berries for an anti-inflammatory diet

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet and How it can Help Costochondritis

What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet is simply a diet that consists of different foods that aid in decreasing inflammatory responses. If you want to follow this diet strictly, eat nutrient-rich, whole foods instead of refined and sugary foods.

It is important to include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, as they usually contain large amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants are reactive molecules in food that play a major role in decreasing the number of free radicals. The removal of free radicals from your body is essential because they can damage cells and also increase the chances of specific diseases occurring.

Even though other treatments and medication are effective for conditions that cause inflammation, studies show that adopting a diet with anti-inflammatory foods can also help.

What Are The Benefits Of An Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

Anti-inflammatory foods are very beneficial as they contain polyphenols and antioxidants, which are protective compounds. When we eat anti-inflammatory foods, the antioxidants present in these foods fight free radicals and protect the cells of our body from damage.

Foods to Eat on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

According to recent medical research, people who consume high amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, healthy oils, fish and seeds have a lower risk of developing inflammatory diseases. The nutrients present in foods such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties.

Foods rich in antioxidants include:

  • Cherries 
  • Berries, like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Artichokes
  • Leafy vegetables like spinach, collard greens, and kale
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Nuts, like walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Beans like red beans, black beans, and pinto beans
  • Dark chocolate made of 70% cocoa minimum
  • Whole grains, like brown rice and oats
  • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like oily fish, walnuts, flax seed, milk, and eggs

Apart from these, studies have shown that various spices and herbs, like ginger, garlic and turmeric aid in alleviating infections and inflammations. You can read more here about effective natural supplements, herbs, and spices for costochondritis.

What Foods To Avoid on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

Following are some foods that you should avoid while you are following an anti-inflammatory diet:

  • Processed meaty foods
  • Drinks with high sugar content
  • Fried items that contain trans fats
  • Gluten
  • Vegetable oil and soybean oil
  • Processed items, like crackers and chips
  • Cookies, candies, ice creams, and other desserts
  • Excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Foods rich in carbohydrates 

It is believed that foods that belong to the nightshade category, such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplants can play a role in triggering inflammatory diseases. However, there is no solid proof that can confirm the validity of this theory. Nightshade foods should be eliminated from the diet for at least three weeks or more before you notice any considerable improvements in symptoms.

Tips For Following An Anti-Inflammatory Diet 

If you are a person who loves to enjoy a variety of foods, then pursuing an anti-inflammatory diet may be a serious challenge for you. Here are a few things you can do that can help you switch from your normal diet to an anti-inflammatory diet more easily:

  • Consume a variety of vegetables and fruits
  • Minimize the intake of fast food 
  • Avoid sugary drinks, carbonated beverages, and soda
  • Make a list of healthy snacks and meals that should be bought when going shopping
  • Carry snacks that have anti-inflammatory nutrients whenever going out
  • Increase water intake
  • Keep track of the daily calorie needs of your body
  • Add supplements like turmeric, ginger, and omega-3 to your diet
  • Make a habit of working out, stretching, or doing yoga daily
  • Getting an adequate amount of sleep 

What is Costochondritis?

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage that causes pain in the chest area. This pain can be mild or severe. In mild cases, the chest will feel tender to the touch. Sometimes, the pain can only be felt when pushing on the chest cartilage. Severe cases often result in unbearable pain and require treatment.

Below are symptoms of Costochondritis:

  • Pain that usually worsens during a cough or when you take a deep breath
  • Pain that feels like pressure, aching or sharp
  • Occurs on your breastbone (left side usually)
  • Pain usually affects more than one rib

You can read more about the symptoms of Costochondritis here.

Can An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Help Costochondritis?

If you are suffering from costochondritis, then opting for an anti-inflammatory diet (a diet that eliminates foods that cause inflammation and includes foods that reduce inflammation) can help reduce the effects of this condition. 

Inflammation caused in Costochondritis can be reduced by consuming foods rich in flavonoids, which include strawberries, blueberries, spinach, papaya, and fresh pineapple. You also need to eliminate junk foods, sugar and soft drinks from your diet.

Though changing your diet can be quite an undertaking, some people have reported improvements to their costochondritis symptoms by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. When the alternative is living with chronic pain, it can be worth trying just about any reputable treatment for a little while. If other treatments have not worked for you, and you have a poor diet, making a change in this area will likely improve your health and may improve your costochondritis symptoms as well.

Please consult your physician before making any significant changes to your diet and be sure to consider interactions with any ongoing treatments.

Have you tried the anti-inflammatory diet? Did it have any effect on your costochondritis? Please leave a comment below.

10 thoughts on “The Anti-Inflammatory Diet and How it can Help Costochondritis”

  1. Yes it does I’ve stopped eating processed food, sugar , rice , flour etc and I’m feeling a little better

    • Hi shaina, ive had costo for 3,5 years now. i have only recently figured out it was costo though.. personally thought i was having heart attacks or broken ribs/flail chest. stretching can really help out tho. i have ordered the backpod yesterday and it will arrive thursday. i hope this will help me deal with the pain.

      • Hi, has the pod helped? And what foods really help with swelling on the left breast because of costo. I thought i was having a heart attack too one time since the pain was really bad and i also had heart palpitations.

    • Yes not only ribs the stomach and back diagnosed with ilupus as well and pain is excruciating and debilitating. It’s sporadic and sudden.bending or stretching causes spasms and cramps .I am trying to experiment with food to cut out process food hope it works.good luvk

  2. I was diagnosed w Costco in 1981. Hard to breathe at times. Had to have cortisone injections into rib connections t. Pain is too terrible to describe. Cortisone treatment effective but has too many very bad side effects shouldn’t be used long term same for pain meds. Easy yo get addicted to them. Blood tests for HLA-B27, CRP , good indicators of inflammation Sed rate test many time won’t show problem! See great Rheumatologist & Orthopaedic Dr.for help. NYC see Hosp Special Surgery or call ur state or County health department for referrals.

    • Hello Peter,
      I recently was diagnosed with this condition and have had a couple of the steroid shots in my ribs. It does take it away. But it only last a few months and comes back. Have you found any other treatment that has helped you??

  3. I’ve had Costo for a while….exercising and certain foods help, it comes on unexpectantly and is quite scary with a sharp pain to the top left of my chest and that area is then quite sore to touch afterwards.


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