Foods That Cause Joint Pain & Joint Swelling

Oct 14, 2012 by

Foods that cause joint pain

Something as simple as opening a jar seems impossible and painful when you’re eating the foods that cause joint pain

Foods That Cause Joint Pain

There are a lot of foods that cause joint pain. Whether arthritis is actually a series of food allergies or the allergies inflame the arthritis, nobody seems to know. What you need to know is the food you should not eat if you want to live pain-free.

I’ve done a lot of searching around for information on this topic because when I hit the Florida shore, my joints swelled up and I was in constant pain. I had very little pain and swelling in the desert. Suddenly, I knew why all those arthritis people moved to Nevada, Arizona and California.

Dairy Causes Joint Pain

First and foremost, is dairy.  Dairy is one of those foods that cause joint pain and joint swelling. Any type of milk will give you pain and swollen joints. Avoid any packaged food that contains milk or any part of milk. No butter, lactic acid, cheese, whey, just to name a few. You are going to have to read the ingredient labels – all of them. Even read the vegan and vegetarian packaged foods because it could be hiding in there also.

One trick that makes buying packaged food easier is to look for the kosher symbol. There will be a U with a circle around it or a K with a circle around it. If it doesn’t say ‘dairy’ with that little mark then you’re good to go, there is no dairy in it.

Foods I have found to avoid with arthritis

  • Milk and any part of milk
  • All citrus fruits
  • Eggs
  • Tomatoes and other nightshade plants
  • Tropical Oils

To make matters even more difficult, the Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to list their ingredients on the product label, but the manufacturer is exempt from listing the minor ingredients. This means, the product could contain up to 2% milk and it isn’t even listed on the package. They can list ‘broth’ and not mention that it is mostly tomatoes. The can list ‘natural flavor’ and you don’t know it is orange oil. So label reading only gets you so far. You think you have something you can eat and won’t be one of the foods that cause joint pain, only to find yourself in pain an hour later.

The Rabbi’s don’t give this leniency, so if they say there is no dairy in it, then there is no milk products in it. None whatsoever. Not even a smidgen. Not even molecular residue after washing the pot. Eggs are not considered dairy in Jewish custom, so it could still contain eggs. If the equipment is used for both dairy and not dairy then it will say DE, or dairy equipment. This means there is no dairy in the recipe, but that pot was used to cook dairy and was washed, but wasn’t boiled before making whatever is in that product. Dairy Equipment should not be a problem for arthritis people.

Citrus Foods Cause Joint Pain

Basic List of Citrus Fruits

  • Orange
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Kumquat
  • Tangelo
  • Citron
  • Clementine

Citrus can be even more problematic to avoid when you have arthritis than dairy.  Citric acid is an ingredient made from citrus fruit and it seems to be in anything fun to eat.  It is listed as an ingredient in almost every soda pop, every candy that isn’t chocolate, it is even used as a preservative in what seems to be everything else.  Once you read every ingredient label when you shop in the grocery store you’ll see it everywhere.  It’ll be on the pickled peppers.  (Peppers are nightshade plants, by the way.) It’ll be in all the canned fruit because it helps the fruit keep its color.  It is used in jams, jellies, and even on dried fruit – but usually not listed as an ingredient.

Nightshade Plants Cause Joint Pain

Basic List of Nightshade Plants that are Food

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Peppers and Hot Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatillo

Yeah, Tomatillos are nightshades.  I figured that one out the hard way.  What a perfect little vegetable to substitute for tomatoes, right?  Wrong.  That was a rough night.  Actually, it was two nights because I am a slow learner and have a strong fondness for denial.

The two biggies on the nightshade list are Tomatoes and potatoes.  Potatoes are an easy one to avoid because you can substitute yams or sweet potatoes.  The tomato is not so easy to substitute.  I’m still looking for something to make a spaghetti sauce from but I haven’t found that magic ingredient just yet.

I don’t eat all that much in the way of hot peppers, only thin slices of extremely hot jalapenos, so I still eat them.  I still use chili powder also.  It doesn’t seem to be one of those foods that cause joint pain for me.  However, the river of Denial is pretty wide.

Coconut Oil & Palm Oil

Basic Tropical Oils

  • Coconut Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Cocoa Butter

These two tropical oils are so incredibly tasty.  They turn an ordinary sweet serving into a spectacular dessert.  I know for sure that palm oil is a problem for me.  The jury is still out on coconut oil.  It might be a problem for me, but it also might have been the recipe had palm oil in it also.  I’m still working on the coconut oil and coconut milk issue.  I’m not sure yet.

