If you suffer from arthritis, then you know the pain and difficulties that accompany this condition. Fortunately, there are good nutritional habits that can help ease arthritis symptoms. One of the best ways to relieve pain is by eating a healthy diet of non-inflammatory foods.
The relationship between food and arthritis symptoms.
Over the centuries, many claims have been made about the influence of eating habits and nutritional supplements on arthritis. Some of these claims are supported by medical evidence and some are reasonable theories. However, for most of these claims, we are simply not sure.
Even without all the proof, there are many healthy nutritional ideas you can consider.
Brief overview of what is arthritis.
Arthritis is a very common health condition, with more than 3 million cases reported each year in the United States alone. This condition is manifested by swelling and tenderness around the joints that generally worsens with age. The two most common types of the disease are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. However, there are more than 100 types, including:
- Rheumatic fever.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Back pain.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the bones begins to break down, while rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that occurs when the immune system attacks the joints. Treatment depends on the type of condition you have, but the main focus of treatment is to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
A key part of treatment is preventing inflammation from getting worse, as more inflammation means more pain. What can you do? A great first step is avoiding foods that are scientifically linked to chronic inflammation, such as refined sugars and fried foods. Making simple changes to your diet can help alleviate some symptoms of this condition, such as pain and swelling.
Foods to avoid if you suffer from arthritis.
If you think you are suffering from arthritis, be sure to consult a healthcare professional to determine the best plan of action for you. But if you’re ready to regain some control in your life, read on and discover 14 foods you should always avoid.
1. Frozen foods with high doses of sodium.
Corticosteroids are a common treatment used to treat inflammation, and they are often prescribed by doctors for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. These corticosteroids can make your body retain more salt. A regular intake of excess sodium can contribute to inflammation in the body. Experts recommend limiting your daily sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams.
2. Soft drinks.
As mentioned, sugar is involved in inflammation in the body, and research has shown that sugar-sweetened sodas are linked to increased arthritic symptoms in women. One study found that consuming just one sugary soda per day increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by up to 63 percent. Most sodas are high in sugar that far exceeds the recommended daily allowance.
3. Fruit juices with sugar.
If sugary sodas are bad for you, that means sugary fruit juices are just as bad. Fruit juices that are high in sugar are key factors for inflammation. Chronic pain and fibromyalgia are substantially affected by microglial activation and the central sensitization process. Sugar is a key driver in facilitating this process, thereby substantially amplifying arthritic pain.
4. Ice cream and foods with refined sugar.
Ice cream contains saturated fat and added sugars, which is a perfect mix for promoting inflammation. Saturated fats are one of the biggest culprits for inflammation in the body.
5. Baked goods.
Speaking of desserts, baked goods containing partially hydrogenated oil are a food group that anyone suffering from inflammation in the body should avoid at all costs. Partially hydrogenated oil contains trans-fat, an ingredient that you should always avoid. Trans fats can trigger inflammation, and regular consumption of trans fats can lead to:
- Increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol.
- Decrease in “good” HDL cholesterol.
- Increased risk of developing heart disease.
Since trans fats were mentioned, it is important to note that margarine, the favorite substitute for butter, is a food that you should not consume in any way. Margarine is generally made from trans fats, which are associated with heart disease, cancer, and inflammation. This food group also includes vegetable oils, which undergo a hydrogenation process that changes their chemical properties.
7. Polyunsaturated cooking oil.
Polyunsaturated cooking oils, such as soy, safflower, corn, sunflower, and canola oil, are commonly found in restaurants and homes. These cooking oils are rich in omega-6 fatty acids but are lacking in omega-3 fatty acids. Most adults do not eat enough whole foods that contain omega-3s, and an imbalance of these acids can cause inflammation, which in turn can worsen symptoms of pain and inflammation throughout the body.
8. Fried foods.
As a general health rule, you should stay away from fried foods. This advice is because fried foods are often fried in oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which upset the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Including these foods in your diet can cause more inflammation and make arthritis symptoms worse.
9. Whole cheeses.
Cheese is one of the most precious ingredients in the kitchen. However, it is important to remember that most cheeses are packed with saturated fat. These fats have been scientifically proven to be a trigger for inflammation in the body.
10. Refined flours.
A study by The Journal of Nutrition revealed that white flour greatly promotes inflammation. This can worsen the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in the body, which significantly affects the presence of inflammation in the joints by affecting prostaglandin E3. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for preventing diabetes and heart disease, protecting the brain, and fighting inflammation.
11. Pasta and pizza.
If pain and inflammation are a health issue you’re dealing with, you may want (or should) stop ordering pizzas. Pizza is one of the largest sources of saturated fat due to the cheese and meat it contains. The saturated fats found in cheese can trigger inflammation in the body, which can worsen symptoms and also cause heart disease.
Pretzels are an all-time favorite snack. However, several studies link this snack to inflammation in the body. Pretzels are a form of refined grains, which are not the best for a healthy microbiome. To have healthier intestines it is preferable to consume whole foods that are rich in fiber such as pistachios, chickpeas, quinoa, fruits and oats.
13. Canned fruits in syrup.
Although fruit is an essential part of any healthy diet, you should avoid fruits canned in syrup. This is because the added sugars in the syrup can cause proteins called cytokines to be released into the body. Cytokines have been linked to increased inflammation. However, this only applies to canned fruit that is in heavy syrup. Dried fruits or canned fruits that do not have added sugar are perfectly safe to consume.
14. Sausages and other processed meats.
Processed foods are generally highly discouraged due to their high salt and fat content. Processed meats are rich in Advanced Glycosylation End Products (AGEs), which are inflammation triggers and can make your symptoms worse. AGEs are present in all types of meats, but there are higher concentrations of AGEs in processed meats. So, if sausages are essential in your diet, look for organic or totally natural products.