Stop Joint Pain in the Kitchen: Foods That Cause Joint Inflammation

Over 90 million Americans suffer from arthritis, which the National Institutes of Health describes as “multiple conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joints, and other connective tissues.” Arthritis can cause joint pain and mobility issues, and is a leading cause of disability.

Whether you have been diagnosed with arthritis or your joints just feel stiff and sore, there are some simple steps you can take. For example, try avoiding foods that cause joint inflammation. Today we’re taking a look at what those foods are.

Consider an Elimination Diet

Of course, not all foods that cause inflammation in someone will necessarily present problems for you. So it’s not as easy as simply following a particular diet, becoming a vegetarian or vegan, or eating exactly what your super-healthy spouse consumes. Instead, you’ll need to do some experimentation.

One way to do that is to try an elimination diet. That will help you figure out which foods cause issues in your joints (and the rest of your body!) and which ones make you feel good. In a standard elimination diet, you cut out the usual culprits for about 23 days.

Those culprits are gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, processed food (including fast food), sugar, and alcohol. After the 23 days are up, you can add each of these back into your diet, one at a time. Paying close attention to how you feel after eating a piece of white bread or some cheese will help you identify the foods that trigger inflammation in your body.

Foods That Cause Joint Inflammation

You can approach the problem from a different perspective, too. Start by slowly eliminate the following foods from your daily diet. You will likely find that your joint pain and mobility begin to improve.

1. Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best foods for joint health. However, experts advise that you steer clear of their unhealthy counterparts, Omega-6 fatty acids. The primary sources of these are corn, peanut, and soy oils, as well as red meats.

To get the heart-healthy benefits of Omega-3s, opt for avocado oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil. If you choose to continue eating meat, you’ll be better off using it as a “condiment” or flavor enhancer. A little lean beef in a veggie-packed stir-fry is a better choice than, say, a steak or chop.

2. Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Also known as “trans fats,” partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, are another no-no. That’s because they wreak havoc with your cholesterol levels and your heart health. One easy way to avoid them? Steer clear of processed foods.

That means saying goodbye to margarine, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, anything made with shortening, coffee creamer, and many types of chips and cookies.

Of course, cutting these items from your diet also means that you will be avoiding other unhealthy ingredients. Think artificial colors and flavors, sugar, high amounts of sodium, and preservatives.

3. Fast Food and Fried Food

Foods that come from the drive-thru and the deep fryer are definitely tempting. However, you probably already know that these are two of the worst possible options for your meals and snacks.

In addition to being high in trans fats, deep-fried items and anything that comes from a fast-food franchise (or convenience store, or hot dog cart) are high in sodium. They are highly caloric and offer little to no nutritional value.

4. Sweeteners

Stay away from sugar, too. Refined sugar causes certain proteins, called cytokines, to be released in the body. These are directly linked to inflammation, and therefore to joint pain.

It’s not just white sugar that’s bad for your knees and hips, though. Look out for corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, and fructose. And if you think that artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose (Splenda) are healthy alternatives, think again. These, too, can trigger inflammatory responses — among other dangers.

5. White Carbs

You know how marathoners and other elite athletes will “carbo-load” on huge plates of pasta with a generous side of garlic bread? That’s because these foods cause a spike in blood glucose. Athletes use this source of energy as a performance boost.

The rest of us, however, experience a crash in blood sugar that leaves us feeling more tired and logy than before. Moreover, carbohydrate-rich flour products exacerbate inflammation. If you eat bread, crackers, and pasta, make sure to choose whole-grain versions that may help with joint pain.

These foods may pack a one-two inflammatory punch, as well. The carbs are one culprit; another is the gluten. Gluten, a protein found in some grains, has been linked with symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and soreness of the muscles and joints.

6. Dairy

Many of us were raised to think of dairy products as wholesome. After all, dairy is rich in the calcium that builds strong bones and teeth. But it’s also just plain rich, and the high levels of saturated fat are notorious for spiking inflammation.

Eat cheese, cream cheese, cream, milk, and butter sparingly. Not all dairy is evil, though. Some dairy products that contain active and live cultures, like yogurt and kefir, are good foods for joint health.

7. Nightshades

Vegetables are all safe and beneficial for joint pain sufferers, right? Not so fast. Unfortunately, some veggies called nightshades contain the chemical solanine. Solanine has been proven to cause inflammation.

Nightshades include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers of all varieties, and white potatoes. Have you successfully purged sugar, white bread, and fast food, and processed snacks from your diet but are still experiencing arthritis symptoms? Consider cutting out these vegetables too.

What Can You Eat to Avoid Inflammation?

What is left for you to eat? Plenty! Some foods that help joint pain include cold-water fish, whole grains, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, green tea, mineral water, turmeric, and ginger.

It may seem daunting to embark on this nutritional experiment. But remember that not all foods that cause joint inflammation will be verboten for you. Listen to your body and eat accordingly, so that you can live an optimal life of optimal health.

