Whether you have arthritis or an injury that hurts your knee, joint pain can be the worst. You can do exercises to reduce this pain, but sometimes what you eat also matters. If you’re someone who loves peanuts and has knee pain, you might wonder if you should cut this delicious snack from your diet.
Peanuts aren’t bad for knee pain. However, the type of peanuts you eat can affect your health, with salted nuts possibly making joint pain worse than unsalted nuts. Although they’re generally safe to eat, peanuts should be eliminated if you notice increased pain after consuming them.
In this article, I’ll give you all the information you need on knee pain-management diets. I’ll elaborate on whether peanuts can improve or worsen knee pain, and list other foods that are good and bad for joint pain in general.
Should You Eat Peanuts if You Have Knee Pain?
You can eat peanuts if you have knee pain. Unless you have a peanut allergy or don’t like how they taste, you can and should eat peanuts to help with joint pain. Try to snack on a handful of unsalted peanuts, and avoid peanut products with added sugar and salt.
Both salt and sugar are known to aggravate joint pain. Salt has been linked to a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis, while sugar stimulates the production of inflammatory proteins known as cytokines.
Luckily, you don’t have to stick to ordinary unsalted peanuts. You can also go with natural peanut butter, which doesn’t have as much salt and sugar as other varieties. As long as you eat peanut products in moderation, and these products keep salt and sugar to a minimum, there’s no reason peanuts should be bad for knee pain.
How Do Peanuts Help With Knee Pain?
Peanuts help with knee pain through their weight management properties, according to the Arthritis Foundation. That’s because peanuts are a filling snack, so anyone who consumes them is unlikely to overeat. Also, they can lower bad cholesterol and cut the risk of heart disease.
What Other Health Benefits Do Peanuts Have?
Peanuts have other health benefits such as omega-3 acids and iron. Omega-3 facilitates heart health, while iron prevents illnesses such as anemia. Peanuts are also rich in protein, which is essential for healthy muscles and bones.
What Foods Are Bad for Joint Pain?
Foods that are bad for joint pain contain processed sugar, saturated fats, dairy, and alcohol. Generally, foods that are highly processed and refined should be avoided by people who suffer knee pain and other types of joint pain.
If you want to reduce joint pain through your diet, consider eliminating the following types of food. Remember to consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.
As noted earlier, sugar causes your body to produce cytokines. Cytokines aid the body’s ability to fight off infection by directing the movement of immune cells towards an infected area. However, the overproduction of cytokines can aggravate joint pain.
Further, processed sugar is refined and can be more difficult for the body to process. If you’ve ever noticed your gums swell after eating too many sweets, that’s a demonstration of this. Since sugar promotes inflammation, reducing or eliminating sugar from your diet can ease joint pain.
You can usually find saturated fats in animal products like red meat and milk, as well as processed foods. Even healthy options like peanuts have them, though in much smaller quantities. If possible, limit your consumption of saturated fats, as they can also aggravate joint pain.
When saturated fat deposits accumulate in the cartilage of your joints, they weaken that cartilage and make your joints more susceptible to inflammation. There’s also the fact that saturated fats cause you to gain weight, putting even more pressure on your knees.
On the one hand, milk contains calcium, which strengthens your bones. On the other hand, the consumption of dairy products has been linked to increased inflammation in adults. In fact, those who suffered from osteoarthritis (a form of joint inflammation) and had a dairy-rich diet raised their likelihood of requiring hip replacement surgery. So is dairy good or bad for joint pain?
Unless you’re lactose-intolerant, consuming dairy products in moderation shouldn’t boost inflammation in your body. The keyword is “in moderation,” because dairy products have high levels of fat that can bump up your risk of heart disease.
To date, there’s little to no evidence linking alcohol consumption with joint pain. However, alcohol appears to contribute to chronic inflammation, which joint pain sufferers tend to have. Also, alcohol has a dehydrating effect, thereby aggravating joint pain even further.
Other Processed and Refined Foods
Processed and refined foods are often high in salt, which (as noted earlier) has a direct link to joint pain. They’re also usually rich in trans fats, which increase joint pain — not to mention boost your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even death.
What Foods Are Good for Joint Pain?
After reading the previous section, you may feel discouraged, as a lot of popular foods have one or more of the ingredients listed. Luckily, there are also plenty of culinary options that taste good and won’t put your knees (or other joints) in a world of hurt.
Foods that are good for joint pain have omega-3 fatty acids. You can also munch on berries, garlic, leafy greens, and green tea. All of these contain ingredients that help ease (or, at least, won’t put pressure on) your joints.
Here are the foods good for joint pain:
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Not only does omega-3 promote heart health, but it can also reduce swelling in inflamed areas of your body.
- Berries. Berries have it all: vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory elements.
- Garlic. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Leafy greens. Leafy greens have calcium and Vitamin C, which promote joint health as well.
- Green tea. Green tea is rich in antioxidants that can bring down inflammation.
Peanuts are one of many foods that can help if you have knee pain. However, while I have listed foods to eat and avoid to deal with joint pain, you must first talk to your doctor before changing your diet in any way.
Also, remember that simply changing what you eat won’t cure your joint pain by itself. Don’t cut back on any medications or treatment you’re currently undergoing.