Living with arthritis or joint pain can be pretty debilitating, and the more you can do to ease this burden, the better. This is why it is important to avoid foods that can cause flare ups or add to your joint pain. These are some of the key foods you need to make sure you avoid if you suffer with arthritis or joint pain:

Red meat

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As delicious and appealing as it may be, red meat is something you’re going to want to avoid if you have joint pain. The reason for this is because red meat can cause inflammation, and this can lead to more swelling in the joints. Go for white meat or fish as an alternative to combat this problem.


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Whilst salt isn’t technically a food, it’s certainly a core component of a lot of foods – one that you should try to avoid. A high salt intake is never a good thing for health reasons, but can be even more of an issue if you’re suffering with arthritis or joint pain. Instead try flavoring your food with tasty alternatives, such as herbs and spices.

Fried food

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As delicious as golden, deep-fried food can be, this is actually something best avoided for your arthritis or joint pain. Fried foods contain high amounts of saturated fats, which have long been associated with inflammation, worsening the symptoms of such ailments. If you can, consider air frying as an alternative, healthy method of crisping up your delicious fries!


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Drinking is something that should be enjoyed in moderation, and should be avoided if you have arthritis or joint pain. Whilst some alcohol, such as red wine, can be anti-inflammatory, the majority of the time it will cause flare-ups, and can even lead to painful conditions like gout. Try to restrict your alcohol intake as much as you can, or stick to alcohol-free options.

Beverages with sugar

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Sugary drinks like soda, squash, and fruit juices should be avoided where possible if you want to combat inflammation. Instead, replace them with unsweetened or sugar-free alternatives, or use things that can act as natural sweeteners in plain drinks. Really, the best drink to be consuming is water, and if you can replace other options with this, you will improve your long-term health.

Processed foods

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Processed foods have never been the healthiest. This is particularly true if you experience arthritis or joint pain as these foods are high in added salt, fat and sugar, which can increase inflammation. If you want to get healthier, and protect your joints at the same time, cutting out processed foods is the way to do that!


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Not all dairy is a problem for those with joint issues, but high-fat dairy certainly will be. Things like milk and yogurt are an issue if their fat content is too high, so make sure you choose reduced fat, or, where possible, fat-free dairy products. A high-fat diet can have a negative impact on inflammation, and can be a nightmare for those with arthritis.

Omega-6 fatty acids

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Whilst omega-6 fatty acids can typically be advantageous for your health, they can also worsen things like inflammation, and potentially cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Things like meat, nuts, corn, and soybeans contain a lot of these fatty acids. Cutting down on those and cooking with olive oil, rather than its alternatives, can help to reduce inflammation risk massively.

Canned goods

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Not all canned foods are an issue here, but you do need to avoid those high in sugar or salt as these are known to increase inflammation. Make sure you take the time to read labels, and choose canned goods that are low in sugars and salts. Avoid fruit that is preserved in syrup to avoid a full blown sugar-fest!


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Candy is not something you should be consuming in excess anyway, but added sugars like this can also increase inflammation. You should be looking to limit your sugar intake to no more than 9 teaspoons per day, so finding healthy snacking alternatives would be a great idea to keep your body happy and healthy!

Refined carbohydrates

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Refined carbohydrates can be a big cause of inflammation and joint pain, and this is because they can cause what’s known as a spike in blood glucose, and this in turn causes inflammation in the body. This can also negatively impact people who have a sensitivity to gluten, so it’s important to think carefully before eating.


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Cheese is one of the most delicious foods that exist, and it’s something that many people love to indulge in. One of the things you need to consider when it comes to eating cheese is that it is high in advanced glycation end products, which can end up causing inflammation, and making pain worse.


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Desserts, pastries, chocolate, candy, these are all treats that are highly sugar based, but there are plenty of other foods that contain sugar too. According to research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, processed sugars trigger cytokines, which can be responsible for causing inflammation.


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In addition to their reputation for being bad for your lungs, tobacco is also bad for joint pain and arthritis. This is why you need to make sure you reduce or even completely cut out your tobacco usage. Tobacco contains two separate chemicals that are inflammatory, and this can increase your risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Advanced glycation end (AGE) products

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AGEs are the toxins that your body produces when you grill or fry foods, or consume foods that are cooked at high temperatures. These can be quite damaging for your body, which reacts by releasing cytokines to destroy the AGEs responsible. It is these cytokines that can cause inflammation.


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Gluten can be problematic for your body if you have celiac disease and even if you don’t, it might be an idea to remove gluten from your diet as much as possible. Foods made with the likes of wheat, barley, and rye can lead to joint inflammation, and this is something that can cause you a lot of pain and discomfort as a result.


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Additives are found in a great deal of foods, and you need to look at what you can do to try to avoid foods with additives as much as possible. Packaged food can be a little simpler for your lifestyle, but they are also riddled with additives like aspartame and salt, which can lead to inflammation issues and should be avoided where possible.


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Hamburgers are one of the staples of American cuisine, and there are a couple of factors to consider when it comes to hamburgers and why you should avoid them if you suffer from joint pain. Firstly, burgers are loaded with AGEs, but, on top of that, they can also cause the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria, so this is something to keep in mind.


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Butter is one of the worst things you can consume if you are suffering from things like joint pain and arthritis, again, because it is packed with AGEs. These are substances that appear during the food processing stage, and they can cause things like stiffness and inflammation. That’s why it might be smart to avoid butter if possible.


