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Monday, July 23, 2012
Foods to Avoid with Arthritis
Arthritis is a general term encompassing conditions that share joint pain and inflammation. Typical treatment involves pain-reducing medication. While there is no definitive arthritis diet, research suggests including anti-inflammatory foods to your diet and limiting foods that may trigger joint pain.
Fried & Processed Foods
Researchers at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine examined disease prevention through diet. Findings showed that “cutting back on the consumption of fried and processed foods can reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body’s natural defenses.”
Lower Your AGE
AGE doesn’t refer to how many birthdays you’ve celebrated. Advanced Glycation End product (AGE), a toxin that appears when foods are heated, grilled, fried, or pasteurized, causes inflammation once absorbed by the body.
The 2009 study from Mount Sinai reported the benefits of reducing foods cooked at high temperatures. “After four months on the AGE-less diet, blood AGE levels, lipid peroxides, inflammatory markers, and biomarkers of vascular function declined by as much as 60 percent in healthy participants.”
Sugars & Refined Carbs
High amounts of sugar affect the immune system as well as hormone levels, resulting in constant fatigue. Too much sugar consumption also contributes to an imbalance of nutrients. Your body compensates by stripping calcium from bones and teeth, leading to conditions including arthritis. Cut out candies, processed foods, white-flour-baked goods, and sodas to reduce your arthritis pain.
Dairy products may contribute to arthritis pain due to a protein they contain that irritates tissue around the joints. Some sufferers of arthritis pain have shown more success by switching to a vegan diet—which contains no animal products whatsoever. Rather than getting protein from meat and dairy, vegan protein sources can be found in vegetables.
Alcohol & Tobacco
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns that “using tobacco and alcohol can lead to a number of health problems that may affect your joints.” NIH states that smokers are more at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis, while those who consume alcohol have a higher risk for developing gout. Healthy joints require a balanced diet, physical activity, and an adequate amount of rest—all of which can be compromised by alcohol and tobacco use.
Salt & Preservatives
Know what’s in your food. While table salt may be the first culprit that comes to mind, many foods contain preservatives to promote longer shelf lives.
Read the Label. Steer clear of preservatives and additives. A more natural diet helps you prevent or manage your arthritis.
Avoid Prepared Meals. Though convenient, microwavable meals are often very high in sodium and more harmful in the long-run.
Many baked goods and snacks contain corn or other oils high in omega-6 fatty acids— including sunflower and safflower. While these treats may satisfy your taste buds, they trigger inflammation. Replace with anti-inflammatory alternatives including olive oil, nuts, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds, all rich in healthy omega-3s.
A University of Maryland Medical Center study examined the pain-relieving effects of omega-3s on individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and reported an increase in joint pain relief.
More Arthritis Diet Tips
There is no established arthritis diet plan. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Trial and error will determine which foods you need to eliminate. In general, experts advise arthritis patients to maintain a healthy body weight and eat a balanced diet