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Joint Pain? Check your diet.

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If you are experiencing joint pain and are getting old I highly recommend taking a look at your diet. I talked with some members recently about how their stiffness and joint pain can be related back to the food they are eating.

If you are experiencing joint pain, be sure to take a look at what you are eating and check out the lists below for foods that cause more inflammation (foods to avoid) and which foods can help fight against it (foods to eat).

The foods on the “avoid” list are all inflammatory foods. For joints specifically, eating foods that cause more inflammation in your body will only make this pain worse.  Here are some foods to avoid:

  • Sugar – added sugar from processed foods like cookies, cake, candy, soda and juice increase the release of cytokines, an inflammatory messenger in the body
  • Unhealthy fat – increased intake of unhealthy fat (think processed snack food, donuts, hydrogenated oils) and development of adipose tissue worsens inflammation in the body
  • Refined carbohydrates – think french fries, white bread, rolls, crackers. These high-glycemic index foods fuel the production of advanced glycation end products that stimulate inflammation.
  • Gluten and Casein – gluten found in wheat, barley or rye products and casein found in dairy products are two highly inflammatory food products that can cause joint pain if your body is sensitive to them.
  • Aspartame –  Aspartame is an intense artificial sweetener found in more than 4,000 products worldwide. While it’s approved by the FDA, studies on its effects are mixed, and the impact on people with autoimmune disease are unknown. If you are sensitive to this chemical, your immune system may react to the “foreign substance” by attacking the chemical, which in return, will trigger an inflammatory response.
  • Alcohol – alcohol is a burden to the liver. Excessive use weakens liver function and disrupts other multi-organ interactions and can cause inflammation. It is best eliminated or used in moderation.

Once you start to eliminate or moderate these things it is important to add in foods that fight inflammation. These foods include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • High quality meat and fish (grass fed, wild caught)
  • Garlic
  • Tart Cherries
  • turmeric
  • Vitamin C rich foods (citrus fruits)

If you are experiencing joint pain and think it is just something you need to deal with because you are getting older, think again. Inflammation is directly related to gut health and there are nutritional modifications you can make to fight inflammation and joint pain.