Arthritis is a disease characterized by inflammation in one or more joints resulting in pain and stiffness that worsens with age. Arthritis can be of different types, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid or psoriatic, depending on the reason that has caused the condition.
Symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints and reduced range of motion. Treatment for all types of arthritis’ focuses on reducing the swelling to alleviate pain and stiffness. Treatment modalities include medication, physiotherapy and in extreme cases, surgery.
One way to manage the symptoms of arthritis is to avoid triggers that inflame the joints. For this, one needs to pay attention to their diet and note their triggers. Though, arthritis cannot be controlled by diet, certain foods can surely be avoided.
Here is a list of common foods that should be avoided in arthritis.
Though everybody might not be get flare-ups owing to dairy products, it is one of the most common triggers. Dairy products are known to contain a protein that can inflame the tissues surrounding the joints.
Sugar should be limited to the daily recommended dose as a high intake can directly affect inflammation. This is because certain proteins and fats interact immediately with sugar to increase the number of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are responsible for inflammation. AGEs are also blamed for aging, diabetes and an elevated risk of heart disease. Processed sugar also triggers the release of cytokines, the body’s inflammatory messengers.
Food additives like MSG and aspartame irritate the joints causing them to swell. These can commonly be found in foods like soy sauce, salad dressings, fast foods, deli meats, and soup mixes. The sodium in the MSG causes water retention leading to swelling. Aspartame is a lab product that may trigger adverse reactions in the body.
Though, technically not a food, tobacco increases the risk for rheumatoid arthritis and damages bones, joints and connective tissues. Tobacco also renders arthritis treatment ineffective and may cause complications in case surgical intervention is needed in the future.
Alcohol exposes an individual to the risk of developing gout, a disease that may be a precursor to arthritis. Further, alcohol prevents uric acid from getting metabolized correctly leading to the formation and accumulation of little crystals in the joints. These crystals lead to inflammation. Alcohol also weakens the liver which leads to swelling of the joints.
Salt has sodium which causes joint inflammation.
Reducing the intake of saturated fats reduces inflammation and keeps the body’s natural defenses working properly. Major sources of saturated fats are processed meat, fried food, red meat and full-cream dairy products.
Omega-6 fatty acids
Our body needs omega-3 fatty acids for healthy growth and development. However, we usually consume more of omega-6, found in sunflower, corn, peanut, vegetable, soy, and grapeseed oil and in some mayonnaise and salad dressings.
Our body treats refined carbs in the same way as sugar. These are processed and have very low nutritive value. Refined carbs cause internal inflammation and release cytokines and other pro-inflammatory compounds in the body aggravating the symptoms of arthritis.
Food at high temperatures
Though grilled and tandoori platters are a delight to eat, the food in these are cooked to a high temperature that causes AGEs to appear.
It is not necessary that all the items on this list would affect a person as specified. However, experimenting with one’s diet to find their triggers and avoiding them can greatly improve quality of life.