There are certain foods that can either increase or decrease inflammation in the body. People with joint pain are often looking to do the latter, but they seldom realize that they are eating foods that worsen symptoms of arthritis, general joint pain, gout, or osteoporosis. Rather than contributing to the problem, you can help yourself by avoiding foods that induce joint pain.
Anti-inflammatory foods are abundant in the plant-based world. Ginger, turmeric, garlic, green leafy vegetables, blueberries, chia seeds, and fermented vegetables are all beneficial for preventing joint pain. These are great to add to your diet, but they don’t do you any good if you are eating the foods that trigger inflammation. You should avoid the following foods if you have joint pain.
Things like potatoes, bread, anything with white flour, crackers, most cereals, or white rice are all refined carbohydrates, most of which are heavily processed. Consuming these foods has been linked to increased AGE production, which increases a person’s risk of chronic age-related conditions such as arthritis. Additionally, refined carbs have a high glycemic index, which can increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. For help on getting more carbs from plant-based foods, click here.
Americans love dairy products and some people think that drinking milk is actually healthy. The reality is that dairy products contain casein, which is a protein that can irritate joint tissue. Full-fat dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese contain saturated fats that contribute to fat-tissue inflammation, ultimately increasing joint pain. Try opting for non-dairy products and you may even consider switching to a vegan diet.
Omega-6 fatty acids are healthy when consumed in moderation, but excessive omega-6 consumption can induce inflammatory responses in the body. Oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids include canola, sunflower, safflower, and soybean. It is better to consume extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, or virgin coconut oil, all of which have omega-3 fatty acids and are natural anti-inflammatory.
Many people can’t lay off the sweets. Cakes, cookies, donuts, chocolate bars, or candy is ever-present and some find it hard to resist the temptation. Most of these items contain processed sugars, which trigger cytokines (inflammatory messengers). Excess sugar in the body puts added pressure on your joints and can contribute to weight gain. Additionally, consuming sugary soft drinks or beverages with artificial sweeteners can increase your risk of arthritis. Try to opt for natural sweeteners like stevia, raw agave, or blackstrap molasses.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
This is a food additive that is used to enhance the flavor of certain foods. It is commonly found in Asian foods, but it is also found in processed foods, salad dressings, deli meats, soup mixes, and fast food meals. MSG notoriously causes inflammation and general joint pain, and is especially harmful to those who already have gout or rheumatoid arthritis. Try to purchase fresh foods, which you prepare at home, and avoid buying frozen or processed foods, which often contain artificial flavors.