Meat is an odd thing.  I see all over the Internet that meat should also be on the list of foods that cause arthritis pain.  However, with me, meat actually makes my joints feel better!  I have no problem at all with beef and it actually has the opposite effect.  If you have pain from eating meat, let me know.

I wish you luck in your search for relief for your arthritis pain.  So far, I have not needed to take anything at all for my pain.  I am starting on this mission very early in the disease and I don’t have much joint damage in my spine and joints. I live fairly pain-free with a little morning stiffness as I weed out the nasty foods from my diet.

I would love for others who have joint pain to share their experiences in the comment section.  Together we can hopefully be completely free of pain and share our tips and tricks with each other.

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3 Comments

  1. kocaali haber

    Usually I do not read post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite great article.

  2. Robert P.

    Thanks for the article, though I read many similiar ones.

    I too have to avoid night shades as well as citrus fruits and diary.

    I need to avoid night shades and citrus fruits due to a histamine intolerance, these foods are well known to trigger high histamine levels in the body, and eating to much of them gives me severe itching attacks.

    Since a few months I suffer from joint pain(of arthritic nature), again another reason to avoid citrus fruits and night shades.

    And for some reason: Diary seems to worsen my lung condition, this one still has me and the doctors baffled, but whenever I eat or drink to much diary products the tightness in my chest becomes worse. So: No more diary for me it means. And since diary products are contraindicated with joint pain and arthritis, I have yet another reason to avoid all diary products.

    I found a few things you said interesting though:

    I have made the same experiences with chillies, and I have read that some other people report the same. Chillies are the only night shader which I can eat in small to moderate amounts, without risking a histamine attack or worsening my joint pain.

    My understanding is that: First of all yes chillies are night shaders, but compared to tomatoes or potatoes for example, we eat LOW AMOUNTS chillies. For 1 regular meal you actually dont use more then 1 or maximum 2 chillies, this makes the total amount of solanine which you ingest through the chillies very low actually. Whilst when eating a tomatoe soup or salsa with lots of tomatoes, you have a much much higher amount of solanine which trigger your problems.

    And secondly: besides the low amounts of solanine ingested by chillies, chillies are also known to contain some substances(like capsaicin) which are actually anti-inflammatory, and which may help to counter the negative effects of the solanine in chillies(the main negative effekt of solanine is that it acts inflammatory).

    Thats only my own theory, but from what I have read, this is most likely the reason why many people can eat little to moderate amounts of chillies, without having any problems like me or you.

    My conclusion is: Chillies are still a night shader and not recommended for people with to high levels of histamine and/or joint pain, and should be avoided like all plants of the night shade family. But in small amounts they are the only night shader that are okay to eat, whilst you must strictly avoid the rest.

    The other thing I found interesting:

    That you mentioned that you had no problems with eating meat.

    Personally, I had mixed results with meat: Eating to much meat is not good for my histamine levels, and to much meat can lead to an itching attack, but personally I found that potatoes and tomatoes are far worse for my itching then meat is. Medium amounts of meat are okay, but medium amounts of potatoes or tomatoes nearly always trigger an itching attack a few hours later for me.

    In conjuncture with joint pain: Similiar like with the histamine, I found that beneath the amount, especially also the sort and quality of the meat seems to play an important role.

    For example I can eat chicken breast with little problems, but chicken LEGS(especially when deep fried) for some reason easily trigger itching attacks for me.

    Also my joints seemed to pain stronger and more often when I ate chicken legs.

    The worst reactions I got from smocked, canned or cured meat.

    Personally, my meat of choice is the same as yours(beef). I personally prefer chicken or lamb, but my body reacts far better to beef for some reason. The only reason for this I can think of, is the fact that every meat is made from 20 amino acids, and that the concentration and profile of these 20 amino acids is different in every protein, and that that is the reason I cant eat certain types of meat without having problems.

  3. P.S. Love

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Robert.
    One thing I am finding lately is that many times beef and chicken will contain sulphites. When I first complained about joint pain to my doctor he told me that he thought it was a problem with sulphites. The problem was a lot more complex than that, but I certainly do have severe joint pain when ingesting sulphites.

    What I notice lately is that I have to be careful where I shop for meat. Many times the meat has been treated with sulphites and it is not listed on the package like it is supposed to be.

    Also, chicken is sometimes pumped up with a citrus solution and not listed on the package as it is supposed to be. Maybe that solution is more concentrated in the legs and that’s why you’re having more of a problem with the legs? I’m just guessing.

    I have finally found a store where I can buy beef and chicken and not have any reaction.

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