Many people assume that aches and pains come with the territory of getting older and that they have to just deal with them, but in many cases that’s not entirely true. A lot of our general body aches can actually be related to what we eat on a daily basis. By avoiding the culprits, in this instance, certain foods, joint pain can easily be reduced or even completely done away with.
The following are some of the most common causes of joint pain from diet. These are foods that can easily be limited or removed all together to improve your overall health. You may not need to remove or alter all of these things in your diet, but the more you work to find and eliminate the ones causing your inflammation, the better your chances of lowering or getting rid of your joint pain.
Caffeine and joint pain
This one will make a fair number of people groan, but caffeine can cause issues with this condition. With that said, there is a lot of conflicting information out there as to whether or not caffeine is good or bad and whether it is the caffeine itself or what it comes in that actually causes the discomfort. Note that I said “can” cause joint pain, not “does” cause. Caffeine is linked to discomfort in only some people and usually only when used on a regular basis in high amounts.
People consuming more than one to two caffeinated beverages per day have a higher chance of issues showing up. Recently, coffee has specifically been associated with an increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis and also linked to osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. If you are really looking for joint pain relief, try cutting out coffee, caffeinated soda and energy drinks and track your progress to see if it gets better. Also keep in mind that “decaf” does not necessarily mean caffeine free.
Artificial sweeteners and joint pain
These zero calorie and low calorie sugar replacements are dreadful in every aspect when considering general health. Not only do they increase inflammation in most people causing stiffness, muscle, and body aches, but these manmade substances are also directly linked to various types of cancer, MS, lupus, fibromyalgia, and hair loss. They even pose a threat to those trying to lose weight as artificial sweeteners can increase the body’s hunger response because of their effect on insulin levels.
Many people consume artificially sweetened foods and beverages to try and support weight loss by lowering their caloric intake but these substances are doing more harm than good. For your long-term health, you should avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible and ideally remove them completely from your diet, not just for the relief of body aches but for your overall health.
Refined sugars are a less common cause of joint pain but have been connected to similar body aches. The connection is not quite clear, but refined sugars (such as white table sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and other commercially made and processed sugars) have shown a correlation to inflammation, causing joint discomfort in some people. This is another possible culprit that you would be overall more healthy without. Avoid refined sugars and processed foods containing high amounts of sugar and replace refined white sugar with honey or raw sugar.
Allergic reactions to food, food preservatives, and additives are more common causes of joint pain than most people realize. When thinking of food allergies, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the severe and sometimes life threatening reaction that children and adults can have to foods like peanuts or shellfish, but not all food allergies are that pronounced. Many people live their entire lives without knowing that they are allergic to a specific type of food, usually because the allergic reaction is so subtle. This subtle reaction, however, can intensify as you age and expose yourself to the allergen, causing body aches, digestive tract irritation, nausea, shortness of breath, bloating, sneezing, congestion, and more. If you suspect you have a food allergy, see your doctor and get an allergy scratch test done to identify the culprit or start keeping a food/pain log and see if you can make any connections to a specific food eaten before the pain shows up.
Food additives such as preservatives, colorings, emulsifiers, etc. (usually the stuff you can’t pronounce on the ingredient list), are also good to look at as they have many health side effects that affect some people more severely than others. It is always best to avoid highly manufactured and commercially prepared foods for better health, in addition to joint pain relief. If you find you have a specific food allergy, you will be able to remove that food from your diet rather than take medications to mask the real issue.
Just remember that this kind of condition can have many causes, many of which are avoidable by making changes to diet habits and lifestyle. Never give up looking for a cure and never think that medications are your only option for relief; all they do is mask the pain rather than fix the underlying problem.