healthy fats? I mean, that just is magical to me. Less pain, eat fat. Okay, sign me up.

CASSIE: And it works. We both know from personal experience and from clinical experience, it works. And just listening to you here, Nikki, and you're focusing on olive oil, it reminds me, my chiropractor told me, oh, it's probably been a couple of years ago now when he told me, but I still remember. He got diagnosed a couple years ago with Ankylosing Spondylitis. So if you're not familiar with that, short definition, it's an inflammatory type of arthritis that affects the spine. So it can be very painful. But my chiropractor wanted to go about it with an all natural approach. And he didn't want to be on any prescription or over the counter pain meds. So he went all anti-inflammatory, you know, 100% in terms of his diet. And one of the many things that was part of that diet that he was telling me about is every morning when he gets up, he has a couple of spoonfuls of extra-virgin olive oil just by the spoonful, just to be sure that he gets it in because we know from the research how anti-inflammatory that extra virgin olive oil is.

NIKKI: That’s awesome.

CASSIE: Yeah. Yeah. And he is at this point where he's, he's about two years in. He's controlling his pain. And from what I know, he doesn't have pain through his diet. So pretty amazing.

NIKKI: That's really amazing.

CASSIE: So, you know, on that note too, I should reiterate, I think you mentioned this earlier, Nikki, but I want to say it again, that if you are that have that mindset that thinks, “Oh, my, my mom has arthritis, so I'm just destined” or, or “Grandpa had arthritis so that's going to be, you know, my path; not true. The good news is when you get control of what you eat through eating real food, it can reduce the pain, reduce the inflammation in your joints and in other parts of your body as well. And I am betting all of you listening, I know I do want to be active well into your golden years. You want to continue to go for those walks, right? Or maybe some of you want to continue going for runs and lifting weights. For some of you, your goals are probably a bit simpler. Maybe you simply want to be able to stand up to do the dishes. Maybe you just want to be able to get out of a chair or up from the floor without pain. Whatever your goals are in terms of being active, these good fats that Nikki and I are talking about, if you're incorporating them on a daily basis, while at the same time, getting out those highly processed oils that we mentioned, these are tactics that are going to help you to stay active, whether you're young, middle aged or older.

NIKKI: The first step for you is to remove those inflammatory foods that we mentioned: sugar, processed carbs, man-made fats. Get them out of your diet and then start incorporating some of those anti-inflammatory foods into your eating plan. What are those anti-inflammatory foods you're probably asking? Simply, they're the grass fed meats, vegetables, and healthy fats. These are all anti-inflammatory. Think steak; think a half a cup of sweet potato with some butter on it. And then a whole pile of broccoli or asparagus with a little more butter on there, or olive oil, or however you want to do it; avocado oil and boom that's anti-inflammatory.

CASSIE: You just named one of my many favorite meals. And we are, I think it's Sunday night on my menu. We're having something very similar, but instead of steaks on the grill, we're having grass-fed burgers on the grill. Because when I was menu planning, I was looking at the weather and wow Sunday is going to be a great day for grilling. So really, yeah; the take home message here is that food matters and food can be so healing for us if we choose the right kind of food.

All that said, I want to dig into fats a little more before we reach the end of the hour. And I just want to give you a little bit of biochemistry. If you don't like science, don't get scared. Cause I'm not going deep here at all. But I know some people like to get that biochemical connection.

Why are healthy fats so important?


So when we think, why do we even need these healthy fats in our diet when it comes to pain and inflammation? Well, if we look at the biochemistry of it, if we were looking at the cells that make up our body and keep in mind, we are made up of trillions of cells, whether it's heart cells, skin cells, lung cells. If we were to look at those cells under a microscope, you would see that every cell has this outer protective coating. That's called the cell membrane. That outer protective coating is made up in large part of the fats that we're choosing to eat day in and day out. So if we're choosing the healthy fats, like the extra virgin olive oil and Nikki's favorite, the butter, then that outer protective membrane, that cell membrane is going to be strong. It's going to be pliable. It's going to allow communication to take place between the cells as it should. On the other hand, if we're eating mostly the refined vegetable oils, like the soybean oil and the corn oil, then that cell membrane, I always picture it as being kind of junky and crusty. It's not strong. The communication between cells is not happening as it should. And, and then in over time, the inflammation sets in because of that unhealthy cell membrane and the pain is soon to follow.

NIKKI: At this point, you're probably thinking, wow, that's a lot of healthy fat, a lot of different options. I want to highlight one more that we haven't mentioned and that important healthy fat is omega-threes. These are the fatty acids that are very anti-inflammatory and are critical to include in your diet and to help decrease inflammation and pain. So where do you get these omega 3s? You may have heard before, you know, one of my favorites is a fatty fish, wild caught salmon. It's a great way to get that omega-3 in. If you're kind of thinking “What are some other options”; chia seeds, walnuts, pasture, raised eggs, all are good sources of omega-3s. So how often are you actually eating fish like salmon, tuna, sardines in your diet? We have some really good recipes on our website and one of them on, if you're wondering what our website is, one of them is called, that I really like, it's the Asian Salmon Salad recipe. And so I think another amazing anti-inflammatory meal for anyone who suffers pain from pain and inflammation. And I am a huge promoter of omega-3s because of my history with concussion, think brain inflammation, think, you know, high cholesterol, that's heart inflammation. So omega-3s reduce that inflammation.

CASSIE: Yes. And if you don't like fish or you're not getting it on a daily basis, really think about adding an omega-3 fish oil supplement, especially if you suffer from chronic pain or inflammation. And for those clients that do have chronic pain, we typically recommend that you take a supplement somewhere between 3,000 and 9,000 international units per day.

NIKKI: Milligrams.

CASSIE: Is it milligrams; okay. Milligrams; 3,000 to 9,000. No, thank you. So Nutrikey Omega-3 1000 is my favorite. We also have a good one called Extra Strength Omega-3. And our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. Yes, it's a simple message, but it's a powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing. Thank you for joining us and have a great day.

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