Arthritis is a condition that affects one or more of your joints and leads to pain, inflammation, or swelling. According to the Indian Journal of Orthopedics, almost 28.7 percent of people in India suffer from doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
Just like any other health condition, the symptoms of arthritis are also affected by your diet. To manage the discomforting symptoms of this condition and prevent them from becoming worse, it is essential to consume a joint-friendly diet.
Let’s explore the connection between food and arthritis and get to know the 5 worst foods that must be off your grocery list for healthier joints.
Food and Arthritis: What is the Connection?
Before we talk about the worst foods that trigger inflammation in your joints, it is important to know how food affects your symptoms.
There are certain things that are inherent to arthritis. And these very factors are directly related to the quality of your diet and nutrition. Here are some of those factors:
Being overweight is one of the major factors that increase the risk of not just developing arthritis but also aggravating its progression. Your diet and the ensuing calories have a direct impact on your weight.
One of the major reasons for an arthritic flare is inflammation in the joint areas. There are certain foods contribute to this inflammation and result in pain and swelling.
Which Are the 5 Worst Foods to Avoid for Arthritis and Joint Pain?
As verified by the Frontiers in Nutrition Journal, food is a modifiable risk factor for arthritis. It plays a major role in the progression of arthritis and its outcome in patients.
Here are five of the worst foods that are said to trigger an inflammatory response and worsen the symptoms of arthritis:
1. Excessively Salty Foods
Sodium or salt is an essential nutrient that helps your muscles function optimally. It also helps regulate your electrolyte balance.
Consuming excess salt has been linked to several health problems. Regularly eating salty foods may contribute to conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, etc.
If you struggle with chronic pains in the joints due to arthritis, salt is one thing that you may have to cut off from your diet. Eating too much sodium may cause your cells to retain water and swell. Too much salt also negatively impacts your immune system and leads to arthritis flares.
Some high-sodium foods that you need to avoid include:
· Instant soups and puddings
· Salad dressings
· Potato dishes
· Pork rinds
· Processed cheese
· Dried meats like jerkies
· Pickles and sauces
Gluten is a structural protein that is found in foods such as wheat, rye, and barley. According to a National Library of Medicine Journal, gluten as a glycoprotein has an inflammatory effect that exacerbates the symptoms of arthritis.
This is especially true for people who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. They are at a higher risk of Celiac disease, which is often triggered by gluten.
Here are some foods that you need to avoid:
· Bread and crackers
· Condiments like soy sauce, marinades, and gravy mixes
· Baked goods like cookies, pastries, and cakes
· Wheat-based pasta
· Energy bars
· Granola and protein bars
3. Refined Carbohydrates
A diet high in refined carbohydrates is a major contributing factor for several serious health conditions. These include hypertension, type-2 disease, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.
Refined carbohydrates, also known as ‘simple carbohydrates’, are nothing but sugars found in grains. These include compounds such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose.
These are rich in the glycaemic index and increase the production of advanced glycation products. These products lead to an increase in inflammatory activity in the body and worsen joint pain.
Some examples of foods rich in refined carbohydrates are:
· Breakfast cereal
· White rice
· White flour
4. Saturated Fats
Saturated fats are known to contribute to your bad cholesterol levels. This may contribute to your risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and even stroke. Not just this, saturated fats also lead to an increase in inflammation and joint pain, especially in those who suffer from arthritis.
Saturated fats cause changes in the metabolism of the cartilage and lead to its degeneration. This degenerative action causes the cartilage to lose its cushioning effect and results in joint inflammation and pain.
Some foods rich in saturated foods that you should avoid include:
· Dairy foods
· Meats such as beef, poultry, and pork
· Coconut oil
· Ice cream
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fatty acids are an important nutrient that keeps your body healthy. They help keep your cognitive functioning sharp and stimulate hair growth. These compounds also help in maintaining the health of your bones and improving the functioning of your reproductive system.
Having said that, omega-6 fatty acids are linked to an increase in inflammation. Consuming foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids trigger the body’s production of pro-inflammatory compounds and worsen arthritis pain and swelling.
Another way in which omega-6 fatty acids aggravate arthritis is by contributing to obesity. Any pound of weight gain further increases the pressure on your joints and increases joint pain. Excessive joint pain may ultimately render the muscles around that joint useless and cause them to weaken over time and degenerate.
Some sources of omega-6 fatty acids that you need to exclude from your diet include:
· Oils including canola, corn, sunflower, grapeseed, safflower, and soybean
· Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and pine nuts
· Seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower
· Peanut butter
The Bottom Line
While these are the top foods that one needs to avoid to prevent an inflammatory response in your body, there are several other foods that need to be excluded from your diet. Choose fresh foods, exercise regularly, reduce stress, and meet your orthopedic doctor regularly to monitor your arthritis and prevent it from advancing. You can talk to your doctor about including Curcumin+ in your diet. It is a very potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant, which helps relieve arthritis-related joint pain. It is made using nanotechnology and has extremely high bioavailability for it to get easily absorbed by your body.