For people who have arthritis, the constant pain and stiffness can sometimes lead the body to be in a state of stress or what we refer to as “inflammation.” In such cases, different types of food may upset the inflammation. Therefore, taking medication can often help as can restricting (or eliminating) different types of food.
The most common causes of joint pain are
- Overuse injuries
- Osteoarthritis (most common)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Other causes of joint pain are quite rare and may include
- Rickets (bones soften and deform because of vitamin D deficiency)
- Bursitis (inflammation of the bursa), often specific to certain professions
- Tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon) due to improper use of joints, poor posture, hypothyroidism, diabetes, vitamin D deficiency.
- Fibromyalgia (pain in the muscles and joints throughout the body)
What food causes joint pain?
The following food types cause or increase joint pain:
- Heavily processed foods: Processed and pre-packaged foods contain preservatives. These foods often lose essential nutrients during processing and are generally high in sugars and fats. Frequent intake of such preserved food may cause systemic inflammation in the body.
- Red meat: Red meat contains a high amount of saturated fats, and grilled at high temperatures increases the number of harmful compounds that cause advanced glycation end products (AGEs) to form in the body. These are proinflammatory and often incite inflammation, especially in the joints and circulatory system.
- Food high in sugar and processed sugar: Sugar triggers the release of cytokines, which are inflammatory messengers that contribute to inflammation and swelling of the joints. Corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, and maltose are different forms of processed sugar that increase joint pain.
- Fried foods: The amount of salt, fat, and calories increase drastically in fried food. This can lead to weight gain and increases pressure on the joints.
- Gluten: Gluten is a protein in grains, such as wheat and oats. Some people suffer from gluten intolerance, which means their bodies cannot digest gluten properly. This can cause inflammation of the digestive system and joints.
- Foods rich in purine: Bacon, beef, organ meats, mutton, and some seafood (such as prawns and shrimp, sardines, herring, mussels) are high in purines. These may precipitate the episodes of gouty arthritis in susceptible people.
- Refined carbohydrates: White flour products, white rice, and white potatoes that have been processed or refined contain high amounts of AGEs. These foods contribute to weight gain that puts additional stress and pressure on joints.
- MSG: Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a compound used to enhance the flavor of a dish. This affects inflammation pathways and stimulates widespread inflammation and swelling throughout the body, including the joints.
- Alcohol: Many studies have shown that people who drink alcohol have a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than those who abstained from drinking. Alcohol also has a high purine content, which may precipitate an episode of gouty arthritis.
What food relieves joint pain?
Eating a balanced diet and having a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and abstaining from smoking and alcohol can have a huge (positive) impact on arthritis and overall health.
Anti-inflammatory foods include
- Steamed or grilled lean proteins including chicken, quail, salmon, and cod
- Fresh fruits and brightly-colored fresh vegetables
- Dark leafy green vegetables
- Green tea
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Legumes and beans
- Spices, especially turmeric and ginger
What else can help relieve joint pain?
The following healthy practices can help alleviate joint pain:
- Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day.
- Follow an eating plan such as the Mediterranean-style diet to reduce inflammation and decrease the symptoms of arthritis, risk of heart disease, and blood pressure.
- Increase your daily fiber intake.
- Eat food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin C and D, and other essential nutrients to improve the health of your bones and joints.
- Good plenty of sleep. Sleep helps reduce inflammation and stress in the body. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
About Dr. Bagwe
Dr. Bagwe is a leading orthopedic surgeon specializing in ankle and foot reconstruction. If you are looking for an orthopedic surgeon near you then look no further. Dr. Bagwe is an industry leader when it comes to foot and ankle surgery doctors in St. Louis. Dr. Bagwe and his friendly and professional team is ready to welcome you and tell you everything you need to know.
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