Foods That Can Cause (Or Worsen) Joint Pain and Inflammation

Joint pain and inflammation is the hallmark symptom of rheumatoid arthritis or RA, a chronic and progressive disease affecting the joints. If you are diagnosed with it, minding what you put in your mouth each time can help save you from constantly having to endure joints that are stiff, achy and swollen.

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To date, there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Available medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are for easing the symptoms associated with the disease. There are also drugs like corticosteroids that are proven effective at slowing down the rate of rheumatoid arthritis’ progression.

When it comes to diet, there is really nothing that is specifically prescribed for someone bugged by rheumatoid arthritis. Different people react differently to certain foods — it is up to them to figure out which ones tend to cause the symptoms to strike so that their consumption may be limited or completely avoided.

Researches have shown that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers can benefit tremendously from the avoiding foods that can trigger inflammation — or the so-called pro-inflammatory foods. Excluding them from your diet can help keep joint pain and swelling at bay or prevent them from worsening. Some of them include:


A lot of people with rheumatoid arthritis complain of joint pain and inflammation after consuming milk. Experts say that certain proteins in milk can be blamed for such. If milk is causing the symptoms of arthritis to show up, switch to alternatives such as rice, soy and almond milk.

Dairy Products

It’s not just milk that may leave you with painful and swollen joints, but also other dairy products. Fret not about staying away from dairy because you may get your calcium from various plant sources. Some of the best ones include bok choi, kale, beans, broccoli, turnip greens and calcium-fortified orange juice.


A lot of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis swear by the effectiveness of opting for a vegan diet in the management of the chronic disease of the joints. The reason for such is this: according to the experts, fat present in meat are converted by the body into pro-inflammatory compounds that can leave your joints painful and swollen.

Fried Foods

If you want pain- and inflammation-free joints, refrain from stepping foot inside fast food joints. That’s because the offerings of these establishments are some of the most well-known triggers of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: fried foods. Turn your back on anything greasy and include more fruits and veggies in your diet.


Anything laden with sugar should not go past your lips if you want to dodge having painful and swollen joints. Scientists say that the consumption of sugary foods can cause an increase in the amount of advanced glycation end product or AGE, a toxin that triggers joint inflammation to strike.


Some studies link coffee drinking to the exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis while others say that there is no correlation between the popular beverage and the debilitating disease. While the debate is still ongoing, you might want to consider ditching or limiting your favorite cup of java. Also, do stay away from other beverages with caffeine in them.

Refined Grains

If you are a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer, anything that’s out of refined grains should not be served on the table. Basically, they are merely sugars — something that can trigger inflammation, just like what’s discussed earlier. Instead, what you need to do is introduce healthy carbs in the diet, such as brown rice, quinoa and oats.

Gluten-Containing Foods

Based on studies, a lot of people with rheumatoid arthritis also suffer from celiac disease, a condition characterized by the small intestine’s hypersensitivity to gluten. If you have celiac disease, consuming gluten can cause inflammation in your gut that may also extend to your joints.

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