Joint /knee pain after eating meat is a vague symptom of some different health conditions. But in general, it may signal an inflammation in the affected joint, which may also point to the existence of joint disease particularly such as gout (a kind of arthritis).
Actually, inflammation is a natural mechanism in the body to support some body’s functions. For instances, it is required to help fight against infection, repair damaged tissue, and remove debris. In general, it can be a crucial part of the healing system.
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But too much of thing, even for a good thing, can be counterproductive. The same goes for excessive inflammation in the body.
Why you need to care about inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is involved in some health conditions. A low-grade inflammation that becomes chronic is a trigger of atherosclerosis (a condition associated with narrowing & hardening blood vessels, especially arteries), increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, problems related to peripheral artery dysfunction, and even memory loss problem such as vascular dementia.
Excess inflammation in the body usually doesn’t occur on its own. Many times, it is triggered by lifestyle factors such as becoming a sedentary individual (lack of physical activity), smoking, and poor diet. Yap, what you eat can help ease or worsen the excess inflammation in your body.
See also some foods that can be a trigger of excess inflammation in the body in here, before continuing!
Too much meat you eat can be a trigger of excess inflammation
Meat is high in saturated fats, unhealthy fats for your overall health. Therefore, generally it is recommended to get the most fat intake in your daily diet comes from healthy fats (unsaturated fats). Saturated fats can be a stimulant for the excess production of adipose, worsening inflammation particularly true if you have arthritis.
And meat is a host of omega-6 fatty acids, too. Actually, these fats are as essential as omega-3 fatty acids. But many of omga-6 fatty acids can promote inflammation – though not all of these fats promote inflammation.
The consumption of omega-6s should be balance with the amount of omega-3s you eat. Ideally, experts recommend the ratio ‘4 : 1’ – ‘4’ for omega-6s and ‘1’ for omega-3s. If you eat meat too much, this can disturb the balance of this ratio!
When the number of omega-6s in the body is much higher than omega-3s, this can stimulate the body to activate certain enzymes that cause pain and inflammation in the joint such as in the knees.
Experts confirm that certain enzymes such as cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2 play a key role in causing joint inflammation. The activation of these enzymes (particularly cyclooxygenase-2) can be triggered by too much consumption of omega-6s.
In addition, the use of anti-inflammatory medicines such as NSAIDs is common for arthritis. And these medicines work by blocking cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2 in order to reduce the chance of inflammation in the joint.
Gout can cause a sudden flare-up of symptoms such as joint pain and tenderness in the affected joint. Typically, it often affects the big toe joint. Other joints that are commonly affected are knee, elbow, and wrist. In a few cases, it also affects spine and hip.
This kind of arthritis is associated with the excess accumulation of small crystals of uric acid in the joint. In responding the higher-than-normal uric acid level, the body tries to remove it. But as the body removes it, a painful inflammation occurs.
Actually, the exact way of how gout occurs may be not fully understood yet.
Though it is currently thought as a consequence of excess uric acid in the joint (as noted before), but not all people with too much uric acid in the blood develop gout.
How do you get excess uric acid in the joint?
The accumulation of small crystals (urate crystals) in the joint is derived from high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid can be found naturally in the body or from certain foods that you eat.
The body has its own natural mechanism to keep the uric acid level in the blood normal. But certain conditions can make it increase significantly in the blood. As a result, it can be accumulated in some parts of the body such as in the joints, particularly the larger joint of big toe.
Uric acid can dissolve in the bloodstream and then will pass through the kidneys for removing with the urine. Typically, there are two major possible causes of why the body fails in regulating and keeping the levels of uric acid normal:
- The body produces too much uric acid.
- Or when the kidneys are poor in removing excess uric acid.
Then, does too much eating meat increase the risk of gout arthritis?