11 Foods That Trigger Joint Pain

Feature | people eating pizza | Foods That Trigger Joint Pain | anti inflammatory

Manage joint pain better by avoiding these 11 inflammation- and pain-inducing foods.

11 Foods and Ingredients to Avoid for Pain-Free Joints

1. Sugar

Scientific evidence confirms the link between high consumption of sugar and higher levels of inflammatory markers.

A study on 29 healthy people showed that the intake of just 40 grams of added sugar from one 375 ml can of soda a day led to an elevated number of inflammatory markers, higher LDL cholesterol, insulin resistance, and weight gain.

Another study on overweight and obese people found that the daily intake of regular soda in the span of six months resulted in an increased level of uric acid which triggered inflammation and insulin resistance.

Consuming a high amount of sugar can raise inflammation levels and this effect can continue for a considerable duration.

For example, 30 minutes after ingesting 50 grams of fructose, inflammatory markers such a C-reactive protein (CRP) are elevated. This spike lingers for over two hours.

When making food choices it’s important to keep an eye out for other types of sugar that may be hiding in your food like fructose and sucrose. Cut sugar, cut inflammation—it’s smart to favor your joints over your sweet tooth.

Inflammatory Markers Definition: proteins in the blood that respond to inflammation.

LDL Cholesterol Definition: aka low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or bad cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with increased heart disease risks.

2. Processed Meat

processed meat on table | Foods That Trigger Joint Pain | anti inflammatory
Plate full of processed meats

Unfortunately, your love for bacon sausages, ham, and beef jerky might be contributing to the inflammation and pain in your joints.

There are more advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in processed meat than other types of meats.

AGEs are harmful compounds formed through the process of glycation—the combination of protein or fat with sugar in the bloodstream. Foods exposed to high temperatures can also form AGEs.

In moderation, AGEs are no problem since the body has its way of eliminating them. Consumed in high amounts, the body might not be able to keep up and they will accumulate.

High levels of AGEs have shown to cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

3. Refined Grains

Just like sugar, refined grains are sometimes called “empty calories.” This is because they have been stripped of almost all vitamins, minerals, and fiber in contrast with whole grains which have high amounts of dietary fiber and nutrients.

Refined or processed grains have a higher glycemic index. This means, when digested, they convert rapidly into glucose, a form of sugar, raising blood sugar levels, causing a spike in the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which as mentioned earlier, promote inflammation.

Having moderate portions of whole or cracked grains and minimized intake of foods made with flour (refined grain) can help manage joint pain and inflammation.

It’s important to note though that whole wheat flour and whole wheat bread are not whole or cracked grains despite their names.

Glycemic Index Definition: A relative ranking of carbs in food based on how fast the body converts them into glucose.

4. Artificial Trans Fats

donuts on display | Foods That Trigger Joint Pain | arthritis
Trans-fat heavy sweets

If there’s one thing dietitians all agree with, it’s that trans fats are the unhealthiest fats one can eat.

Trans fatty acids are a form of unsaturated fats made by adding hydrogen molecules into vegetable oils. The industrial process to make these fats involves high pressure, hydrogen gas, and a metal catalyst.

This is done to make the oils solid at room temperature, to give them a longer shelf life, and to achieve the same consistency as saturated fats.

Research shows that trans fats are a major driver of inflammation. In fact, studies have shown that trans fats boost inflammatory markers like IL-6 and TNF alpha.

You’ll find trans fats in fast foods, fried products, processed snack foods, cookies, donuts, frozen breakfast foods and a lot more. Also, steer clear from foods with “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredient labels.

5. Saturated Fats

Do you love pizza or cheese? Well, according to the National Cancer Institute, these two are the biggest sources of saturated fats in the average American diet.

Indulging in pizza, full-fat dairy products, grain-based desserts, and other food with high saturated fat content can trigger and worsen joint pain. This is because saturated fats can induce fat tissue inflammation.

6. Red Meat

red meat steak | Foods That Trigger Joint Pain | arthritis
Cut of red meat

Many cuts of red meat have high levels of saturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids. High intakes of these two compounds can exacerbate inflammation leading to increased joint pain.

Some rheumatoid arthritis patients reported having improved symptoms after avoiding red meat in their diets.

But, red meat is a good source of protein and other nutrients. Choose leaner cuts instead.

RELATED: 15 Natural Anti-Inflammatory Foods And Herbs

7. Alcohol

Currently, there are no clear-cut conclusions on the effect of alcohol on rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, some studies have found that moderate consumption of it is actually beneficial.

In 2010, Swiss researchers studied 2900 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients to learn the role of alcohol in the progression of the illness. It turns out, drinking alcohol in moderation can slow down RA’s progression.

In 2012, BMJ also published a study with the same conclusion—the risk of having rheumatoid arthritis cut in half if they drink three glasses of alcohol per week.

Anything beyond moderation is dangerous. Drinking too much alcohol can elevate the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body according to a 2009 Alcohol and Alcoholism research—not too good for aching joints.

8. Excessive Salt

salt shaker | Foods That Trigger Joint Pain | inflammation
Standard table salt

While salt isn’t directly linked to pain, high levels of salt in the body can indirectly inflict pain. How?

Salt intake can allow water retention in body tissues. As this water builds up, the pressure can press on nerves and joints, impairing their function and increasing pain.

9. Preservatives

Preservatives can prolong the shelf life of various foods. Chemical like nitrates, nitrites, benzoates, monoglycerides, and sulfites can prevent food from spoiling quickly.

As a result, though, these preservatives have consequential effects on a person’s health. For example, several studies have linked some of these preservatives to chronic pain.

Making your own food at home is a great way of being in full control of your diet as you can carefully choose your ingredients.

10. Eggs

fried eggs being cooked | Foods That Trigger Joint Pain | inflammation
Eggs frying on a grill

While we are yet to settle the debate over the role of eggs in a man’s diet, there is data linking high consumption of eggs to increased inflammation and joint pain.

The yolk of the egg especially has arachidonic acid—a substance that produces the inflammation-inducing compound prostaglandin. Eggs also have saturated fats which as you already know can worsen joint pain.

11. Dairy Products

Many dairy products contain a high level of casein. This is a type of protein that can trigger inflammation and pain in the joints, and may even cause some irritation around the joints.

Some dairy products, like butter, have a high amount of saturated fats, which are another culprit for joint pain and inflammation.

As alternatives, you can try consuming soy milk and almond milk instead.

 

Learn the foods you should avoid to prevent unnecessary pain and inflammation from DailyHealthPost:

Joint pain can be extremely debilitating. While there is currently no absolute cure for arthritis, planning your diet carefully can help manage the condition.

It is also important for adults to consume a healthy mix of daily Vitamins. We recommend this Vitamin D3 supplement.

Have you been avoiding any of these foods lately? Tell us about how that helped with your joint pain in the comments section below! 

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