While arthritis doesn’t have a specific diet to follow, there are foods that should be avoided if you want to reduce your chances of arthritis inflammation and pain. Here are the top 10 foods to avoid if you have arthritis:
- Fried Food—You don’t want salt, you don’t want fat, you don’t want artificial preservatives, and you don’t want fried food if you have arthritis. Most people should avoid too much fried food but for people with arthritis, the extra weight fast food can add is more greatly felt by the painful inflammation your joints suffer from arthritis.
- Processed Sugars—If you like candy, most cereals, doughnuts, sugary drinks, and other food products stacked with sugar, too much of a good thing is a bad thing for most of us but especially if we have arthritis. Too much sugar can cause swelling as a response from our immune system. Processed sugar found in many of the foods, snacks and treats that we eat actually intensify arthritis symptoms.
- Dairy—Dairy products can be a problem for some arthritis sufferers. We think of milk and other dairy products as being good for our bones but studies have shown that proteins within dairy can cause tissue irritation in the joints of people with arthritis. There are alternatives to consider if dairy causes irritation in your joints. Turning to milk substitutes and plant-based food as a source for your calcium and protein, and always talking to your healthcare provider is a good start to living with arthritis.
- Alcohol—Even for the healthiest among us, alcohol can have a negative effect on our life. For arthritis sufferers, alcohol introduces a new level of problems. Uric acid, which is found in alcohol, can cause crystals to build-up in the joints causing pain an inflammation. Beyond the physical, alcohol can react negatively with the arthritis medication you may be taking, and can actual cause bleeding in your stomach. Other arthritis drugs intended for arthritis can increase the potential for liver damage when consumed with too much alcohol. Gout is a type of arthritis that strikes the fingers and toes, and has been linked to long-term alcohol consumption.
- Salt—Too much salt can cause the bloodstream to absorb additional water, beyond what is usual. The swelling of the bloodstream causes the expansion of blood vessels; which can cause increased inflammation in already painful joints. The problem of too much salt arises from arthritis medications that can cause us to retain more salt than usual. Foods like canned, frozen, and convenience foods all contain high levels of salt and should be avoided. A healthy low sodium diet is always best for arthritis sufferers and everyone else.
- Oils—There are good oils and then there are bad oils. Many good oils deliver essential acids and fats that can be helpful with arthritis. The harmful oils can cause pain and inflammation in the joints, and should be avoided. If you have arthritis, try to avoid oils high in saturated fat such as vegetable, corn, soy, and sunflower oil. These high in saturated fat oils can activate the production of chemicals that increase swelling and inflammation within the body. Use Omega-3 oils such as canola, flaxseed, and grape oil as a substitute.
- Refined Carbohydrates—To avoid increasing your overall inflammation and making your arthritis worse, consider reducing your consumption of refined carbohydrates like sliced bread. A high glycemic index in these foods causes the body to produce excess advanced glycation end products (AGE products). Refined carbohydrates have been considered to potentially be more responsible obesity and chronic health conditions than fatty foods. Products made with white flour contain refined carbohydrates including crackers, white bread, buns, and most of the baked goods we enjoy everyday.
- Pizza—Saturated fats found in pizza have been shown to increase the bodies inflammation levels; this can trigger or worsen an arthritis flare-up. Over four percent of a pizza can be made of saturated fat. If you have arthritis, it is recommended that you not get any more than ten percent of your daily calories from saturated fats.
- MSG—The debate about monosodium glutamate (MSG) is ongoing but there is evidence to suggest that highly processed MSG may have a negative effect on arthritis sufferers by causing greater inflammation in the joints. Where MSG is found naturally, in foods like tomatoes and mushrooms, are typically fine. Try to avoid foods where the MSG is added artificially such as frozen dinners and canned foods. To cut down on MSG, check the ingredients and always look for organic ingredients on the food you do buy. Buying fresh and cooking fresh instead of eating canned or packaged food is a great idea too.
Omega-6 fatty acids—Essential to a healthy diet, Omega-6 fatty acids need to be monitored and not cut out of your diet entirely. Necessary for normal cell and body growth, a balance between Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids is ideal for a healthy you; however, too much Omega-6 can cause inflammation in the joints of arthritis sufferers. Keep an eye on the foods that contain Omega-5 fatty acids such as salad dressings, mayonnaise, vegetable oil, peanut oil, soy-based oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and corn oil.