Foods to Avoid for Arthritis
Inflammation caused by arthritis is usually managed with anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers. If you have arthritis, your doctor may have recommended that you avoid foods that promote inflammation. You can help suppress inflammation by consuming anti-inflammatory foods such as colourful vegetables and leafy greens. However, you can further exacerbate the condition if you continue consuming inflammatory foods, such as the ones listed below.
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Red Meat and Fried Foods
The high level of saturated fats in red meat can cause a spike in cholesterol levels and increased inflammation in the body. Meat also contains high levels of AGEs (advanced glycation end-products) that simulate inflammation, especially when it is grilled, fried, or roasted. Fried chicken also contributes to inflammation in the body.
In addition to fried chicken, other fried foods like french fries and donuts contain trans fats, along with AGEs. Instead of getting them from meats, look into other protein sources, including nut butter, tofu, spinach, lentils, beans, quinoa, etc.
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Dairy products like cheese, cream cheese, margarine, mayonnaise, and butter are high in AGEs and saturated fats and should be consumed sparingly as they are substantial inflammation triggers. Conversely, fermented dairy products like Greek yogurt contain active bacterial cultures and are anti-inflammatory for people who are not allergic or sensitive to cow’s milk. That being said, the consumption of dairy remains a grey area, as there is conflicting evidence regarding the suitability of consuming any dairy, including Greek yogurt.If you are trying to reduce inflammation, consider eliminating all dairy products for a few weeks to see how your body responds.
Salt and Preservatives
One of the keys to fighting arthritis is to educate yourself on what is in your food. Some food products contain excessive amounts of salt and preservatives to help promote a longer shelf life. Excessive consumption of salt is directly related to inflammation of your joints. Reducing your salt intake as much as possible is beneficial for your joints and your health.
When eating packaged food, read labels carefully and make note of any added additives or preservatives. Although prepared meals are convenient, they are often high in sodium. Nonetheless, limiting sodium in your diet can help you manage your arthritis.
Avoid processed foods like prepackaged meals, snacks, and baked goods. These foods contain trans fats, which help preserve and extend their shelf-life. As previously indicated, trans fats can promote inflammation in your body.
Sugar and Sugar Alternatives
Foods containing refined sugar, such as chocolate, candy, fruit juice, soda, and pastries, promote the release of cytokine, a protein that causes inflammation. Labels can be deceiving as sugar can be classified in several ways, including fructose, corn syrup, maltose, or sucrose. For this reason, it is important to check the ingredient list carefully before consuming any food item.
When you cut back on regular sugar, you might feel an urge to eat foods made with sugar alternatives, including sucralose and aspartame. Be mindful of the fact that some people are sensitive to these substances, and their consumption can lead to an inflammatory response in the body. To be on the safe side, avoid gum, diet sodas, low-fat yogurt, sugar-free candies, and pudding when a sweet tooth hits.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fatty acids are usually healthy, but only if consumed in small quantities.
Excessive consumption of corn, peanut, safflower, soy, and sunflower oils can trigger an inflammatory response in the body.
Also read: Rheumatoid arthritis natural treatment
White bread, crackers, and white pasta are made of white flour. These refined carbohydrates are known to increase your blood glucose levels, which in turn increases inflammation in the body. People that are sensitive to gluten can also suffer from inflammation and joint pain from consuming wheat products.
Alcohol and Tobacco
In addition to being tough on your liver, Alcohol increases inflammation in the body and contributes to other health issues. Although research regarding moderate alcohol consumption does not indicate adverse effects, you should still be mindful of your alcohol consumption. Tobacco is also known to affect your joints and puts you at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are already suffering from inflammation and are trying to decrease it, cut out alcohol and tobacco entirely for four to six weeks. Not only will this help reduce arthritis pain it may also help you sleep better, which can further help you with the reduction of chronic pain symptoms.
You can counter the urge of smoking and drinking by eating a balanced diet, exercising, and giving your body an adequate amount of rest.
There is no regulated diet plan to manage arthritis, and what works for one person might not work for another. Adopting a trial and error approach will help you determine what to remove from your diet and which foods to continue consuming. Avoiding foods that encourage inflammatory will not only help you manage arthritis, but it can also help you prevent chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Read next: Natural ways to ease arthritis pain