By Cathy J Leer, PT, MBA
I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. It hardly seems possible that we were just ringing in the new year and making resolutions to live by in 2019, and now we are knee deep in fall sports and holiday preparation, which is what I’d like to talk about this month.
With the holiday season upon us, it’s hard not to think about Thanksgiving and all the fixin’s, including the “little slivers” of pie that fill up the whole plate! God forbid you not taste everything! Unfortunately, some of the best tasting dishes are the worst things for you when it comes to inflammation. That includes most things that end in “itis”. You know who I’m talking about. Good ole “Arthur” itis is the most common, but “Burs”-itis, and “Tendon”-itis are included as well. Inflammation contributes to pain and tenderness, which are usually present in these conditions.
Scientific studies have conclusively linked certain foods to chronic inflammation, with refined sugars and fried foods being at the top of the list. Eating a healthy diet of non-inflammatory foods can go a long way in alleviating some of these symptoms. Soda, which is high in sugar is highly inflammatory. In fact, “a study revealed that consuming a single sugary soda a day increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by a whopping 63%”!* In addition to avoiding sugar and fried foods, it is recommended that you avoid foods that are high in salt (sodium), like frozen foods.
(Cont. from page 1) Saturated fats are also one of the biggest contributors to increased inflammation. So ice cream, which is high in both saturated fats and sugar is another no-no. While we are on the subject of desserts, baked goods that contain partially hydrogenated oil (trans fats) are also inflammatory, and margarine, which is typically made from trans-fat falls into this category as well.
So, considering all the above, and knowing that Thanksgiving comes but once a year, my recommendations are to:
- Stay away from soda.
- If you want something sweet, try fresh apple cider.
- Roast your own turkey (although I love deep fried turkey).
- Make your own gravy using thickeners other than flour.
- Make stuffing out of whole grain or corn bread.
- Cook fresh vegetables seasoned with spices or fresh lemon, and
- Bake your own deserts using sweeteners other than refined sugar (try coconut sugar) and
- Stick with butter!
If you do that, you will be able to enjoy the holiday feast and then sit down and watch the football games without suffering a flare up of pain or tenderness.
Speaking of football, that brings us to the subject of fall sports. But instead of football, I want to say something about soccer. Girls’ soccer to be exact. A recent study performed at UNC, concluded that girls’ soccer had 8.19 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures, second only to football (10.4/10,000). Researchers concluded that heading the ball accounted for 25% of the cases whereas on field collisions and hitting their heads on the turf accounted for 50%. Some experts feel that “sub-concussive” trauma from repeated practice of heading the balls is a large factor in developing CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which is connected to symptoms like memory loss, headaches, depression, dementia and even suicide. Soccer players, as well as parents, should be aware of these facts, and consider safety precautions when playing.
All of us at FPTS want you and yours to enjoy the holidays. Eat healthy and play healthy. Stay in The Game we call LIFE.
If you have a child who has suffered a concussion, or you suspect the possibility of “sub-concussive’ trauma, make an appointment with Lauren Fournier PT, DPT, our Vestibular Rehab Therapist, by calling 603.644.8334. If you have questions about diet and inflammatory foods to avoid, we can recommend several dieticians. In fact, one of our most trusted colleagues, Courtney Eaton, RDN, LDN, from New England Nutrition Advisors, has written a guest article included in this edition. Check it out on page 4