The Surprising Connection between Food & Chronic Pain

by Olin Idol, N.D., C.N.C.

Image via Hallelujah Diet
Image via Hallelujah Diet

Most of us never give a second thought to inflammation unless we get a bee sting, experience a physical injury such as stubbing our bare toe on a piece of furniture, or injure our back. As soon as one of these events takes place, we experience an immediate sensation of pain that tells us something is definitely wrong. Redness, heat and swelling usually follow almost immediately. This immediate painful reaction is a result of inflammation.

Unfortunately, the most devastating diseases know to man – cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and the list goes on – are almost always preceded by months and years of very subtle, unnoticed chronic inflammation. Inflammation is good when an acute injury is experienced with the swelling and pain limiting the range of motion allowing the body to heal. However, when chronic inflammation continues for years, it becomes destructive and may lead to manifestation of various diseases. Almost all diseases are preceded by and accompanied with chronic inflammation long before the pain is experienced.

In his book, Inflammation Nation, Floyd H. Chilton, Ph.D. provides us with some interesting insights into inflammation. He discusses inflammation in the sense of it being a “double edged sword” – both a helper and a villain. While inflammation is great when it serves as a warning signal as in the stubbed toe illustration, it becomes a villain when initiated by diet and lifestyle and subtly begins an uncontrolled destructive process in the body that goes unnoticed for decades until a disease of inflammation is manifested.

Dr. Chilton states, “We are unquestionably facing an epidemic in inflammatory disease. By my estimate, approximately half of all Americans suffer from an inflammatory disorder, and even more of us are at risk.

“By contrast, (contrasting the infectious diseases of the previous century that have been almost entirely eradicated with inflammatory diseases of today) noninfectious inflammatory diseases have gotten worse in each of the last three decades. A physician friend of mine jokes that Celebrex has replaced Prozac as the ‘must-have’ drug of the decade.

“A silent plague is sweeping American, and the vast majority of us are at risk. . . . I believe that our diet is a major – if not the most important – external factor behind the inflammation epidemic.” (Inflammation Nation, Floyd H. Chilton, Ph.D., 2006, Fireside, New York, NY)

The human body is designed to function optimally, disease free on a whole food, plant-based diet. Tragically today, most Americans and the rest of the industrialized world ‘exist’ on a diet devoid of raw living whole plant foods and essential nutrition. They consume a diet of ‘food stuff’ made from highly processed, nutritionally deficient, toxic ingredients, and damaged fats labeled as food. ‘Food Stuff’ that promotes inflammation often beginning immediately after birth as an infant being placed on a man-made formula in place of mother’s breast milk.

An ideal diet should be rich in whole plant-based foods (organically grown when possible) with a high percentage of the food being consumed raw. An optimal diet will be rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, essential fats, phyto nutrients, etc that are not only alkaline forming but anti-inflammatory, exhibiting excellent antioxidant benefit – thus keeping inflammation under control and promoting a healthy, pain free body that will serve you well into old age adding years to your life and life to your years.

Are there certain nutrients or dietary factors that help control chronic inflammation that leads to chronic pain? Many compounds in our fruits and vegetables such as allicin, carotenoids, anti-estrogens, flavonoids, sterolins, vitamins, minerals and hundreds of other elements protect our cells and tissues from free radical damage and the host of other bi-products of metabolic functions while providing optimal nutrition and inhibiting inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids as found in our flax seed, flax seed oil, and walnuts provide powerful protection against excessive inflammation and have been shown by Dr. Johanna Budwig to support the body when battling arthritis, heart infarction, cancer, and other diseases.

I’m confident that the benefits of these many phytonutrients is why Prescription For Nutritional Healing recommends a diet composed of 75 percent raw foods and plenty of juices as one means of preventing excessive inflammation. Is it any wonder most folks following the Hallelujah Diet see such improvement in pain after making the dietary change?

About the Author: Olin Idol, N.D., is Vice President of Health for Hallelujah Diet, a comprehensive, preventative system empowering people to take charge of their health by activating the body’s self-healing powers. He earned his ND degree from Trinity School of Natural Health, and is a Certified Nutritional Consultant (CNC) designation by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. For more information, visit .

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