When you have arthritis, your body is in an inflammatory state. What you eat may not only increase inflammation, it can also set you up for other chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Arthritis is a general term encompassing conditions that share joint pain and inflammation. Typical treatment involves pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory medication.
Common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, caused by wear and tear on the joints; rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own joints; and gout, caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body. Regardless of the type of arthritis you have, research suggests that incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet and limiting foods that may trigger joint pain may help alleviate the pain and swelling. Here are 5 foods to avoid if you have arthritis:
1. Fried and Processed Foods: Findings show 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 defense.
2. High-Calorie Foods: Obesity is directly linked to osteoarthritis, especially of the knees, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Every pound of excess weight puts 4 pounds of extra stress onto your knees. And fat itself creates chemicals that can aggravate inflammation, which explains why obese people are also at higher risk of arthritis in the hands. Obesity is linked to rheumatoid arthritis and gout as well.
3. Dairy Products: Dairy products may contribute to arthritis pain due to the protein that these products contain. 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.
4. Foods with High Salt Content: Many foods contain excess salt, which can often cause inflammation of your joints. Less salt may help you manage your arthritis, so avoid prepared meals. Though they’re convenient, microwavable meals are often very high in sodium.
5. Refined Sugars and Sweets: While certain carbohydrates are an essential part of our diets, refined sugars and sweets are not, as much as we may enjoy them. Refined sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup, are empty calories devoid of any nutrients and detrimental to our bodies. Cutting down on refined sugar is even more important for people with rheumatoid arthritis because it drives more chronic inflammation.
While there is no established arthritis diet plan, there are many inflammatory foods that can certainly be avoided. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Trial and error will determine which foods you need to eliminate. Call Watauga Orthopaedics at (423) 282-9011 to request an appointment.