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How Some Foods Can Make Joint Pain Worse

July 25, 2019

Eating can make joint pain even worse when certain foods cause inflammation.

Find out more about the relationship between food and inflammation from Chris Barrett, a sports nutritionist and dietitian and the Bone & Joint Institute at Hartford Hospital:

Q. What leads to inflammation and what types of foods should you avoid?
A. Inflammation can be either chronic or acute. Acute inflammation can occur after an injury, infection or surgery. Chronic inflammation is a long term process that can be caused stress, poor diet and more. There are a variety of different foods that can lead to inflammation in the joints. The foods you should typically reduce or avoid are trans-fats, which includes fried foods, processed foods, soda and processed meats, just to name of few.

Q. If you’re eliminating certain foods from your diet, what are some that you should add?
A. When adjusting your diet and looking for foods that are anti-inflammatory, look for foods high in fiber. When most people hear the word fiber they don’t know what it means. Fiber is fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Whole grains is a very trendy word right now — examples of that include oatmeal, wild rice, barley, whole wheat pasta, quinoa and more. Fish with Omega-3 are good to add to your diet and include salmon, sardines and also nuts like walnuts. 

Q. These all sound like great tips for people with arthritis, which is what you think about when you hear joint pain. You are a sports nutritionist, how does this help athletes?
A. Athletes release compounds known as free radicals. Free radicals can cause cell damage, loss of muscle function, and result in an inflammatory response. Eating foods that are rich in antioxidants and Omega-3s help protect their joints too. These nutrients aid in the growth and restoration of injured tissue and can help to enhance both short and long-term recovery after exercise.

Q. You have several classes coming up, including an anti-inflammatory class at the bone and joint institute. What can people expect if they sign up?
A. It is a 3-part series where participants work together in a hands-on, fun environment, led by our professional chef instructors. Each week we go through different recipes and people learn how to make simple yet delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack/smoothie recipes.

Join Chris Barrett Aug 6 at 8:30 for a Walk to Wellness anti-inflammatory diet seminar  at Westfarms mall. To register, click here. For information about a three-week, Anti-Inflammatory Cooking Class Series at the Hartford HealthCare Bone & Joint Institute, click here.