Arthritis involves inflammation in your joints, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. While physical therapy and steroid injections can help reduce symptoms, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet play key roles in managing arthritis.
Learn which foods to avoid and which foods to eat with arthritis.
9 foods that can trigger arthritis symptoms
- Added sugars: Eating foods high in added sugars can worsen arthritis symptoms by promoting inflammation in the body. Avoid ice cream, soda, candy, and other sugary foods.
- Processed meats: Saturated fat is the main culprit behind inflammation and can be found especially in processed meat. Avoid high-fat, processed meat such as hot dogs, sausages, and bacon.
- Dairy products: Dairy products such as butter, whole milk, and cheese are also high in saturated fat and contain casein, which can increase inflammation. Switching to low-fat dairy products can help keep your symptoms under control.
- Deep fried foods: Deep fried foods can lead to an imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and result in inflammation. Avoid French fries, fried chicken, and other fried foods.
- Trans fats: Trans fats can increase the amount of bad or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in your body, leading to inflammation. Avoid coffee creamers, margarine, etc. as these can worsen arthritis symptoms.
- Gluten: Even if you don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, gluten can damage your small intestine, leading to joint inflammation.Avoid wheat, rye and barley to prevent joint stiffness and other symptoms.
- Advanced glycation end (AGE) products: Cooking food at high temperatures or eating pasteurized foods can produce harmful compounds called AGE products which damage proteins in your body, triggering your immune system to destroy them with the help of cytokines. Cytokines are responsible for producing inflammation.
- Additives: Packaged foods are loaded with additives and preservatives like monosodium glutamate and aspartame, which are linked to increased inflammation and should be avoided.
- Tobacco and alcohol: Smoking increases your risk of rheumatoid arthritis, and alcohol can increase your risk of gout.
What foods can help prevent arthritis attacks?
Some foods, such as those rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, can reduce inflammation and alleviate arthritis symptoms:
- Fruits: Cherries, blackberries, and blueberries are rich in antioxidants.
- Veggies: Cauliflower, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli contain tons of nutrients that can help fight inflammation.
- Whole grains: Fiber-rich, unprocessed foods such as brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal help lower inflammation as well.
- Beans: Beans are high in both fiber and antioxidants, which make them anti-inflammatory.
- Nuts: Nuts have omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, in addition to monounsaturated fats, which all help to prevent inflammation.
- Fish: Consuming salmon, tuna, and sardines can help fight inflammation because they contain omega-3 fatty acids and various antioxidants.
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