Are you interested in learning more about alternative treatments for your arthritis or other health conditions? Give us a call to learn about the services we provide.

5 Common Reasons for Joint Pain and Symptoms to Look out For

According to the CDC, about one in four adults, or 15 million people, report experiencing severe joint pain.

Joints, which are located where two bones meet, allow bones throughout your body to move. Joint pain and discomfort in your knees, elbows, hips, and shoulders can impact your mobility. In most cases, joint pain is the result of an illness like arthritis or injury.

However, there are numerous reasons for joint pain. By recognizing the common causes and symptoms of joint pain, you can visit a medical professional to get the help you need. Otherwise, you could unnecessarily live your life in pain.

Improve your quality of life by first, discovering the top joint pain causes that may be affecting you.

1. Arthritis

Were you in a sports accident or car crash? Maybe old age is causing wear and tear throughout your body. Regardless of the reasons for joint pain, discomfort can impact your daily function.

One of the top reasons for joint pain is arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).

Recognizing the cause for your joint pain can ensure you receive the proper treatment.


OA is considered the most common joint disorder in the US. About 10% of men and 13% of women over the age of 60 have symptomatic knee OA.

OA tends to affect the joints you use daily, including your hands, wrists, knees, and hips. This condition occurs when the cartilage that cushions and absorbs shock begins to wear down.

Osteoarthritis occurs as joint damage accumulates over time. One of the main causes of OA is aging.

Past injuries can also cause OA. For example, you might have a previously dislocated joint, torn cartilage, or a ligament injury. When the injury doesn’t heal properly, it can contribute to joint damage.

Poor posture and obesity can also contribute to OA.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Common OA symptoms include:

  • Inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness
  • Pain

As your OA develops, your pain will become more intense. You might also notice swelling around your joints.

It’s important to recognize the early symptoms of OA as soon as possible. That way, you can learn how to manage your symptom and minimize your pain.

The earliest signs of OA include pain and tenderness. For example, you might experience pain when trying to open a jar of sauce.

Joint stiffness is most common when you first wake up. You might also experience stiffness after sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Other early signs include abnormal sensations, such as grating of the joints.

Your joints might click or crack with movement. Loss of flexibility when bending your joints is common as well.

Make sure to speak with your doctor if you experience these early symptoms of OA.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA, on the other hand, can deform your joints over time. Rheumatoid arthritis commonly causes pain and inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s response to illness and injury.

Too much inflammation over an extended period of time, however, can cause chronic pain and certain health conditions.

In time, RA can also cause fluid to build up in your joints. This occurs as your body’s immune system behinds to attack the membrane lining your joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

RA symptoms occur in flares. You might also experience periods of remission when your symptoms disappear for a long period of time.

The most common symptoms of RA include joint:

  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Pain

You might also lose joint function or experience deformities.

As with OA, it’s important to recognize the early signs of RA as soon as possible to begin treatment. Common early signs include fatigue and stiffness in the morning. You might also experience fever, numbness, tingling, or a limited range of motion.

2. Osteoporosis

Over 200 million people suffer from osteoporosis. That includes 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50. This condition causes spaces inside of your bones to increase.

As a result, your bones will begin to lose their strength and density. The outside of your bones will also begin to thin and grow weaker in time.

Patients with osteoporosis are prone to fractures or bone brakes. As one of the most common reasons for joint pain, it’s important to start treatment before you experience a fracture.

Osteoporosis Symptoms

Not all patients experience symptoms during the early stages of osteoporosis. If you do experience symptoms, you might first notice a receding gumline.

Your grip strength will begin to weaken. Meanwhile, your nails will weaken and appear brittle as well.

Does your family have a history of osteoporosis? It can help to speak with your doctor about your risk of osteoporosis. They’ll help you manage your symptoms with an osteoporosis-based diet and exercises for improving bone strength.

3. Tendinitis

Tendons are the cords that connect muscles to bones. However, your tendons can become inflamed, which leads to tendinitis. As a result, you might find it’s difficult to move your joints.

Tendinitis is often caused by repetitive motion (from work or playing a sport). You can also develop tendonitis from old age, injury, or RA.

Tendinitis Symptoms

If you have tendinitis, you might experience tightness, swelling, or a dull ache around the joint.

Make sure to use the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) until you can see a doctor.

4. Lupus

Lupus is an auto-immune condition that causes inflammation.

There’s currently no known cure for lupus. While lupus can affect different parts of your body, it can also cause inflammation in your joints.

Lupus Symptoms

Common symptoms of lupus include:

  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • High fever

The inflammation caused by lupus can cause lung, blood, and kidney complications. Make sure to speak with your doctor before symptoms get worse.

5. Bursitis

Bursitis is a condition that causes inflammation in the fluid-filled sacs around your joints (bursae). When your bursae are inflamed, it can cause pain, discomfort, and limited mobility.

