Achy joints? Your diet could be the problem

Knee Joint Pain
Credit: Esther Max via Flickr

Your early onset arthritis may be hastened along by the wrong food in your daily diet – we explain how you can stave off excess pain brought on by eating the wrong things.

It appears to be the case that disorders which were thought to affect only older age groups are now striking young people as well. Case in point: heart conditions, diabetes, obesity, and joint pain due to early onset rheumatism or arthritis.

And yet, the reasons for joint pain may not merely be genetic in nature. Your diet has an important bearing on how healthy – or not – your muscles and joints are, and how well – or not – they function over time. A diet full of the wrong things that cause inflammation, can be the source of most of the joint pain that you experience.

Here’s a list of what to avoid if you wish to stave off joint pain:

1. Processed food

]This includes white sugar, polished rice, and anything made from refined flour (certain noodles and pasta, sweets, bread, etc.) Processed foods are low on calories and are difficult to digest as well. Many studies show that industrially produced noodles and spaghetti may spend a transit time from 24 hours to 72 hours in the gut, while refined flour settles in the intestines like gunk. The undigested food can cause inflammation in the body’s joints and make them quite sore and painful.

2. Alcohol and tobacco

Though some amount of alcohol may not harm the joints per se, excessive amounts consumed daily can reduce the body’s pain-fighting abilities. Alcohol has a numbing effect on the brain, reducing its faculties and dulling its ability to detect pain. Excessive alcohol consumption also causes weight gain, spikes in blood sugar and an elevated heart rate – all of which are contributors to joint pain. Meanwhile, tobacco consumption via cigarette smoking is said to contribute to rheumatoid arthritis. Tobacco makes the joints brittle, causing joint pain and increased risk of wear and tear with daily activity.

3. Salt

Salt certainly flavors the food, but too much of it can cause a variety of joint pains. Salt, however, does not have a direct link to joint pain like other substances. Its first effect is in causing water retention, and this excessive water/fluid tends to gather around the major joints in the body (knees, shoulders, elbows, ankles). If you constantly consume a diet rich with salt and additives, then the chances of increased water retention are higher – resulting in inflammation of the joints.

4. Fried food

Fried food is certainly tasty and addictive – but it makes the system work much harder to digest it. Also, it is rife with common inflammatory agents like salt, preservatives and spices. Fried food also has a higher calorific index, which leads to weight gain. Excessive weight also puts pressure on the joints, especially on the hips and knees. So it is best to stay away from it, and to work off the excess fat and calories with daily exercise.

You can deal with minor joint pains using a pain relief cream or spray. If the pain is excessive or with increased intensity, then you must consult an orthopaedic surgeon at once.