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Tomatoes might be a delicious and versatile fruit, but they can also prove to be a problem for you if you suffer from arthritis. This is because they contain the chemical solanine, which some people believe is a significant cause of arthritis pain. Though this has not been scientifically confirmed, it may be one to keep in mind.


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Pasta is one of the most delicious and enjoyable staple foods in the world, and can be enjoyed as the main part of so many dishes. However, it is important to be careful about the use of pasta if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. This is because pasta is a wheat product containing gluten, which can aggravate things like joint pain.


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Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) is an additive found in foods that is designed to enhance flavor. This is commonly found in things like soy sauce, as well as fast food and soup mixes. As a form of salt, the additive can trigger chronic inflammation, so it could be a good idea to check food labels for this acronym before consuming.


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Potatoes are one of the best options when it comes to staple foods. They’re cheap and versatile, enjoyed in many different ways: roast potatoes, jackets, mashed potato, fries, potato chips, and so many more! It is rumored, however, that potatoes can actually worsen the symptoms of arthritis and joint pain, although this is not actually confirmed.


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Eggplant is a fun and delicious vegetable, and a firm favorite of vegetarians across the world. Next time you plan to make your world-famous eggplant parmigiana, however, you need to consider the fact that the veggie also contains the chemical solanine, something that can worsen the symptoms of arthritis.


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Casein is not particularly well known, but it is something that can be found in many dairy products, and those with joint pain should look to avoid it. Sensitivity to this sort of product can cause inflammation, which leads to further pain and discomfort, so trying to cut down on this would be highly beneficial.


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Peppers should also be avoided by those struggling with arthritis or joint pain because of the fact that they also contain solanine, which is an inflammatory. This is something that can make the symptoms of arthritis even worse, and you should certainly be looking to reduce pepper consumption to deal with this better.


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Bread can be an issue if you suffer from things like joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis. Like other wheat-based products, bread has a significant quantity of gluten, which can be a big problem for people who suffer from joint pain. Cutting down on your bread consumption will help considerably with this.


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Crackers might prove to be a delicious snack, but they too can be a nightmare for those suffering from joint pain. As wheat and gluten products, crackers might taste wonderful, but they can bring with them complications for those who might be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Trans fats

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Trans fats are typically found in things like fast foods, processed foods, and frozen product. They are known to trigger systemic inflammation, potentially leading to very uncomfortable and unpleasant joint pain. This condition can prove to be a serious problem if not effectively dealt with.

Added sugars

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Added sugars are definitely something to avoid when you have arthritis, and this is something you need to be extra careful about. These added sugars can be bad for your health, but they can also stimulate inflammation, making them an issue for your joint point. They are something that’s often hidden away in ordinary food products too, so this is something to keep in mind.


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Though sugary cereals inevitably have negative health consequences, it’s important to note that even the healthier options can cause joint pain. That’s because, like other wheat-based products, they can be rich in gluten. This is something that can cause inflammation and make your joint pain significantly worse.


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Cookies are a delicious treat that we have all enjoyed at some point, but they can actually be hazardous to those who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to make sure you restrict your cookie intake, because cookies often contain wheat and gluten, and this can be inflammatory for your joints.

Saturated fats

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Studies have indicated that saturated fats can also be a problem because they trigger the inflammation of fat tissue, which can cause issues such as heart disease, as well as worsening inflammation of the joints and arthritis. Pizza and cheese can be the biggest sources of saturated fats in most people’s diets.


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Put the pitchforks down! Yes, it’s true that bacon is the most delicious thing just about ever, but it is also true that it can play havoc with joint pain and inflammation. This is because they are high in AGEs, and therefore you should try to cut down on how much you eat if you are someone who suffers from arthritis.

Roast chicken

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Roast chicken is delicious, and the absolute perfect choice for a Sunday roast, but those with arthritis should be cautious. The fact is that roast chicken is generally full of AGEs, and this can lead to inflammation problems, as the body releases cytokines to combat the AGEs, and this can lead to inflammation problems.


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Mayonnaise might be delicious, or disgusting, depending upon your tastes, but it can also be a problem when dealing with joint pain and arthritis, because of the fact it contains omega-6 fatty acids. These can stimulate inflammation, and will often make things like joint pain worse and more painful to deal with, so try to cut this out of your diet.


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Margarine might seem innocent enough, but in reality it is actually packed with AGEs, and these can cause stiffness and inflammation. You need to try to cut margarine and butter out of your diet as much as possible; not only will this reduce the risk of inflammation, but it will also help you to observe a healthier diet in the process as well.

Red wine

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A glass a day might keep the doctor away, but red wine can be a nightmare if you are dealing with joint pain. Alcohol is a natural toxin, which causes stress and inflammation on your organs. This is something that you have to be aware of, so maybe consider cutting down your weekly consumption if this is something you struggle with.

White rice

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White rice is a great addition to a lot of meals, and whether we’re having it with curry, chili, or takeout, it always hits the spot. However, it is important to recognise that white rice is classed as a refined grain, producing advanced glycation end products which trigger inflammation in the body. It’s often thought best to stick to wholegrain rice.

Hot dogs

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Hot dogs might be one of the most iconic foods in the United States, but they are also a processed meat. This means they can be problematic for things like joint pain and inflammation, so you need to try to reduce your hot dog intake as much as possible. It may need to form part of a healthier approach to your diet in general, but it’s a great point to kickstart the process.