What Foods Cause Joint Pain?

With arthritis, the constant pain and stiffness often lead the body to be in a state of stress or
With arthritis, the constant pain and stiffness often lead the body to be in a state of stress or "inflammation." Foods that cause joint pain include heavily processed foods, red meat, foods high in sugar, fried foods, alcohol and foods rich in MSG, refined carbohydrates, gluten and purines.

For people who suffer from arthritis, the constant pain and stiffness often lead the body to be in a state of stress or “inflammation.” In these cases, some food may aggravate the inflammation or relieve it. Hence, along with taking medications, people must restrict some types of food.

The most common causes of joint pain are

Other causes of joint pain are quite rare and may include

What food causes joint pain?

The following food types cause or increase joint pain:

  • Heavily processed foods: Processed and pre-packaged foods contain preservatives. Frequent intake of such preserved food may cause systemic inflammation in the body. These foods often lose essential nutrients during processing and are generally high in sugars and fats.
  • Red meat: Red meat contains a high amount of saturated fats. The meat grilled at high temperature 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 in the body, 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 leads to weight gain and increases pressure on the joints. This also increases the risk of heart disease and blood pressure.
  • Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in grains, such as wheat, oats. Some people suffer from gluten intolerance, which means their bodies cannot digest gluten properly. This causes 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 impact on arthritis and overall health.

Anti-inflammatory foods include

  • Steamed or grilled lean proteins such as like 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 are the other factors that relieve joint pain?

The following healthy practices can help alleviate joint pain:

  • Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day.
  • Follow a diet, such as Mediterranean-style diet, to reduce inflammation and decrease the symptoms of arthritis, risk of heart disease, blood pressure and help manage weight and curb joint pain.
  • Increase 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 the bone and joints.
  • Good sleep habits also help reduce inflammation and stress in the body. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night is preferred for people seeking to reduce inflammation in the body.


What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)? Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis See Slideshow
Observer: "6 Foods to Reduce Inflammation Caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis." https://observer.com/2017/12/6-foods-to-reduce-inflammation-and-pain-caused-by-rheumatoid-arthritis/

Arthritis Relief Centers: "6 Inflammatory Foods That Can Make Your Arthritis Worse." https://arthritisrelieftx.com/these-foods-can-make-your-arthritis-worse/

The University of Chicago Medical Center: "What Foods Cause or Reduce Inflammation?" https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/gastrointestinal-articles/what-foods-cause-or-reduce-inflammation