Avoid These Foods If You Have Arthritis
The foods you eat can have a huge impact on your arthritis symptoms. Many types of foods can trigger your body’s inflammatory response, but others can reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Here are some of the most important foods to avoid with arthritis and some of the best foods to eat for managing arthritis symptoms:
Foods to Avoid with Arthritis
Processed sugars trigger an inflammatory response in the body, which can worsen arthritis. Avoid foods with ingredients ending in “ose,” such as fructose and sucrose, which are all types of processed sugars.
Saturated fats trigger inflammation in fat tissue and worsen arthritis symptoms. Cheese is one of the largest sources of saturated fat for most Americans, but it’s also found in some meat products, full-fat dairy products, and desserts.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
It’s important to get a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. However, if you consume too much omega-6, it can worsen inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in many types of oils, including:
- Peanut oil
- Vegetable oil
- Corn oil
- Sunflower oil
- Grapeseed oil
Refined carbs include white rice, many types of cereal, white bread, and other foods. It’s hard to completely avoid all refined carbohydrates, but if they make up a large part of your diet, consider cutting back. Large quantities of refined carbs can increase pain and inflammation in people with arthritis.
Salt is one of the most important foods to avoid with arthritis. Unfortunately, salt and sodium are extremely common in most processed and packaged foods. Preparing your own meals instead of eating prepackaged or fast foods is a great way to cut back on salt consumption. Always read ingredient labels to avoid foods with high sodium contents.
MSG, or mono-sodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer found in soy sauce and many types of prepared Asian foods. It’s also sometimes an ingredient in fast food, canned soups or soup mixes, and salad dressings. It can cause inflammation in the joints and result in other negative health effects.
Foods to Eat with Arthritis
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are great for reducing and preventing inflammation. They can be found in oily fish, including salmon, sardines, and anchovies. They also can be found in plants, but plants don’t contain the complete group of omega-3 acids. If you don’t eat fish, you can take omega-3 fish oil supplements to reduce inflammation.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies with high antioxidant levels can lower inflammation. Many nutritionists recommend eating colorful fruits and veggies because those foods have high quantities of flavonoids and carotenoids, two powerful antioxidants. The best fruits and vegetables for arthritis include:
Eating whole grains is another great way to lower inflammation. Whole grains lower your blood’s levels of C-reactive protein, a protein that can cause inflammation. Incorporate whole grains like brown rice, oats, and quinoa into your diet to help manage arthritis symptoms.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil is a great alternative to other oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. One of the compounds in olive oil can stop your body’s production of chemicals that cause inflammation. Whenever possible, opt for olive oil instead of vegetable oil, peanut oil, or other oils high in omega-6.
Need Help Cooking an Arthritis-friendly Meal?
You’re not alone. It’s tough cutting out all of the things that seem to make life so delicious! But the Arthritis Foundation has a list of great arthritis recipes that are not only tasty, but are also healthy. Get tips for your next breakfast, your next cookout, or even your next holiday meal. Eating healthy doesn’thave to mean eating boring meals!