Some people can get relief from arthritis symptoms by changing their diet. It may be necessary to avoid inflammatory foods like saturated fat and sugar. Likewise, you should also avoid foods high in purines.
But before we delve any further, let’s first answer the question of what arthritis is, shall we?
What is arthritis and how does it affect you?
The term arthritis refers to a group of conditions that cause inflammation and damage to the joints. The term “arthritis” actually encompasses more than 100 different types of joint diseases, each with its own causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Arthritis can affect people of all ages, genders, and races, but it is most commonly seen in older adults. Worldwide, it is one of the leading causes of disability.
The most common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. There can be mild to severe symptoms, and they can be intermittent or continuous. In some cases, arthritis can cause significant deformities of the joints, making it difficult to move or perform everyday tasks.
Osteoarthritis is one of the few non-inflammatory types. It is also the most frequently occurring condition, with the percentage in females being 47% and 40% in males. On the other hand, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) come under chronic inflammation.
Foods That Can Make Arthritis Worse
Avoiding certain foods and beverages can reduce inflammation intensity through dietary interventions. If you have arthritis, you should avoid these foods. Similarly, you can also prevent your arthritis from getting worse by following an anti inflammation diet.
1. Added Sugars
You should always have a moderate amount of sugar in your daily routine, especially if you have arthritis. Things like soda, candy, ice cream, etc., contain loads of added sugar. A study of over 200 people concluded that people with rheumatoid arthritis who have a higher sugar intake frequently experience progressively worse RA symptoms as compared to people with relatively lower added sugar intake.
You should definitely avoid sweet beverages like soda too. A study of 1200 adults between the ages of 20-30 observes that those who consume these drinks five times a week or more are more inclined to develop arthritis than those who consume them three times a week or less. So added sugar also increases the risk of developing arthritis.
2. Processed and Red Meats
Red meat, as well as processed meat, may have links to inflammation, which in turn may lead to arthritis. These foods consist of a high level of inflammatory markers (they are blood tests that indicate the presence of inflammation within our body). Several markers include C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and homocysteine.
A study with 200 people showed that RA (rheumatoid arthritis) worsens symptoms. Furthermore, it is a risk factor for the disease. A more plant-based diet (green vegetables, beans, whole grains, seeds, and fruits) does greatly improve the symptoms of RA.
3. Gluten-containing Food
Gluten is the name of a group of proteins commonly found in barley, rye, wheat, and triticale (it is a cross-bred plant between rye and wheat). There are studies that have found links between gluten and increased symptoms of arthritis. Going gluten-free may help ease some of the pain and swelling.
Moreover, people who suffer from celiac disease (it is an immune reaction to the consumption of gluten, which leads to damage in the small intestine) may have a greater risk of developing autoimmune conditions to diseases like RA. This is also true vice versa. It is more likely that people with RA will develop celiac disease.
4. Processed Food
Fast food, baked products, and breakfast cereal are examples of risk factors for arthritis (especially rheumatoid arthritis). They all contain added sugar, refined grains, and preservatives, pretty much every inflammatory substance that exists. So not only do they make the condition progressively worse, but they also increase the risk of developing it as well.
A diet rich in processed food is, generally speaking, a recipe for disaster. Since the problems, it causes far outweigh the pleasure of consuming such nutrients. They are bad for your health in large amounts, like raising the risk of heart-related conditions.
5. Glycation end products with advanced functionality
An AGE is an inflammatory compound that accumulates in tissues over time, particularly as people age. It is common for people with diseases such as diabetes and RA to have elevated AGE levels. Therefore, reducing AGE levels may help reduce inflammation.
The body’s AGE levels are increased by fat and sugar. High-temperature cooking and some food processing methods also increase AGE levels.
The Way Forward!
Food plays a role in inflammation levels. There are some foods that are inflammatory, and there are others that are anti-inflammatory. So, if you’re curious, are eggs bad for arthritis? The answer is no; they’re actually good for your health. Therefore, eat healthy foods in moderation and maintain a healthy diet. If done correctly, dietary interventions can help you manage arthritis and inflammation.