It may not seem like it, but some of the foods we consume could contribute to pain in joints affected by arthritis. Other foods can provide anti-inflammatory properties to promote healing and reduce pain. When considering a holistic approach to your arthritis pain management, you’re gonna want to pack your lunch with these arthritis-friendly foods and stay far away from these three types of foods to avoid with arthritis.
Why are there certain foods to avoid with arthritis?
The term “arthritis” actually refers to two distinctly different chronic conditions that affect individuals in a similar way but for different reasons. These forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is more common and considered a wear-and-tear condition that mostly affects older adults. Over time, the protective tissues in the joints begin to wear down and can cause pain when the joint is moved naturally. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the body begins to attack the healthy tissues around joints causing it to become inflamed and painful. It can strike at any age. While many of the symptoms are similar, the two types of arthritis are very different and require different treatments. It is important to talk to your medical specialist for the correct diagnosis.
With both of these diagnoses, however, refocusing your energy on an arthritis healthy diet can actually reduce inflammation in the joints. It’s this inflammation that causes arthritis pain. You help reduce that, and you help reduce your pain. In the same way, some types of food can actually increase inflammation in the body and make your pain worse. Keep a running list of these foods to avoid with arthritis and you’ll help yourself manage your pain.
3 types of foods to avoid with arthritis
The primary objective in a nutritional approach to arthritis management is to eat foods that do not increase inflammation in the joints and avoid foods that do.
Foods that cause inflammation are certainly on the list of things to avoid. It is also important to note that excess weight can cause increased pressure on already affected joints. In this way, changing to a healthy diet and losing weight can provide a healthier lifestyle for individuals dealing with the effects of arthritis.
Foods to avoid with arthritis include the following.
1. Saturated fats
Various forms of saturated fats can be found in multiple foods sources. Fatty meats, whole milk products, and some oils such as palm oil are high in saturated fats. Many prepackaged and processed foods also contain saturated fats. To make healthy choices read product labels and avoid as many saturated fats as possible. Also, exchange fatty meats with leaner cuts.
2. Trans fats
Even more insidious than naturally occurring saturated fats are lab-created trans fats. Trans fats have been shown to have a number of negative side effects even in otherwise healthy people. Food labels will also indicate the amount of trans fats in a product. Eating fresh, non-packaged foods will help reduce the amount of these fats that you consume.
3. Refined and simple carbs
These foods include things such as white rice, white bread, white pasta, and white sugar. They have been shown to increase inflammation in the body. Avoiding items made with white flour or sugar can help reduce the effects. Instead, replace them with whole grains.
8 of the best foods for arthritis
Just as there are foods to avoid with arthritis, there are also many that can help you create a pain-relieving diet. Nature provides a veritable pharmacy of fruits and vegetables that prevent inflammation and can help reduce your arthritis pain. Active compounds in select foods work on the body by either spurring the formation of inflammation-fighting substances or inhibiting the production of those that cause inflammation.
Best of all, any food healthful enough to fight arthritis pain will provide a plethora of other health benefits as well. The best types of foods for arthritis include the following.
1. Omega-3 fatty acids
While saturated and trans fats are a no-go for arthritis patients, these healthy fats are the best replacement in an anti-inflammatory diet.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, especially salmon, mackerel, and tuna, not only reduce a person’s risk of developing arthritis, but help people with the disease manage their related pain. These fatty acids can also be found in some oysters, walnuts, and soy beans. To achieve maximum benefit, try to incorporate fish into your diet at least twice per week.
2. Extra virgin olive oil
Mediterranean cultures were reaping the benefits of EVOO before Rachael Ray was ever talking about it on television. It contains healthier fats but also properties that reduce inflammation in the body. Use olive oil for cooking as a replacement for butter or vegetable oil.
3. Antioxidant-rich foods
While this has been a buzzword in nutrition for a long time, the benefits of foods rich in antioxidants remain intact. They help cells stay healthy in the body and are found in a variety of delicious food sources. For vitamin C, eat fruits such as oranges, pineapples, and strawberries. Beta-carotene is most commonly found in orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and carrots. Other antioxidant rich foods include Brussels sprouts, peppers, cranberries, and spinach.
4. Foods rich in vitamin D
Many adults do not get as much vitamin D as they need. This can cause a greater effect on someone dealing with the day-to-day struggles of arthritis. It is easy to add vitamin D to a diet. Incorporate low-fat dairy products, egg yolks, and salmon into your meal plans.
In India, spices such as turmeric and ginger are used in a variety of dishes such as curries. These aromatic and flavor rich spices are anti-inflammatory in nature.
Turmeric, in particular, is a pungent rust-colored spice frequently used in Indian cooking. It has long been used in an ancient form of Eastern medicine called Ayurveda to treat disorders related to inflammation. Now, science is backing up its health benefits. A 2012 study published in Phytotherapy Research found that participants in a study group taking 500 milligrams of turmeric experienced a greater reduction in tenderness, joint swelling, and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis than patients taking diclofenac sodium, a commonly prescribed drug to reduce inflammation in arthritis patients.
6. Green tea
It may not be a food, but green tea has been shown in several studies to contain powerful antioxidants that help reduce pain. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that the popular beverage’s high concentration of anti-inflammatory polyphenolic compounds altered immune responses related to arthritis. Most experts recommend drinking three cups daily.
The same antioxidants, anthocyanins, that give cherries their red color also ward off inflammation and help arthritis patients manage their pain. A study published in Arthritis and Rheumatology found that people with gout, a form of arthritis, who ate cherries experienced a 35% lower risk of an attack when compared with study participants who ate no cherries.
Broccoli contains sulfuric compounds that make it a potent anti-cancer food that also helps decrease pain for people with osteoarthritis, according to a study from the UK’s University of East Anglia. The study found that the compound, sulforaphane, prevented harmful enzymes from destroying cartilage by interfering with an inflammation-causing molecule. All vegetables falling into the cruciferous family, which includes broccoli, contain the sulfuric compound. Other vegetables include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.
How to create an arthritis-friendly diet
The best news is that not only can you avoid bad foods and add good foods help with an already existing diagnosis of arthritis, but it can also prevent the condition from developing in the first place. While arthritis is common when it comes to aging it isn’t an absolute and preventative techniques can help reduce the risk in the long term.
For some patients adopting a specific diet may also help. Some individuals have seen improvement in their arthritis symptoms by adhering to a gluten free meal plan. Others have found that a vegan diet, which is rich in vegetables but cuts out all animal products, can help. Above all, get started today by remembering these foods to avoid with arthritis. Diet change is a slow steady process, and success is always greater when change is incremental and focused.
Before you alter your diet in a drastic way talk with your medical specialist or someone trained in holistic health to walk you through the process. You want to ensure that you are making healthy and informed choices. It is also important to treat the entire person, not just the symptoms of the condition. Arthritis also responds to changes in physical activity and a focus on overall mental well-being.
Creating an arthritis-friendly diet and incorporating exercise into your routine are the first steps towards treatment. However, some cases of arthritis may not respond to these holistic methods. In these cases, talk to a pain specialist for help managing your pain condition. With a blend of holistic treatments, like exercise and diet, along with cutting-edge procedures, they can help you get back to a life without pain. Click the button below today to get started.