Arthritis is a complex disease that can come in more than a hundred different forms. Although arthritis is usually regarded as an ‘older person’s disease’ it is not merely relegated to seniors. Those in their adulthood or even teenagers can be arthritic. It is generally defined as ‘painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints.’
Severe arthritis can affect a lot of daily activities such as brushing one’s teeth, driving a motor vehicle or putting clothes on. One in about every four patients describes the pain as a seven or higher (on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the most intolerable pain.)
However, some foods can cause further inflammation whereas other foods can lower and significantly reduce inflammation.
Here are 10 foods to avoid if you have arthritis.
Even if you do not have arthritis it is important to know what foods can cause inflammation and what foods won’t or can reduce inflammation.
Although there is no one food that can objectively reduce inflammation for all people, there are different types of food that can work better (or worse) with your body.
1. Gluten and wheat. These two products can produce an inflammatory response even if you are not gluten or wheat intolerant.
A leaky gut (which is an actual medical term now) has been linked to joint pain. A leaky gut lets toxins into the bloodstream which can then lead to inflammation around the joints.
2. Dairy. Almost all dairy products contain a type of slow digesting protein called casein. Casein protein can have the potential to irritate the tissues around the joints. This will then evolve from a joint irritation into a full-blown inflammation.
3. Corn oil. Corn oil should be avoided since any food with abnormally high doses of omega-6 fatty acids can have the potential to cause inflammation.
An excess of any oil, such as canola, grapeseed or sunflower, can lead to inflammation. It is easy to overindulge in these omega-6 fatty acids since so many foods contain this compound.
4. Fried and processed foods. It should be pretty straightforward as to why the reduction in fried and processed foods can eliminate or reduce inflammation and subsequent joint pain.
Studies have shown that a reduction in fried and highly processed foods can reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body’s natural defenses regardless of your age or health status.
5. Foods that have been fried, grilled, heated or pasteurized. A toxic byproduct, known as advanced glycation end product (or AGE), is found in many fried, grilled, heated or pasteurized foods. It can actually cause inflammation.
When these AGE foods are consumed, it elicits an autoimmune response since some proteins in the body are ‘attacked.’ This then causes the onset of arthritic symptoms due to increased inflammation.
6. Vegetables such as eggplants, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes can actually worsen arthritic pain. This is because a compound called solanine which is found in these vegetables can create ‘adverse physiological reactions’ in people with arthritis.
7. Sugar. Things like fructose, glucose, and sucrose can stimulate molecules in the body which will then stimulate inflammation.
8. Refined carbohydrates. White flour products such as white bread, white potatoes, and most cereals can cause inflammation since they are high on the glycemic index. Furthermore, refined carbs may increase the risk of obesity. Obesity is one of the primary risk factors of arthritis.
9. Alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco have been linked to a specific type of arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis.
10. Smoking is a big factor in getting this type of arthritis. Increased levels of alcohol can lead to higher chances of developing gout which can further any inflammation in and around joints and bones.
Some foods to consume regularly to reduce inflammation include omega-3 rich foods such as fish. Some of these include mackerel, salmon, tuna, and herring.
A healthy diet that includes soybeans, tofu, and edamame along with some cherries, broccoli, green tea and any citrus fruits can help reduce inflammation.
Whole grains instead of refined grains are preferred. So carbs such as brown rice or oatmeal are recommended. And beans such as kidney, pinto or red beans are recommended as well.
Finally, omega-3 foods and oils such as avocado, walnuts and virgin oil are fats that can and should be consumed on a regular basis.