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Top 5 WORST Foods for Your Joints

By May 16, 2014June 4th, 2024Nutrition Information

pain 2Many people have a get out of bed in the morning with pains in their shoulders, knees, back or elbows.  This pain makes it hard to even think about exercising.

The food you eat is one of the biggest contributors to joint pain. 

Unfortunately too few doctors encourage their patients to change their diet to reduce pain.  Instead they give them medication to relieve the symptoms but not get to the underlying cause.

Chronic inflammation often starts in your gut, the biggest part of your immune system.  For some people eating certain foods can negatively affect their body’s chemistry. Certain foods may cause damage to your digestive system resulting in leaky gut. When this happens undigested foods will leak out of your intestines.  Since the food is not properly broken down your body see it as foreign substance and attacks it.  It sets up an inflammatory response.  This is often where the problem begins.  Inflammation in your digestive system prevents it from operating efficiently.  In addition if your gut wall is damaged and leaky, you will struggle to be able to absorb your nutrients.  You will feel hungry more often.

If you want to know if your body is inflamed, ask your physician to test your blood for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).  Luckily changing your diet can help bring those levels down.

Here a list of what you should consider removing from you diet to begin the recovery process.  Take these foods out and get rid of that pain instead of just covering it up with pills.  Once you are healed you may be able to tolerate them again (just don’t over do it)

1.  Sugarsugar

Sugar is one of the most damaging foods to your digestive system. Studies show the average American eats 153 lbs of sugar a year.  Two hundred years ago we only ate only 2 lbs of sugar a year.

Higher blood sugar leads to higher insulin, which creates inflammation.

Sugar raises your stress hormones which contribute to increased inflammation

Sugar feeds yeast and increases bad bacteria which creates digestive problems, including gas and bloating.

Sugar dampens our immune system which sets you up for more food intolerance.

vegetableoils2.  Refined Vegetable Oil and Trans Fats

Canola, soy, vegetable oils are promoted as healthy and trans-fat free.  The truth is the refining process destroys the healthy fats and turns them into inflammatory by-products your body does not even recognize.

Trans fats can induce inflammation by damaging the cells in the lining of the blood vessels according to the Mayo Clinic.

For more information read my blog post 4 Reasons To Stop Using Vegetable Oil

3.  Gluten

 These days 30%-40% of the population, including me has some form of gluten sensitivity. The Bread
problem is the wheat grown today is different than the wheat grown 100 years ago.  It is grown to contain very high levels of hard to digest gluten, which is one of the reasons we are experiencing so much gluten sensitivity in our culture these days.

Gluten sensitivity also can damage your intestinal lining and produce leaky gut.

Even if you don’t have celiac’s disease (a genetic condition that can set off a major overreaction in your immune system) gluten sensitivity is a real problem with symptoms like headaches, joint pain, osteoporosis, and even anxiety.  It can increase your chance of gaining weight or making it hard to lose as long as you keep eating the gluten on a regular basis.

If you have any type of autoimmune condition like asthma, allergies, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, MS or lupus taking out gluten may not cure your condition by it will most likely help you feel better and prevent it from getting worse.

I am not saying you can never eat gluten but if you are experiencing joint pain I highly recommend taking it out of your diet for at least 1 month and see how you feel.

grains4.  Grains Especially Refined Grains

Grains can be inflammatory to many people.  All grains contain phytates (phytic acid) and lectins which are a problem for most people.   Phytate and lectins protect the  plants from insects and  fungus.

Lectins are mild toxins.  They can bind to insulin receptors which causes insulin resistance making your blood sugar rise. Lectins are not broken down in the digestive process and bind to receptors in the intestine, allowing them and other food particles to leech into your bloodstream The body views these lectins and the food they bring with them as dangerous invaders and initiates an immune response (inflammation) to get rid of them.

Phytates and  phytic acid are mineral blockers that prevents absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc They are anti-nutrients because they make minerals unavailable to your cells. This phytic acid is found in the bran of all grains as well as the outer coating of seeds and nuts.  You need minerals in your body to keep your acid levels down.  The minerals keep your bones strong.  If your body is too acidic this could lead to joint inflammation.

If you like grains it is best to stick with quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth and brown or black rice.  These grains are low glycemic and easier to digest.   You can also soak your grains for 8 hours before cooking them to mitigate the effects of phytic acid and lectins.

