Joint pain is a condition caused by the inflammation of joints and is usually associated with arthritis. The inflammation and pain occur around the joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and muscle; and is dependent on several factors including family history, age, gender and weight. There are also some types of food that stimulates inflammation, so it’s best to avoid the following types to manage joint pain.
Gluten and wheat
These incite an inflammatory response especially for those who have gluten / wheat intolerances; a leaky gut or ‘intestinal permeability’ is also often associated with joint pain. The body responds by triggering inflammation when gluten is consumed, which affects the joints. Studies have shown that people who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and were gluten intolerant had less joint pain when they avoided food with high amounts of gluten.
Dairy products contain a type of protein called casein that can irritate the tissue around the joints and cause inflammation. If you suffer from arthritis, it’s advisable to consume alternative sources of protein from vegetables (lentils, spinach, beans) and tofu, rather than dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt.
Corn oil or any type of food with a high amount of omega-6 fatty acids can trigger inflammation. This also includes oils made from sunflower seeds, canola, grapeseed and cottonseed, or any products (baked goods and snacks) that have been made using any of these oils. Always read food labels if you’re unsure.
Fried and processed foods
Besides being bad for health in general, fried and processed food cause inflammation due to the high levels of salt, fat and preservatives. Corticosteroids, which are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, causes the body to retain sodium, which is found in canned and ready-made convenience food.
Solanaceae vegetables contain solanine – a glycoalkaloid produced by certain plants that acts as a natural defence against disease, herbivores and insects. The solanine compound is found in vegetables like eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes, and it can cause inflammation and physiological reactions for arthritis sufferers.
Processed sugar produces cytokines – a group of glycoproteins, peptides and proteins that mediate, stimulate and regulate inflammation, immunity and haematopoiesis (production of blood cells). Sugar is the common term used for ingredients like fructose, glucose, sucrose, lactose, maltose and amongst others. Less sugar should be consumed for overall good health so make sure you read food labels.
Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to many types of illnesses and health problems, including inflammation. According to Karen Costenbader, a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a limited amount of alcohol consumption can reduce biomarkers of inflammation. Drinking too much alcohol increases the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body and CRP is known as a strong proponent of inflammation.
Red meat contains high levels of saturated fat which contributes to obesity and intensifies inflammation. It also contains omega-6 fatty acids that also cause inflammation of the joints if too much is consumed. Many people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis cut out red meat from their diets with positive results in pain management.
Fats and oils
Not all fats are bad. In fact, some fats are needed by the body to balance our diet. To reduce inflammation, limit or avoid certain types of fat like saturated fats, omega-6 fatty acids and trans fats. Saturated fat is the most common and is found in food like butter, cheese and meat. Arthritis sufferers need to also watch their cholesterol levels and cut down on unhealthy fats to avoid the risk of heart disease.
This artificial sweetener replaces sugar in many carbonated drinks and snacks, and can be found in more than 4,000 food products. It’s 200 times sweeter than refined sugar and it’s widely used by the food industry as a sugar replacement. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but some people react to it, causing the immune system to trigger an inflammatory response.
This article has been republished with permission from Hello Doktor.