Are There Foods That Help Joint Pain?

Joint pain is usually accompanied by inflammation 1. Over-the-counter drugs contain anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medication. If you would like to avoid medications, there are natural ways to help alleviate the pain in your joints, including a healthy diet. Just as there are some foods that can worsen inflammation and cause joint pain, there are other foods and nutrients that can relieve it 1.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Joint Pain

Joint pain can be caused by a number of factors such as arthritis, bursitis, gout, tendinitis or overuse 1. It may occur from muscle injury or degeneration of the surrounding cartilage. There are different types of arthritis that can cause joint pain and inflammation 1. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes stiffness and pain in your joints and osteoarthritis involves the growth of bone spurs, according to MedlinePlus 1.

Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients

Foods that can help with joint pain and inflammation are omega-3 fatty acids which are found in salmon, tuna, walnuts or olive oil 1. Other foods beneficial for pain and inflammation are dark, green leafy vegetables, fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C and E which are rich in antioxidants. Excellent sources of vitamin C include:

  • parsley
  • broccoli
  • oranges
  • strawberries
  • papaya
  • cauliflower
  • kale

Excellent sources of vitamin E include mustard greens, sunflower seeds, almonds and spinach.

Benefits of Nutrients

Omega-3 fatty acids can help your symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis including joint pain and morning stiffness, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 12. It does not, however, slow the progression of the disease or prevent damage to your joints. Vitamin C and E get much of its protective abilities from antioxidants which help to prevent cell damage. All parts of your body, joints included, need oxygen and it is the antioxidants that keep oxygen-containing molecules from becoming too reactive and damaging the surrounding cell structures.

Foods To Avoid

Just as there are foods to help with the inflammation and pain of your joints, there are foods to avoid in order to keep the pain and inflammation from getting worse. Other foods to avoid are refined sugar, processed foods and prepackaged meals. Additional foods that may worsen inflammation include:

  • corn products
  • gluten
  • dairy products
  • yeast
  • eggs
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • eggplant


Some substances build up in the body and become toxic. This can cause inflammation to increase. These substances can be from alcohol, prescription drugs, cigarettes or from cleaning spray products used around your house. Heavy metals such as iron, lead and mercury can exacerbate inflammation as well.