Many people don’t realise that foods we eat can affect how much pain we feel in our joints otherwise known as arthritis. Inflammation is a major cause of arthritis and it can be made worse or better depending on the foods we eat. It is difficult to say what has causes arthritis. There are over 200 kinds of arthritis and several factors that can increase the risk of each type of arthritis. It could simply be that the genes you inherited from your family that made you more likely to get arthritis. When Arthritis isn’t an auto inflammatory illness that is recently seen in the younger generations today it often comes later in life as we age with the wear and tear of the joints in our body. Perhaps the cause of arthritis didn’t come from the foods we eat but the foods we eat can affect how badly we suffer from arthritis for any of the diagnosis of Arthritis. Certain foods can either promote or suppress inflammation in our bodies. By eating anti-inflammatory foods, such as leafy greens and colorful vegetables, and avoiding inflammatory foods, you may be able to ease arthritis pain and symptoms.
Here are foods to avoid so you don’t exacerbate your arthritic pain as you age.
Most processed foods contain trans fats that help preserve them. Trans fats trigger inflammation in the body and if you already have inflammation in the joints it will make it worse.
Start reading the labels and avoid foods that have partially hydrogenated oils this is another name for trans fats.
Omega-6 fatty acids
We find omega 6 fatty acids in so many kinds of foods we simply eat too much of them. These fats are healthy only in small doses. The ratio between omega 6 to omega 3 is important to consider.
For most people, an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 4:1 is best. This means 4 doses of omega 6s for every 1 dose of omega 3.
The average person today in the US eats a ratio of anywhere from 12:1 to 25:1 omega 6 to omega 3.
That is too much! So, you must watch your quantities when eating Corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, and soy oils, as well as most meats, are high in omega-6 fatty acids,
Excessive omega-6 consumption can trigger inflammatory chemicals in the body which will irritate your arthritic pain.
Refined sugar triggers the release of proteins in the body called cytokines, which cause inflammation. Refined sugar can be labeled in many ways. Read the labels and have a look for corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, or maltose in the ingredient list.
You will find refined sugar in pastries, chocolate, candy, soda, and fruit juices. I know it is hard to cut out sugar I have those moments too but keep it to very small doses.
A little bit of red meat is ok; it is all about managing your portions when it comes to foods that ignite inflammation. Red meat is high in saturated fats and cholesterol which is known to cause inflammation. Be especially wary of processed meats like hotdogs and sausages as they will contain higher amounts of saturated fats.
On top of this, meat also contains high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) These are harmful compounds that form when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream. This process is called glycation.
Foods that have been exposed to high temperatures, as in grilling, frying, broiling or roasting or tend to be very high in these compounds.
So, the BBQ is bad for Arthritic pain and slow cooking meat on light heat is the best option.
Foods that are fried in a high temperature oil also contain advanced glycation end products (AGEs) Avoid deep fried foods like Chicken and fries.
Now this is a big one because here people get stuck. Refined carbohydrates are not limited to white flour products, bread, pasta and crackers. Refined carbohydrates are also called refined grains like white rice that can cause a spike in blood sugar levels (glucose) which is known to increate inflammation in the body.
Some people may have gluten sensitivities and will experience join pain and inflammation after eating wheat products.
On a personal note, I have realized that when I eat bread I get pain the joints of my fingers but when I completely cut it out the pain goes away completely.
Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG)
This food additive is used to made food taste good especially in Asian cooking. It is also found in prepared soups, salad dressings, deli meats and fast food. In other words, take out food can cause arthritic inflammation in some people depending on how sensitive they are and how much inflammation they already have in the body.
Cheese and high-fat dairy
Processed cheese, butter, cream cheese, margarine, and mayonnaise are all high in both saturated fats and advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
On the other hand, it has been recently discovered that there are dairy products especially fermented dairy like Greek yogurt, are anti-inflammatory. Of course, make sure you aren’t sensitive to cow’s milk too.
Avoiding these foods to avoid chronic pain has other benefits. An anti-inflammatory diet can also help prevent chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
I know this might seem hard and daunting but just start with a few changes and get used to them by creating a habit around making different choices. Then you can add in more changes. It isn’t only about what you can’t eat but investigating what you can eat in place of those foods. That will come in the following article.
It is from my experience working with older clients that taking tumeric supplements or eating tumeric root on a regular basis in your food can help manage the effects of chronic pain. Now lets be clear it isn’t a magic potion and there are many factors to help manage arthritic pain but this tumeric is definitly something you might want to explore. For a good place to start here is an article on the health benefits of tumeric.