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What Not to Eat When You Have Arthritis

Dr. Amir Saeed

3 min read

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Arthritis is a terminology used for conditions with joint pain and inflammation. When you are struggling with arthritis, your body is in inflammation state which can adversely affect the  food that you consume. Diet affects and a healthy and a well-balanced diet can actually help with the symptoms of arthritis, while consuming some foods might worsen the inflammation and in the long run, your arthritis. Here are some of the foods to avoid for arthritis patients. 

Processed Food

Processed food is rich in trans-fats (which both, raise your bad cholesterol and lowers your good cholesterol and put you at a risk of inflammation. Avoid any kind of processed food. Checking the labels can be a really good idea. Avoid products containing hydrogenated oils such as?

Alternative to Processed Food

A balanced diet of fruits and vegetables is a healthier alternative to processed food.

Refined Sugar

Refined sugar might make your taste-buds happy but is really harmful for your body especially if you are suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes and arthritis. Sugar releases a protein called cytokines which results in inflammation of what ?. Again, checking the product labels can be a great help. Along with sugar, also avoid corn syrup, fructose, sucrose and maltose.

Alternatives to Sugar

Make healthy choices for a healthier life. You can use honey, maple syrup and molasses as healthier alternatives to sugar.

Red Meat

Red meat is rich in saturated fats resulting in high cholesterol and inflammation. Red meat also contains high levels of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) that stimulate inflammation, especially when meat is grilled, roasted or fried.

Alternative to Red Meat

Fish can be a good alternative for red meat. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which has a lot of health benefits.

Certain Oils

Corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, and soy oils are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which might be healthy when used in small doses, however when used in excess, omega-6 can trigger inflammatory chemicals, which do more harm than good.

Alternatives to These Oils

You can go for the oils that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as olive, canola, and flaxseed oils. These varieties are healthy, even if you consume them in larger quantities.

Refined Grains

White bread, white pasta, and crackers all fall under refined grains. They cause a spike in blood glucose level, which has been shown to increase levels of several inflammation-markers in the body.  Another factor to consider switching to a whole grain diet is that people with gluten sensitivities may experience joint pain and inflammation from consuming wheat products.

Alternatives to Refined Grain

The best alternative to refined grain is to go for whole wheat. It tastes almost the same and doesn’t do harm to your body.

Dairy Products

Due to the kind of proteins contained in dairy products, they may increase arthritis pain. This protein might irritate tissues around the joints of some people. For others having arthritis, it has proved successful to change their diet to vegan, not having any animal products.

Nonetheless, it was mentioned in a 2017 review that milk has anti-inflammatory effect, but not for people who are allergic to cow’s milk. The actual data is on the contrary. If one wants to see their body’s reaction to dairy, they should stop consuming it for several weeks and then revive it to see how your body responds.

To see if your symptoms improve try using vegetables like spinach, nut butters, tofu, beans, lentils, and quinoa as a source of protein rather than meat.

Alcohol and tobacco

Health problems that may affect your joints, are some of many that are caused by consuming tobacco and alcohol. Smoking can cause the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Alcohol, on the other hand, can cause the risk of developing gout.

Alcohol and tobacco use can jeopardize a balanced diet, physical activity, and a fair amount of rest, all of which are necessary for healthy joints.

Make healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and quality sleep a part of your regular routine and try to eliminate drinking and smoking.

Salt and preservatives

Always be aware of what your food contains. Most foods, to have longer shelf lives, have an excess of salt and several other preservatives. Reducing your salt intake to a reasonable amount is a help because excess salt cause inflammation in the joints.

Instead, try to avoid preservative and additives, read labels on food items. Fewer salt consumption can help in managing arthritis, which also means to avoid using prepared meals. Even though, they are an easy use item, prepared meals generally have a high sodium content.

Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Avoiding foods and drinks that trigger inflammation is not good for your arthritis. An anti-inflammatory diet can also help prevent other chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. You can find a lot of healthy eating easy recipes online. Your health matters. You can book an appointment with a top Orthopedic surgeon in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for all your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Amir Saeed - Author Dr. Aamir Saeed is a Rheumatologist practicing in Lahore. He is MBBS, MRCP (Ire), MRCPS(Glasg, UK), Certified Consultant Rhematologist, Dip in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound, Certified Consultant Physician and has 22 years of experience.
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