5.  Soy and Soy Products

 Soy has been very popular for the last 15 years.  Many people want to cut back on diary and meat soy
and think soy will be a good replacement.  The health benefits of soy can be good but not on a daily basis.  Eating soy on a daily basis can create problems whether is it in traditional foods like tofu, edamame or modern variations like soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers etc.

These are the problems with too much soy:

  • Soy is an anti-nutrient rich in phytates and phytic acid which block the absorbtion of minerals just like the grains.
  • Soy disrupts your hormones – Soy is a phyto-estrogren which may put excess estrogen into your body.
  • Soy is bad for your thyroid –  Soy can depress thyroid function.  The thyroid plays an important role in all the activities of your body. It has something of a managerial position, getting things done and keeping up the quality standards.
  • Most soy is genetically modified and over processed making it a food devoid of nutrition.

Soy is a healthy food but it’s best to eat it in moderation.

These are just some of the inflammatory food people consume on a daily basis.  There are many more to consider.  Some of the other highly inflammatory foods are diary, corn and eggs and peanuts.

What You Can Do About It

greensInclude More Anti-Inflammatory Foods In Your Diet

When you make poor dietary choices you over stimulate your immune system, disrupt the microbiota of your intestine which causes chronic inflammation throughout your body.  Inflammation deteriorates your body’s overall health, limits your mobility and causes pain in your joints.

By  incorporating  anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, you can prevent chronic joint inflammation and reduce inflammation if you already have it.  Luckily nature has provided us with some amazing anti-inflammatory foods that are really yummy.  Besides their ability to reduce inflammation, they also supply us with loads of essential vitamins and minerals that allow our cells to function optimally and  boost our immunity. Here is a list my top 10 anti-inflammatory foods

Try an Elimination Diet

You won’t know if you are sensitive to a food or not until you take it out.  I recommend an elimination diet.  Take out these foods for at least 14 days see how you feel.  It is best to add them back in slowly and systematically.  This is a great way to really see how your body tolerates these high sensitivity foods.   Add them back in one at a time using this procedure:

  • Start with gluten the best thing to try is pasta, because most breads contain yeast and sugar which may affect your results. Track your reactions for at least 72 hours, and quit if you notice a reaction.
  • Eat it at least 2-3 times for 3 days
  • Track your reactions for at least 72 hours (weight gain, cravings, fluid retention, nasal congestion, chest congestion, headaches, brain fog, difficulty remembering things, mood problems such as depression, anxiety, anger, sleep problems, joint aches, muscle aches, pain, fatigue, changes in your skin such as acne, changes in digestion or bowel function such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, reflux.  It is good to write down your reactions in a food log.

DATE______ FOOD YOUR ATE _________ SYMPTOMS_________

  • If you have a reaction, stop eating gluten immediately
  • Wait 3 days
  • Now try the next food you are testing. Follow the same process you did for gluten: Eat it 2-3 times for 3 days, track your reaction.  It is good to write them down in a food log.

Lets all live a pain free life!


  • Deandre says:

    A little rationality lifts the quality of the debate here. Thanks for cogntiburitn!

  • Brian Winslett says:

    You information on phytic acid is wrong. It has several names. IP6 or modified rice bran are the common supplement names. as well as inositol hexaphosphate. It is true that phytic acid when still attached to the bran of a whole grain can bind to many minerals and make them unavailable to the body for that particular meal. So it can improve health to soak your grains to leach out the phytic acid. However, phytic acid, or better known as ip6 or modified rice bran, is very very healthy for the body when taken in supplement form, but ONLY on an empty stomach so that it doesn’t bind to the minerals in the food in the stomach, making them unavailable to the body. Research has demonstrated that it helps prevent cancer when taken at therapeutic levels, helps with arthritis, removes excess iron from the body when taken in high dose supplement form (cures iron overload which is a common health issue for many over 40), and massively boost our natural killer cells which kill cancer cells, which substantially increases our immune defenses against viruses the body has never seen before.. Its a great covid 19 preventative because of the boost to Natural Killer T cells. I have cured two cancer spots on my skin with this supplement. The concentrated supplement is emerging to be a very very powerful anti-aging molecule with many health benefits.

    Please expand upon your information so that it does not mislead people.


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