Arthritis is a word that gets thrown out a lot. Truthfully speaking, it is a more of an umbrella term used to describe several conditions that share joint pain and inflammation. There are multiple types of arthritis, such as, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Arthritis can be truly debilitating due to the pain caused by the inflammation. But it can be prevented to a large extent by avoiding certain foods that trigger the inflammation.
1. Fried and Processed Foods
Theoretically, these should be the easiest foods to cut out of your diet as a means of improving your arthritis. But realistically speaking, fried foods and processed foods like white bread or fast food, have invaded our lives to a dangerous degree. It is important to remove these foods from your diet because they cause inflammation which causes swelling of the joint
Sugar by itself isn’t the problem, processed sugar is. When you consume processed sugar, it can cause the compound known as cytokines to be released. Cytokines function as inflammatory messengers in the body . If you want to consume sugar (let’s be real, everyone wants to consume sugar) avoid the processed kind that comes in prepackaged foods and drinks. Try drinking sugar cane or using raw sugar.
3. Refined Carbs
Refined carbohydrate are carbohydrates that have had the majority of their nutrients removed from them. They are what is commonly referred to as “empty calories”. You can typically recognize them as any carbohydrate with “white” in its name, such as, white bread and white rice. Eating large amounts of refined carbs can cause inflammation to rise up in your body.
4. Dairy Products
Dairy products can cause arthritic pain because of some specific proteins they tend to contain. Not everyone is affected by these proteins, but those who are experience irritation of the tissue surrounding the joints. The best way to determine if dairy products are causing your arthritis to act up is to abstain from eating dairy products for at least a week. Then slowly introduce dairy into your diet and monitor your body for any arthritic flare ups.
Alcohol is a bit of a controversial food since drinking it has been proven that drinking alcohol in moderation can have some serious positive health benefits. But we also know that drinking alcohol in excess can cause serious health problems, including death. Drinking heavily can cause rheumatoid arthritis symptoms to flare up, including joint pain, fatigue, and stiffness.
6. Corn Oil
Corn is one of the biggest crops in the world. Thanks to the America’s subsidizing of the corn industry, the vegetable is now used in many foods, especially the prepackaged kind. The oil is pretty high in omega6-fatty acids which have the ability to trigger inflammation in the joints and other parts of the body. You should replace foods with corn oil with healthier oils that contain omega-3 fatty acids – compounds proven to reduce inflammation. Some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are olive oil, nuts, pumpkin seeds, and fish oil.
7. Salt and Preservatives
You probably hear it from your doctor all the time, “lay off the salt”. They’re saying it for good reasons though. Many foods, especially the prepackaged variety, contain excess salt and other preservatives to increase their shelf life. Eating too much salt can cause inflammation to arise in your joints and other parts of the body. You can reduce your sodium intake by avoiding eating prepackaged foods and sparingly using any salt with foods that you prepare yourself. If you do have to buy prepackaged foods, make sure to properly check the label so you know how much sodium you’re including in your diet.
8. Saturated Fats
You should be monitoring your saturated fat intake already, especially if you’re at the age where you need to be monitoring your arthritis. But if you have arthritis, you should be paying extra close attention to how much saturated fat that you’re consuming. Foods such as red meat, pizza, and French fries can cause inflammation to arise in your body’s fatty tissue. They can also contribute to the development of obesity and other conditions that can worsen arthritis.
9. Trans Fats
Just like saturated fats, most people already know that they should avoid trans fats in their diet. Trans fats are the fats that you find in processed and fast foods. They rarely occur naturally in a person’s diet and are a result of an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil. It’s in a lot of baked goods, fried food, creamers, and prepackaged dough products. Eating them regularly can cause major inflammatory flare ups in the joints.
Keep in mind that there is no one diet plan for reducing arthritis symptoms. There is no magic bullet that will make all the pain go away. Instead, you have to commit to long term management of the condition by using a healthy diet.