5 Foods To Avoid That Could Be Making Your Joints Hurt

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By Jenna Barrington

Everything you put in your mouth has an effect on your body.

Although some people might try to convince you otherwise, your FOOD has a MAJOR influence on how you feel on a day to day basis! Not to mention how you will feel in a few years – or a decade.

Whenever you are feeling unpleasant or uncomfortable symptoms, it is a good idea to take a close look at your diet. What types of foods are you eating that could be triggering the symptoms?

When you are hurting, your body is trying to tell you something. If you learn to listen, you can learn to recognize what is putting your body in distress. When you get really good at listening, you will be able to stop symptoms from surfacing in the first place.

Something that is of major concern for a lot of people is JOINT PAIN.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 2 people are likely to develop some type of arthritis by the age of 85. Many people experience some sort of joint pain long before they reach that age. Around 52 million Americans in the U.S. have been diagnosed with arthritis, gout, lupus and/or fibromyalgia.

The statistics are not promising! But you will only become one of them if you continue following the masses in how you live your life and how you eat.

You can make the choice RIGHT NOW to either greatly reduce your symptoms or avoid them all together by taking a close look at what you eat and making some changes.

5 Food That Could Be Making Your Joints Hurt

#1. Corn, Safflower, Sunflower, Soybean And Cottonseed Oils


Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential fatty acids, which means your body cannot make them on its own. You must obtain these nutrients from your diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish, fish oils, nuts and seeds (especially flax-seeds and walnuts), sea vegetables, certain dark green vegetables (brussel sprouts, kale, purslane, parsley, spinach) and grass-fed beef.

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in nuts and seeds, nut and seed oils, refined vegetable oils, processed snacks, refined sweets and abundantly in fast foods.

For good health, you need to eat an even BALANCE of these two fatty acids. The problem is, the standard American diet is chock FULL of omega-6 fats, but much less so in omega-3’s (almost a 10:1 ratio in the average person!).

Omega-6 fatty acids tend to cause inflammation, while omega-3’s act as anti-inflammatories. Now you can understand why you need the two of these together to maintain good health.

Many nutritional experts consider this imbalance to be the root cause of many different disease and ailments, including joint pain.

What you can do instead: Instead of using cheap nut and seed based oils, try using coconut oil, ghee, organic butter, olive oil, etc. Also start adding more omega-3 rich foods to your diet such as wild caught fish and flaxseeds.

#2. Conventional Dairy Products


If you have an allergy (or even a mild sensitivity) to dairy products, your body will create histamine whenever you consume them.

Histamine is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body as a protection against infection. Histamine creates inflammation in the body necessary for helping with infection, but when you continue to eat foods that cause this allergic reaction, you can end up with an overabundance of inflammation in your joints and thus, joint pain.

Recent research has also linked the protein in dairy to being a main dietary culprit when it comes to arthritic inflammation. So, even if you don’t have a milk allergy, the protein in milk (even skim milk) could be causing your joint pain.

What you can do instead: Dairy can be a tough staple to avoid, but it is possible. Start by slowly weaning yourself off of dairy milk and using instead something like coconut, almond, hemp or cashew milk. Focus on getting your calcium and protein from other sources like vegetables, nut butters, lentils, etc.
Check out this article for 13 great alternatives to cow products!

#3. Sugar And Refined Carbs


Sugars and starches turn to sugar once digested in the body. Excessive sugar intake (common in the typical American diet) has been linked to inflammation, obesity and diabetes; all of which may be underlying causes of joint pain.

C-reactive protein (CPR) has been shown to be a major cause of inflammation. In small amounts, this protein is beneficial and occurs for good reasons. TOO much, however, can lead to serious problems.

Studies have shown that people who eat large amounts of high-glycemic foods (refined sugars, refined carbs, potatoes, breakfast cereals, white bread, white rice, white flour, etc.) also have dangerously high levels of CPR.

What you can do instead: Treat all refined sugars and carbohydrates as a treat and eat sparingly. Focus the bulk of your diet around proteins and healthy fats (both help to curb sugar cravings) and natural, simple sugars from fruits and vegetables.

#4. Salt And Preservatives


The average American eats a LOT of preserved and processed foods. Salt in moderation is not a problem and is even important to your health, but again, TOO MUCH is a problem and has been linked to inflammation in the joints and airways.

When your body is faced with excess sodium, your kidneys can’t eliminate it fast enough and a lot of the sodium can accumulate in your blood stream. This leads to higher blood volume, higher blood pressure and an increase of inflammation (due to the excess pressure on your joints).

Preservatives are often treated as a toxin inside the body and can also cause inflammation.

What you can do instead: Focus on eating more whole foods. Learn new habits in the kitchen. Start to reduce your intake of processed foods. Make more smoothies and juices to help cleanse and revitalize your system.

#5. Tomatoes

For some people, tomatoes have proven to be a trigger for inflammation and gout. Consumption of tomatoes can lead to high uric acid in the blood (the main cause of gout). Many tomato products also contain rich amounts of salt.

What you can do instead: Studies behind the specifics of why tomatoes may cause inflammation have varying results. The consensus is that SOME people experience a negative reaction to tomatoes (kind of like an allergy) and some people don’t. Consult with a physician if you have questions or simply try reducing the intake of tomatoes and tomato products to see if it makes a difference for you.


I am proud of you for doing your own research to try and solve your health problems! Doctors need more patients who are active in learning about their own bodies and discovering the type of diet/lifestyle that works best for them.

Many of our readers have been able to significantly reduce their joint pain by making small (or sometimes big) changes to their diets and lifestyles. The same is possible for you too.

Are there any big culprits missing from this list? What has helped you the most in overcoming inflammation and pain? Please share with us in the comments below!

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Jenna Barrington
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Jenna Barrington

Jenna Barrington is studying Therapeutic Nutrition and Holistic Medicine and aspires to be a practitioner, teacher and writer. She is passionate about education and helping others take control of their health.

Jenna lives with her husband in Utah and loves writing, cooking, green smoothies, training her dog, Japanese, spending time at the ocean, bungee jumping, walking barefoot in the grass and being with her family.
Jenna Barrington
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