Ouch! These 5 foods can make your arthritis pain worse
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 23, 2023
If you suffer from arthritis, you may be surprised to learn that certain foods you consume regularly could be contributing to your joint pain. Yes, you read that right – your dietary choices can have a significant impact on your joint health. A well-balanced diet can promote overall health, maintain a healthy weight, and even reduce the risk of inflammation in your joints. On the other hand, an unhealthy diet full of fatty foods, sugar, refined grains, and salt can worsen your arthritis symptoms by increasing inflammation.
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That’s why HealthShots reached out to dietitian Hari Lakshmi from Motherhood Hospital, Alwarpet, Chennai, to find out which foods to avoid and which ones to include in your diet if you’re suffering from arthritis.
Understanding Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis is a medical condition characterized by swelling and tenderness in one or more joints. The most common symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and reduced range of motion. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s vital to seek immediate medical attention, as they typically worsen over time.
Causes and Types of Arthritis
There are various factors that contribute to the development of arthritis, including genetics, age, gender, joint injury, obesity, muscle weakness, and autoimmune disorders. The condition can be classified into two main types: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The treatments for each type of arthritis may vary, but the primary goal of any arthritis treatment is to alleviate symptoms. According to Lakshmi, changing your diet and avoiding certain foods and beverages can help reduce pain and inflammation, maintain a moderate weight, and improve the quality of life for arthritis patients.
Foods and Beverages to Avoid
When it comes to managing arthritis, some foods and beverages should be avoided due to their potential to worsen symptoms. Here are five of them:
1. Foods High in Salt
Regularly consuming excessive amounts of salt has been linked to joint inflammation in many arthritis patients. To minimize pain and inflammation, Lakshmi advises avoiding foods with high salt content, such as pizza, red meat, seafood, cheese, canned food, salted nuts, and dry fish. Instead, opt for a low-sodium diet.
Alcohol consumption should be limited, especially for arthritis patients. Alcohol not only causes inflammation but also increases the risk of osteoarthritis. If you still want to enjoy an occasional drink, do so in moderation. Furthermore, it’s advisable to avoid tobacco products as they can have detrimental effects on your overall health, including joint issues.
3. Added Sugar
A sugar-laden diet coupled with a sedentary lifestyle often leads to obesity, which affects many arthritis patients. To reduce your arthritis risk, Lakshmi recommends cutting back on sugar intake by avoiding candies, sodas, ice creams, chocolates, and other high-sugar foods.
4. Inflammatory Fats
Certain fats, such as omega-6 fatty acids, saturated fats, and trans fats, should be avoided by arthritis patients. Lakshmi highlights that excessive consumption of omega-6 fatty acids found in oils like safflower, sunflower, and vegetable oil can be harmful. Saturated fats, found in meat, butter, and cheese, should be consumed moderately. Trans fats, known to increase bad cholesterol and inflammation, should also be limited.
Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, can contribute to inflammation and aggravate arthritis symptoms. To ease arthritis pain, consider opting for gluten-free alternatives.
Foods That Promote Joint Health
While avoiding certain foods is crucial, incorporating the right ones into your diet can support joint health and reduce inflammation. Consider including the following foods:
- Broccoli, carrots, and onions: These vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Turmeric and garlic: These spices have been known to reduce inflammation.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts are rich in calcium, fiber, magnesium, zinc, Omega-3 fats, and vitamin E.
- Matcha tea: This tea has antioxidant properties and can be beneficial for arthritis.
- Cherries: Rich in antioxidants, cherries can help reduce inflammation and joint pain.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Foods like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent sources of these healthy fats.
- Beans: Regularly consuming beans can help manage inflammation and swelling in your joints.
- Olive oil: Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil or corn oil.
- Vitamin D-rich sources: Include foods that are rich in vitamin D in your diet.
In addition to a balanced diet, regular exercise and proper sleep are essential for maintaining overall bone and joint health.
Remember, managing arthritis involves making informed choices about what you eat. By avoiding certain foods and incorporating joint-friendly options into your diet, you can minimize pain, reduce inflammation, and improve your overall well-being.