Sports-related activities, an infection, or repeated bending can lead to bursitis.

Bursitis Symptoms

If you’re asking “why do my joints hurt?” make sure to look out for these symptoms of bursitis:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Difficulty bending your arm or leg
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pain when lying on your hip

Let your doctor know you’re experiencing these symptoms along with joint pain.

Discuss These 5 Common Reasons for Joint Pain With Your Doctor

Don’t let these common reasons for joint pain slow you down. Instead, discuss these symptoms with your doctor and get the information and treatment you deserve. They can determine if your joint pain is associated with another condition.

Seeking help for joint pain in Hawaii?

Book an appointment and explore our advanced stem cell technologies today.

The Impact of Stem Cell Therapy For Osteoarthritis

If you’re dealing with arthritis, your diagnosis may seem hopeless. Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disease caused by the breakdown of cartilage over the ends of your bones, resulting in pain, decreased range of motion, and stiffness. But what if we told it may be possible to grow that cartilage back?

While it may not be for everyone, stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis is a promising treatment option. To some, the approach may seem relatively new, but some studies have shown that it may be possible to reverse the effects of osteoarthritis. Read on to learn more about this therapy and how it can help you with your arthritis.

What Is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cells are sometimes refered to as the body’s master cells.  They are simply cells that can become the different types of tissue our bodies need as we grow and can help repair damaged tissue when we are injured.  These cells can form into many different types of cells: stomach, hair, liver, and even bone, etc.  Because of this ability, they have enormous potential to treat degenerative conditions in instances where our bodies can’t regrow those cells fast enough to keep up with the degenerative effects of aging or injury.

In the past stem cell therapy was negatively associated with the destruction of embryos or even abortion.  But these days, stem cells can be harvested from the perinatal tissue that would normally be discarded from healthy births.  In this process, the mother is rigorously screened for disease and lifestyle history, and once collected, the tissue is also screened for disease.  All donations are completely consensual, and neither the mother nor baby are harmed during the collection of this rich source of regenerative tissue.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms and Current Treatments

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and it affects the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones. Over time, this wears down, causing the bones to grind together. This condition can be painful, cause swelling, and limit mobility.

Until now, there have been ways to mitigate the symptoms of arthritis, but no way to reverse the damage.  Physical therapy can provide relief to a point, and some may elect to receive cortisone or lubrication injections to ease the pain.  The last option for many people with advanced osteoarthritis is a joint replacement surgery.

How Stem Cells Can Help

With stem cell therapy, we may be able to reverse osteoarthritis and help avoid joint replacements.  Because stem cells have the ability to become many types of tissue, they can develop into cartilage cells. This can help provide relief from pain and inflammation and reverse the damage from osteoarthritis.

According to one study, patients who received stem cell treatments for arthritis in their knees reported they were still in better shape five years after the study than before their treatments.  For a degenerative disease that has previously had no cure, this is an enormous step.

What to Expect During Treatment

One great benefit of stem cell injections for osteoarthritis is the treatments are noninvasive. Most can be managed with a simple injection into the affected joint. In some cases they may also be administered through an IV.

After a preliminary examination, the doctor may use ultrasound to evaluate the joint and after sterilizing the area may use the ultrasound to guide the needle into the correct location. Treatments are usually peformed in less than an hour and sometimes can be performed in as little as fifteen minutes.


Stem cell therapy, while promising, is not cheap.  Because it falls outside the traditional “prescription to surgery” model of treatment, many insurance companies do not cover it yet. But as the effectiveness of stem cell therapy gains more attention, that will change, so it may be worth checking with your insurance company just in case.

Stem cell therapy treatments for knee arthritis can run between $3,000 and $8,000 per knee. This may depend on where you live.  It may be more expensive in some areas of the country, so talk to your doctor about how much you can expect to pay for this treatment.

Side Effects

Because stem cell therapy is so noninvasive, the side effects are limited. The most common complaint after a stem cell therapy injection is pain at the injection site. You may also experience a little swelling or some stiffness in the joint for a day or two after.

Because perinatal stem cells are immune privileged, they can be given to anyone without risk of rejection.  If the pain and swelling persists, you may need to consult your provider.  With any injection, there is a small risk of infection at the injection site.


If you’re receiving stem cell therapy, be sure you’re working through a clinic or medical provider who has experience in these therapies.  Medical providers who have experience in orthopedics or intra-articular injections may be most qualified to peform your treatments.

Learn More About Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis

While it may not be for everyone, stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis is one of the most promising treatment options available today. Stem cells can help regrow lost cartilage and reverse the damage and pain associated with arthritis.

If you’d like to learn more about stem cell therapy for arthritis, or find out if you might be a good candidate for this type of therapy, come see us at the Stem Cell Institute of Hawaii. We address joint pain, osteoarthritis, and injuries with cutting-edge, regenerative treatments. Book an appointment today and get your questions about stem cell therapy treatment answered.