The body has varying responses to food, some of which may exacerbate the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Because of this, a focus on diet is often part of an arthritis treatment plan. Here’s a closer look at three foods that can worsen arthritis symptoms, as well as three that may give your body the elements it needs to better fight this degenerative joint disease.
Foods to Avoid
The average diet is full of things that often aren’t of the highest nutritional value. What you eat takes on a greater significance when your body is fighting a chronic condition like arthritis, because the wrong fuel may present yet another obstacle to your health. There are a few items that should definitely be avoided for anyone suffering from joint pain:
- The Wrong Fats – Trans fats and saturated fats should both be avoided by arthritis sufferers, as well as high-fat, unhealthy foods like French fries, fried chicken or anything served out of a deep fryer. These unhealthy fats have been linked to inflammation, and can also lead to weight gain. Excess weight puts further strain on arthritic joints, which only accelerates the wear and tear associated with arthritis. Additionally, body fat can disrupt hormonal balance, which may further increase inflammation.
- Sugar – Everyone knows that too much sugar isn’t a good idea even for those without arthritis. However, refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and desserts are only one small step away from pure sugar as far as carb accessibility. Too many simple carbs can lead to sudden swings in blood sugar that can trigger the body’s inflammatory response.
- Food Sensitivities – Sometimes it’s not one specific trigger food that can cause inflammation, but any to which your body is especially sensitive. For men and women who have an intolerance to dairy, gluten or other items, continuing to eat these food groups can perpetuate inflammation in the joints.
Foods that Fight Arthritis
Fortunately, for every food that makes arthritis symptoms worse, it seems there’s one that arthritis doctors recommend to help patients’ bodies fight inflammatory response in the joints.
- Vitamin C – A diet high in vitamin C is important for collagen health, and collagen is one of the building blocks of cartilage. Citrus fruits are one of the primary sources for vitamin C, but it can also be found in kiwis, strawberries, bell peppers and even kidney beans.
- Omega-3s – These are healthy fats that are prevalent in walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseed, but are mostly associated with fatty fish like salmon and anchovies. Omega-3s may actually suppress the production of certain enzymes that contribute to cartilage erosion, which in turn reduces arthritic joint inflammation and pain.
- Olive Oil – Another healthy fat, olive oil can easily be used in salad dressings and while cooking to ensure that your body gets plenty of the inflammatory-blocking compound oleocanthal. Olive oil also has lots of antioxidants to help fight free radicals that may stress the system.
A Comprehensive Approach
Although you should always check with your doctor before making any dietary changes, loading up on foods that are good for you, like unprocessed veggies and fruits along with lean cuts of meat, can only do your body good. A healthy body will certainly be better equipped to handle any chronic health condition, and that includes arthritis.