Joint discomfort may easily interfere with your quality of life. Pain in your knees, shoulders, or hips might be enough to make you want to crawl back into bed. Joint discomfort is more prevalent if you have a history of injury, overuse certain joints via job or activity, or are overweight. Your mental health can also cause joint pain, especially if you suffer from despair or anxiety.
Osteoarthritis can develop as a result of joint wear and strain over time. Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint discomfort in certain patients (source: Cleveland Clinic). While topical gels or anti-inflammatory medicines can be used to relieve transient joint discomfort, those with chronic pain can assist in controlling their condition by changing their diet.
According to Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, foods high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, green tea, avocados, and dark leafy greens, can help strengthen your immune system and reduce inflammation. Some meals, on the other hand, can cause inflammation. Saturated fat and casein protein in milk and other dairy products might increase joint discomfort (according to NASA Bone & Joint Specialists).
According to Medical News Today, certain items in your diet encourage inflammation, which can aggravate joint discomfort. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are inflammatory chemicals found in butter, margarine, and certain cheeses. Although AGEs are constantly present in your body, large quantities of AGEs can harm your cells and tissues.
Full-fat milk, cheese, and butter contain saturated fats, which may lead to arthritic flare-ups. According to a 2015 study published in Advanced in Nutrition, saturated fats in meals function like endotoxins in your circulation, activating your body’s natural defense cells and causing a transient inflammatory response. According to the Arthritis Foundation, some patients with joint discomfort may need to avoid dairy since they are sensitive to casein. The major protein present in dairy products is casein.
The Arthritis Foundation, on the other hand, claims that data on the overall influence of dairy on joint pain is equivocal. According to a 2017 analysis published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, ingesting dairy products helps lower inflammation. Similarly, a 2019 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition discovered that eating more full-fat dairy and Dutch cheese, particularly semi-hard cheeses, was associated with a decreased risk of knee osteoarthritis.
While the effect of dairy on joint pain is still being debated, Arthritis Health recommends avoiding processed foods such as packaged baked goods and packed meals. Many of these processed foods include trans fats, which are known to be pro-inflammatory. Although a moderate amount of omega-6 fatty acids might be healthy, excessive consumption can cause inflammation.
Most meats and vegetable oils manufactured from corn, peanuts, and sunflower contain omega-6 fatty acids. You may also increase joint discomfort if you consume a lot of sweets and processed carbs. Sugar causes the release of proteins that promote inflammation, and refined carbohydrates (like sugar) can quickly boost your glucose levels, exacerbating inflammation.
What foods help to reduce inflammation? According to a 2021 Nutrients article, patients with long-standing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) reported decreased pain and improved physical and mental health when they excluded meat, dairy, gluten, and lactose from their diets.
According to a 2018 analysis published in Autoimmunity Reviews, consuming foods high in long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in fish and fish oil, may lessen the risk of RA since these fats have anti-inflammatory effects.