Joint pain refers to discomfort, inflammation and soreness in any of the joints in your body. It is a very common problem, and can occur in anybody, irrespective of age and gender. This kind of pain can be acute or chronic and may be mild or severe, making it impossible to use your joint.
Arthritis and gout are the two main causes of joint pain. It can also result from muscle strains, broken or dislocated bones, bursitis, fibromyalgia, leukemia, and lupus.
Whatever the cause, joint pain can be managed with medication, exercise or alternative medicines. Diet also plays a key role in managing joint pain.
While there are many anti-inflammatory foods like ginger, turmeric and garlic that can help fight pain, there are also certain foods that trigger pain.
If you suffer from joint pain, you need to avoid certain foods that may trigger inflammation and pain.
1. Processed and Red Meat
Both of them have chemicals including purines and nitrites which significantly increase the pain and inflammation in the body.
Processed foods are loaded with toxins so called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), that increase the inflammation in the body. According to a study from 2014, published in the Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences, the red-meat glycan increases development of inflammation and progression of cancer.
Yet another study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has drawn a parallel between the consumption of red meat and the markers of inflammation. It suggests that you should replace the consumption of processed and red meat with more fresh fruits and vegetables.
2. Artificial and refined Sugars
High amounts of sugar also increase the level of AGEs in the body that cause inflammation. In addition, sugar triggers the release of inflammatory agents called cytokines in the body.
Being high in calories, excess sugar intake also leads to weight gain, which puts more pressure on your joints and increases pain.
Sugar-sweetened soft drinks, too, are not good for your body. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened soda increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women, independent of other dietary and lifestyle factors.
Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, pre-sweetened cereals, fruit drinks and punches as well as sugar-loaded foods like pastries, candy and snacks.
Instead of refined sugar and artificial sweeteners, opt for natural sweeteners like stevia, honey or blackstrap molasses.
3. Dairy Products
Dairy products may contribute to arthritis pain due to the type of protein they contain. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, for some people this protein may irritate the tissue around the joints. Some sufferers of arthritis pain have success switching to a vegan diet—which contains no animal products whatsoever.
What you can do: Rather than getting protein from meat and dairy, get the bulk of your protein sources from vegetables like spinach, nut butters, tofu, beans, lentils, and quinoa.
4. Corn Oil
Many baked goods and snacks contain corn or other oils high in omega-6 fatty acids. While these treats may satisfy your taste buds, they may trigger inflammation. Some studies have looked at the pain-relieving effects of omega-3s on individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, and have found that fish oil, which contains omega-3s, may help with joint pain relief in certain people.
What you can do: Replace foods containing omega-6 fatty acids with healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 alternatives such as olive oil, nuts, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
5. Refined Flour and Grains
Refined grains and flour are also pro-inflammatory agents and can increase your joint pain. These high-glycemic index foods trigger the production of AGEs that stimulate inflammation.
A 2013 study published in Nutrients highlights the role of daily consumption of wheat products and other related cereal grains in the manifestation of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
Moreover, these grains are devoid of fiber and vitamin B and contain empty calories. Regular intake of these products can even increase the risk of degenerative diseases like cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes.
Instead of refined grain products like white bread, white pasta, and white rice, try whole-grain, almond or coconut flour. Also, swap white rice with brown rice.
Regular consumption of eggs can trigger increased swelling and pain in the joints. It’s the yolks that trigger inflammation in the body because they contain arachidonic acid that produces prostaglandins, inflammatory agents.
They also contain saturated fat, another inflammation agent. When choosing eggs for breakfast, remove the yolks and eat just the egg whites.
7. Whey Protein
Whey protein products may also promote inflammation and joint pain due to the gluten and casein found in them.
Casein is a kind of protein that leads to production of uric acid in the body. Too much uric acid can lead to pain and inflammation in the body, including the joints. Joint pain due to uric acid, known as gout, can be severe and can do lasting damage to the joints.
People who have sensitivity to gluten can suffer from chronic inflammation causing widespread pain. In fact, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry notes that a gluten-free diet reduces adiposity, inflammation and insulin resistance.
Instead of whey protein supplements, opt for healthy sources of lean protein like beans, nuts and seeds.
8. Refined Salt
Know what’s in your food. Many foods contain excessive salt and other preservatives to promote longer shelf lives. For some people, excess consumption of salt may result in inflammation of the joints. It may be worth trying to reduce your salt intake to as modest an amount as is reasonable.
What you can do: Read the label to avoid preservatives and additives. Less salt may help you manage your arthritis, so avoid prepared meals. Though they’re convenient, microwavable meals are often very high in sodium.
9. Foods with Monosodium Glutamate
MSG is a food additive for flavor enhancing found in packages foods such as, frozen snacks, potato chips, frozen dinners, frozen Chinese food, soups and store-bought salad dressings.
It can also cause pain and inflammation in the body, especially in the joints. This artificial type of additive is especially harmful for those who suffer from inflammations including rheumatoid arthritis.
Practice eating fresh food, prepared at home because most of the frozen and packaged foods contain artificial additives such as MSG.
Along MSG, avoid foods that contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener that can cause inflammatory response.
Excessive consumption of beer as well as other alcoholic beverages is not good for your joints. In fact, heavy beer drinkers are at a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis as well as gout.
Beer is high in purine that the body converts to uric acid, which can cause inflammation. Also, beer is made with gluten, so it is best to avoid it when suffering from joint pain. Moreover, the other toxins in beer can cause significant harm to your body.
So, try to limit your intake of beer and alcoholic beverages.