There are more than 50 million sufferers from arthritis only in the United States and for many of them trying to manage pain and inflammation is a daily battle.
Typical treatment involves pain-reducing medication however, it doesn’t address the real problem. While there is no definitive arthritis diet, research suggests that getting rid of inflammatory foods in your diet can help you reduce inflammation and manage arthritis pain naturally.
In this article, we’ll discuss nine foods to avoid if you have arthritis:
1. Gluten & wheat
Gluten and wheat both produce an inflammatory response, particularly in folks who are intolerant to either. A leaky gut, or increased gut permeability, has been linked to joint pain in many studies.
A leaky gut allows toxins and waste to enter the bloodstream via the intestines; these harmful byproducts are seen as a threat, and the body initiates an immune response. The immune response is what leads to inflammation; sometimes targeting areas in and around the joints.
Dairy products may contribute to arthritis pain due to the type of protein (casein) they contain. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, for some people, this protein may irritate the tissue around the joints. Some sufferers of arthritis pain have success switching to a vegan diet, which contains no animal products whatsoever.
3. Corn oil
Corn oil or, to be more precise, any food with high doses of omega-6 fatty acids (baked goods or baked snacks among them) can produce inflammation. It is quite easy to overindulge on this fatty acid because so many foods contain it. Corn oil isn’t the only industrial oil to refrain from consuming. All oils derived from seeds such as cottonseed, canola, grapeseed, soybean, safflower, rice brain, and sunflower oil, should also be avoided.
4. Fried & processed foods
Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine examined disease prevention through diet. Findings showed that cutting back on the consumption of fried and processed foods, such as fried meats and prepared frozen meals, can reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body’s natural defenses.
5. Salt & preservatives
Many foods produced today include excessive amounts of salt and preservatives; the former makes some foods more palatable, and the latter artificially extend a product’s shelf life. Regardless, consuming too much salt and preservatives may produce inflammation within the joints.
Prepared foods, including of the frozen and microwavable varieties, are often loaded with salt, preservatives, and additives.
6. Certain vegetables
The plant name for these vegetables is Solanaceae, and they contain solanine – a type of compound that produces adverse physiological reactions in arthritis patients. Consuming vegetables like eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes can worsen arthritis pain.
If you’re a fan of sweet potatoes, here’s some great news: they’re not within this class of vegetables, and are okay to eat.
7. Refined sugars
Research has shown that processed sugar triggers the release of inflammatory messengers, known as cytokines. Sugar can hide under many different names on ingredient labels, including as fructose or sucrose. Skip the pastries, candy bars, sodas and processed fruit juices.
8. Alcohol & tobacco
Tobacco and alcohol use can lead to a number of health problems, including some that may affect your joints. Smokers are more at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis, while those who consume alcohol have a higher risk for developing gout.
9. Lower your AGEs
An advanced glycation end product (AGE), is a toxin that appears when foods are heated, grilled, fried, or pasteurized. AGEs damage certain proteins in the body and the body tries to break these AGEs apart by using cytokines, which are inflammatory messengers. Depending on where the AGEs occur, they may result in arthritis or other forms of inflammation.
What to eat instead
Here are some of the best food types for arthritis, including examples of each type, as reported by the Arthritis Foundation:
- Omega-3-rich fish: Herring, mackerel, salmon, and tuna
- Soybeans: Tofu and edamame
- Omega-3 foods and oil: Extra virgin oil, avocado, walnuts, walnut oil
- Green tea
- Citrus fruits: Grapefruits, limes, and oranges
- Whole grains: Brown rice, oatmeal
- Beans: Kidney beans, pinto beans, and red beans