7 mins read

8 Foods That Cause Joint Inflammation


medically reviewed by Dr Naveen Chandran

Dr J S S Dev

Updated on November 21, 2023

Our bodies are remarkable, and our joints are pivotal in keeping us agile and active. However, joint discomfort can disrupt our daily lives. The good news? 

You have more control over it than you might think. Inflammation is often the villain behind joint pain, and your diet plays a starring role in either fueling or fighting it. In this exploration of joint health, we'll embark on a journey to uncover the foods that can be your allies in this battle and those that might be causing harm. Say farewell to those aches and stiffness, and let's embrace a future where your joints are your greatest allies in your quest for a vibrant, pain-free life!

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8 Foods that Cause Joint Inflammation

Identifying foods that can cause joint inflammation is vital to know what to avoid. 

Tobacco and Alcohol 

It's important to note that smoking and drinking alcohol can have detrimental effects on your health. These two substances are known to cause inflammation, leading to specific types of arthritis. 

Smoking, in particular, can increase your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis, while alcohol has been linked to gout, another type of inflammatory arthritis. It's best to avoid or limit your intake of these substances to maintain good health and reduce your risk of developing these conditions.

Too Many Sweets is Not That Sweet an Idea

Excessive sugar consumption can lead to inflammation in your body. Even just 40 grams can trigger this response. By eliminating soft drinks, candies, and pastries from your diet, you may experience a reduction in your arthritis pain.

Advanced Glycation End (AGE) Products

Consuming grilled, fried, or high-temperature cooked foods, including pasteurised foods, can produce toxins called AGEs in your body. These toxins damage proteins in your body, which activate your immune system to eliminate the AGEs with cytokines. However, cytokines can cause inflammation.

Dairy Products 

One option for improving your overall health and reducing inflammation in your joints is to consider limiting your intake of dairy products. While dairy does contain essential nutrients like calcium and protein, it also contains casein, which may contribute to inflammation. By reducing your dairy consumption, you can alleviate some of the symptoms associated with joint inflammation.


Packaged food is a time-saver and can significantly help people with busy schedules. However, it can also worsen arthritis symptoms. 

Manufacturers often use additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame, and salt to preserve food and enhance its taste. Unfortunately, these chemicals have been linked to increased inflammation. Therefore, avoiding processed foods, diet sodas, and other convenience products is advisable.

Fatty Foods

It's important to note that not all fats are the same. Our bodies need good fats, such as those in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, to keep our hearts healthy and maintain proper organ function. On the other hand, trans fats are harmful and can cause inflammation. You will find these trans fats in processed foods, fried foods, fast foods, and doughnuts.


Your body converts the carbohydrates from the food you eat into energy. This is why some athletes consume a lot of carbohydrates before a competition - to ensure they have enough energy.

However, refined carbohydrates found in high-glycemic foods such as bread, white rice, and potatoes are a specific type of carbohydrate that can cause inflammation, weight gain and other chronic conditions when not converted into energy.


If you suffer from joint inflammation, consider eliminating gluten from your diet, even if you don't have celiac disease, which is a condition that damages your small intestine. To do this, avoid consuming foods made with wheat, barley, and rye.

15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Arthritis Management

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Now, that we have discussed the foods that cause joint inflammation, how about browsing through the anti-inflammatory ones? Incorporating or including anti-inflammatory foods into your diet can be beneficial for reducing joint inflammation and promoting overall joint health. These foods typically contain antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other compounds that help mitigate inflammation. Here's a list of anti-inflammatory foods you can include in your diet:

Fatty Fish

Fishes like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and other fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, contain potent anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce joint inflammation.


Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries come packed with antioxidants called flavonoids. These have anti-inflammatory effects and may help manage inflammation in the body.

Leafy Greens

Leaves like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and other leafy greens are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that combat inflammation and support joint health.


Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. Incorporate turmeric into your cooking or try turmeric supplements to help reduce joint inflammation.


Ginger has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. You can add it to your daily curries and teas or consume it as a supplement.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds, like almonds and walnuts, as well as chia and flaxseeds, are excellent sources of healthy fats and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a healthy choice for cooking and dressing your favourite salads. It's rich in monounsaturated fats and contains oleocanthal, a compound known to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Green Tea

Green tea contains polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Kindly Note: Consult your health coach at Nirva Health to get an Ayurvedic Green Tea recipe.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are part of the cruciferous vegetable family, known for their anti-inflammatory properties.


Cherries, especially tart cherries, contain compounds that may help alleviate inflammation and relieve joint pain.


Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory actions that may help reduce inflammation and swelling.

Whole Grains

Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat provide fibre and nutrients to help manage inflammation.


Legumes like lentils, beans, and chickpeas are excellent sources of plant-based protein and fibre, which may help reduce inflammation.


Spices such as cinnamon and cloves have anti-inflammatory properties. You can add them to various dishes or beverages.


Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and support joint health.

Alternative Dietary Approaches Against Joint Inflammation

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Diet plays a significant role in managing joint health and inflammation. Several dietary approaches, such as the Mediterranean diet, the anti-inflammatory diet, and the Ayurvedic diet, have been associated with reducing inflammation and supporting overall joint health.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet emphasises whole, unprocessed foods rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

1. Olive oil, a central component of this diet, is an abundant source of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation.

2. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines provide omega-3 fatty acids, also known for their anti-inflammatory actions and potential benefits for joint health.

3. Reducing red meat consumption helps. Incorporating moderate amounts of lean protein sources like poultry and legumes can also contribute to managing inflammation.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

  1. The anti-inflammatory diet focuses on foods that help reduce inflammation and avoid those that promote inflammation.
  2. It emphasises fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and fatty fish, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  3. It encourages minimising or avoiding processed foods, sugary beverages, excessive red meat, and trans fats, which can trigger inflammation.
  4. For their potent anti-inflammatory properties, the diet features other herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, etc.
  5. It's a balanced approach that supports overall health and can benefit individuals dealing with inflammatory conditions, including joint issues.

Ayurvedic Diet

Ayurvedic Diet.jpg

  1. Ayurveda balances the body, mind, and spirit to promote health and well-being.
  2. Ayurvedic principles suggest consuming foods based on one's dosha (biological energies - Vata, Pitta, Kapha) to maintain balance and prevent imbalances that can cause inflammation.
  3. Balancing and anti-inflammatory foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, ghee (clarified butter), and warming spices like turmeric and ginger.
  4. The emphasis is on a personalised approach to diet and lifestyle, considering an individual's constitution and any imbalances they may have.

To Wrap it Up!

In conclusion, your journey towards better joint health and taming inflammation through dietary choices is a decisive step toward a more comfortable and active life. We've looked into the foods to avoid, avoiding those that can exacerbate inflammation and joint discomfort. You're caring for your joints and nurturing your overall well-being by making mindful choices in your daily meals.

Remember, it's a journey of small changes that can yield significant results. So, bid farewell to those inflammatory culprits and welcome a life where your joints support you in all your adventures. Here's to a future filled with flexibility, vitality, and the freedom to move without restraint!

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