Arthritis makes your daily life unbearable, especially when it reaches its advanced stages. Your joints may become stiff and painful, making it difficult for you to perform simple tasks like grabbing something, bending your joints, walking, and lifting something, among others.
Unfortunately, this condition doesn’t have any conclusive long-term treatment, so it can only be managed through lifestyle changes, over-the-counter drugs, and a special diet. In this article, you will learn about the main types of foods to avoid if you have arthritis.
8 Foods to Avoid When You Have Arthritis
Arthritis is a condition that causes swelling, inflammation, and tenderness of joints. It’s usually characterized by mild to severe joint pain and stiffness. These symptoms worse as you grow older, sometimes leaving you completely incapacitated.
There are two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis breaks down the tendon – the hard, greasy tissue covering the ends of bones where they form joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, causes your immune system to attack your joints, starting with the lining of your joints.
This condition mainly occurs when you have an excess amount of uric acid in your bloodstream, which can cause gout. It can also be caused by other types of infections and underlying diseases like lupus or psoriasis. As noted above, there isn’t a conclusive treatment for arthritis.
The main objective of treating arthritis is to minimize the symptoms and enhance the quality of life. This includes understanding the risk factors and finding effective ways to avoid them. It also involves making significant lifestyle changes, including adopting a new dietary and exercise plan.
The main risk factors for arthritis include family history, age, sex, previous joint injuries, and obesity. This means that your arthritis may be hereditary. Additionally, you might develop arthritis when you grow old or if you are overweight.
The excess body weight will put pressure on your joints, especially your knees, spine, hips, and ankles. It has been medically proven that women are more susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis while men are more susceptible to gout – another common type of arthritis. If you have ever suffered a major joint injury before, you’re likely to develop arthritis in the future.
When it comes to managing the symptoms of arthritis, diet plays a significant role. Although there isn’t a special diet or type of food that’s known to cure arthritis, you can benefit from maintaining a healthy diet and identifying foods that are likely to aggravate your condition so that you can eliminate them from your diet. You can significantly improve the quality of your life by making certain dietary changes and removing certain foods from your diet.
Here are the 8 types of foods you should avoid when you have arthritis.
1. Dairy Products
Although dairy products like milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and butter are rich in essential nutrients like protein and calcium, they are considered to be risky for people with arthritis because they contain large amounts of casein, which causes inflammation. Therefore, you should minimize your intake of these dairy products if you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis. Cutting down your dairy intake will reduce inflammation in your joints, thus reducing the pain caused by arthritis.
2. Sweet and Sugary Products
Excessive consumption of sugar increases the risk of inflammation in different parts of your body, including joints. You only need to take 40 grams of sugar to trigger a reaction in your body. This is about the same amount of sugar present in a can of soda.
Therefore, if you suspect you have arthritis or if you are already experiencing its symptoms, you should reduce the amount of sugar you consume daily. In fact, you should cut out sugary soft drinks and other sugary food items like soda, energy drinks, sweets, candy, pastries, etc.
Although your body needs carbohydrates for energy supply, you need to be careful about the number of carbs you consume every day because it can cause inflammation in your body. Your body converts carbs to the energy it needs to perform different tasks throughout the day. That’s why athletes, bodybuilders, and manual laborers are advised to increase their intake of carbs before a competition, intense workout session, or before reporting to work.
However, refined carbohydrates found in high-glycemic food items like bread, white rice, potatoes, and crackers are hard to convert to energy. So, if you take too much refined carbs, they’ll end up being stored in your body as fat thus exposing you to the risk of obesity. As mentioned above, excess body weight leads to the inflammation of joints, which increases the risk of developing arthritis.
Therefore, reduce your intake of carbohydrates, especially if you’ve already been diagnosed with arthritis. You should, particularly, reduce your intake or do away with foods with refined carbs like packed cereals, pasta, white bread, pastries, white rice, cakes, wafers, sweets, pies, beer, and sweet white wine and sherry.
4. Fatty Products
Contrary to what many believe, your body needs fat to continue functioning properly. However, not all types of fat are good for your body. You should increase your intake of healthy fats like the ones obtained from avocado, nuts, olive oil, vegetables, fish, etc.
These fats will improve your heart’s health and help you to maintain the right body weight. They will also improve the functions of various body organs.
But you should try as much as possible to stay away from trans fats like the ones found in fried foods, donuts, processed foods, and fast foods because they can easily cause inflammation and increase your risk of becoming obese, which puts your critical joints at risk of injury and arthritis.
5. Alcohol and Tobacco
Generally, alcohol and tobacco are bad for your overall health. Furthermore, they can easily cause inflammations that lead to specific types of arthritis. For instance, tobacco increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, while alcohol causes gout. Therefore, you should minimize your use of tobacco and alcohol if you already have arthritis.
6. Gluten-rich Products
Gluten is known to increase the risk of celiac disease. Too much gluten will damage your small intestines and it may result in joint inflammation. That’s why you should avoid foods and drinks made with barley, rye, wheat, and other gluten-rich items if you are suffering from arthritis.
7. Advanced Glycation End (AGE) Products
The advanced glycation end (AGE) is a type of toxin produced by your body when you consume foods that have been cooked at very high temperatures like pasteurized products. These toxins can easily damage the protein in your food, causing your immune system to produce cytokines to destroy AGEs. Unfortunately, cytokines can cause inflammations that will result in arthritis.
The most common food items with AGEs include meat (red meat), margarine, nuts, fried eggs, cream cheese, butter, mayonnaise, oils, fried foods, and highly processed foods. So, you should avoid these foods if you have arthritis.
As life becomes harder and busier, people are forced to look for more convenient ways of keeping their bellies full without wasting a lot of time. That’s why food processors have become so successful. Unfortunately, most processed foods come with large amounts of additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), salt, and aspartame to keep their foods fresh for a long time.
Sadly, these additives are known to cause inflammation in the body. Therefore, if you want to manage your arthritis symptoms effectively, you have to do away with processed foods and other convenience food items.