Arthritis is a condition of inflammation of one or more joints. It is a common health condition that causes pain and damage to bones, joints, and other parts of the body, depending upon the type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, which is non-inflammatory. While gout, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis are inflammatory conditions. Your diet plays a vital role in your health. The right food can lower the risk of various health issues. Research has stated that you can enjoy a better arthritis-free life if you avoid certain foods from your meal. If you face joint pain or bone aches, you can reduce your disease symptoms by avoiding foods and beverages.
To combat arthritis, you need to include anti-inflammatory foods like green leafy vegetables and avoid inflammatory foods. You must also avoid diets high in sugar, salt, fat, and refined grains as they can worsen arthritis symptoms. Here is a list of a few foods that you must avoid to reduce the effects of arthritis.
Red meat contains a high amount of fat. Red meat or processed meat consumption can lead to worsening arthritis symptoms and swelling of joints. Red meat contains more fats than plant-based proteins or white meats. So it is better to avoid red meat and substitute it with chicken, legumes, fish, or nuts.
Omega Six Fatty Acids
Foods rich in omega-six fatty acids like safflower, corn, sunflower, peanut, soy oils, and most meats worsen the inflammatory conditions. These foods are not very healthy. If you consume more such foods, then it will release chemicals that cause inflammation. So if you avoid them, it will help you to reduce the effects and symptoms of arthritis.
Added Sugar And Sugar Alternatives
Excessive sugar is always harmful to your body. If you have arthritis, then you must avoid sugar for sure. Foods containing refined sugars like candy, soda, juices, pastries, sweet tea, ice creams, chocolates, and other sweetened drinks trigger cytokinin release, a protein in the body that leads to inflammation. Thus numerous such sugar-containing foods worsen the symptoms of arthritis. Not only sugar you have to avoid, but also sugar alternatives to reduce the risk of arthritis.
Fried food items like french fries, donuts, fried chicken, etc., contain fats. They are also prepared in oils. These things lead to inflammation and worsen arthritis symptoms. In addition to fats, fried foods also contain added sugar and salts.
You must avoid processed foods such as breakfast cereal, baked goods, pre-packaged snacks and meals, frozen meals, fast food, lunch meat, etc. These food items contain trans fats, and trans fats cause systemic inflammation. Despite fats, it also contains refined grains, salt, and added sugars. If you consume more highly processed foods, it will lead to insulin resistance and obesity, worsening arthritis symptoms. Processed foods are not only harmful in case of arthritis; it is also detrimental for your overall health and increases the risk of other diseases.
When you process grains into white rice or white flour, your grains will lose most nutrients and fiber. Refined carbohydrates are white flour products like white pasta, white bread, crackers, elevated blood sugar levels, and increasing inflammation. Therefore you must avoid refined carbohydrates and consume more complex carbohydrates like quinoa, brown rice, and whole grains.
Consumption of alcohol will only worsen the symptoms of arthritis. Cutting down the consumption of alcohol will give you relief in inflammatory joint pain. But experts say that moderate consumption is good for health. Red wine contains antioxidants, which is an anti-inflammatory property.
High-Fat Dairy Products
You must avoid full-fat dairy products because research state that certain dairy products like cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and butter contain high saturated fats and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). It increases the risk of arthritis and worsens its symptoms. Some dairy products have anti-inflammatory properties, also. For example, greek yogurt helps reduce the effects of arthritis as it contains probiotics.
If you have arthritis, it would be best to avoid foods containing salts. Food items like canned soup, pizza, certain cheeses, processed meats, shrimp, and other processed foods include high salts. Not only for arthritis, but excessive salt consumption is also harmful to your health. High salts increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. So better to avoid foods having high salts.
Foods Containing Gluten
Gluten is a group of proteins in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It provides the texture and structure of the grain products. Many researchers have found that you will experience relief in inflammation and arthritis symptoms if you consume a gluten-free diet. So try to avoid food items containing gluten if you have arthritis.
Foods Containing AGEs
AGEs or advanced glycation end products are naturally present in uncooked animal foods and sometimes formed by specific cooking methods. Foods rich in AGEs are french fries, margarine, mayonnaise, American cheese, bacon, roasted or fried chicken, broiled hot dogs, grilled or pan-fried steak, etc. When in excess, AGEs cause inflammation and oxidative stress. So avoid such foods and include nutritious foods in your diet.
Besides avoiding these diets, several different methods can relieve your joint pain and inflammation.
- Exercise: Low-impact exercises help you to stay healthy and active without damaging your joints. Cycling, walking, or swimming can ease your arthritis.
- Kitchen Practices: Adopting some kitchen practices will be beneficial for your health. For example, changing cooking methods will help you preserve certain nutrients essential for a healthy body. Like instead of deep-frying, you can do light frying in healthy oil and avoid boiling and steaming.
- Vitamin D: Sun exposure will help you gain an adequate amount of vitamin D, which allows the body to absorb calcium; therefore, it is essential for bone health. Several foods contain calcium, but if you spend some time in the sunshine, your body will get the proper vitamin D quantity.
Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet might help you, to some extent, ease arthritis pain. These foods include anti-inflammatory fats, plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Here is a list of a few food items you can include in your diet to relieve arthritis.
Unsaturated fats like avocado oil, olive oil, and oils from seeds and nuts have anti-inflammatory properties. Oily fishes like sardines, salmon, and herring are rich in omega-three fatty acids. And it is also an anti-inflammatory fat. If you include fish oil supplements in your daily diet, then it will help you to reduce swelling, stiffness, and pain in joints. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can go for walnut oil or walnuts to get omega-three fatty acids. Though coconut oil is saturated fat, some studies have shown that it has anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial in arthritis symptoms.
Fruits And Vegetables
Some studies have stated that it can reduce arthritis symptoms if you consume plant-based diets. Green leafy vegetables contain antioxidants, and some vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and swiss chard also contain calcium, which is a vital component for your optimal bone health. Some vegetables like onions, leeks, and garlic contain anti-inflammatory compounds and sulfur compounds. And sulfur compounds help in reducing cartilage damage. Sweet potatoes, carrots, red vegetables, oranges, and squash also contain antioxidants. Research says that fruits rich in vitamin C keep your bone and cartilage intact. These fruits include strawberries, citrus fruits, and kiwifruit.
If you include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, it will help you stay healthy and avoid arthritis symptoms. The Mediterranean diet is one of the most recommended anti-inflammatory diets by researchers. Mediterranean diet includes olive oil, lean meats, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and seeds, and nuts. This diet focuses on moderate quantities of dairy products but a low amount of sugar, red meat, and alcohol. It has been stated that the Mediterranean diet decreases joint pain and inflammation and is helpful against fracture risk. As the diet is plant-based, you may experience losing weight also.
A healthy diet and a proper lifestyle will help improve your arthritis symptoms. Your diet allows you to maintain moderate weight, avoid specific trigger foods, promote tissue health and healing, and decrease inflammation in the body. Research proves that avoiding certain foods and beverages, including fried foods, highly processed foods, red meat, and those rich in added salts and sugars, helps reduce arthritis. Saturated fats and sugars cause inflammation, and foods that cause inflammation worsens symptoms of arthritis.
Some people also experience an elevation in joint pain by consuming food high in purines and nightshades. Nightshades are food groups containing vegetables with compound solanine. They include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, and chili peppers. Remember that some lifestyle factors such as body weight, activity level, smoking, and alcohol consumption status are also essential to ease arthritis. If you have arthritis and want a change in your diet plan, then it is recommended that you consult a registered dietician for the same.