Learn about five foods that can make your arthritis pain worse.
The most effective eating plan for arthritis includes avoiding inflammatory foods. There are many foods that can cause problems for those suffering from arthritis, but the five foods discussed below are the biggest offenders and should be eliminated from your diet.
Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products, i.e., fatty beef, pork, and lamb, poultry skin, ice cream, butter, whole or 2 percent milk, regular cheese, bacon, bologna, salami, pepperoni, and beef sausage. Products that contain palm oil and palm-kernel oil, products like crackers, cookies, and nondairy creamers are also a source of saturated fats.
When purchasing packaged food items, check the Nutrition Facts Panel and purchase snack food items with 2 grams or fewer saturated fats per serving and packaged meal items with 4.5 grams or fewer saturated fats per serving. To further reduce your saturated fat intake, you should purchase reduced-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean cuts of beef and pork, and skinless chicken and turkey.
Trans Fats found in fast foods, processed snack foods, stick margarines and in some bakery products are as dangerous as saturated fats. Trans fats have been linked to inflammation of joints, heart disease, and many other health problems. Food producers are aware of these problems, and many of them have taken steps to eliminate all Trans fats from their food products. Food manufacturers are also now required by law to list trans fats on the Nutrition Label Panel right beneath Saturated Fats. You should get into the habit of reading the Nutrition Facts Panel carefully and only purchase products with 0 grams. Trans fats and do not contain any partially hydrogenated oils.
Caloric, high-fat foods like fried chicken, French fries, donuts, and deep-fried appetizers should be avoided by anyone who has arthritis. The problem with eating these foods in abundance is that they lay on the pounds which put increased stress on arthritic joints. To make a bad situation even worse, body fat is not an inert substance; it is metabolically active, capable of producing hormones and chemicals that actually increase levels of joint inflammation. Many restaurants also use hydrogenated oils to deep fry their fried food, which means that you may be getting dangerous levels of trans fats too.
When cooking your meals at home, select a tasty but healthier option to frying. Grilling, steaming, roasting, and baking your foods are all tasty and diet friendly options.
Anything baked with white flour—white bread, rolls, crackers, and other baked goods—contain refined carbohydrates. White rice and junk cereals also contain refined carbohydrates. White flour is made by a milling process which removes the bran and germ, the only nutritious parts in the whole grain before milling.
The refined carbs produce a state of inflammation in the body, causing increases in cytokines and other pro-inflammatory compounds, which makes arthritis worse. Your best option is to switch completely to whole-grain products like whole-wheat bread, whole-grain cereal, whole-wheat pasta, and brown and wild rice. Whole-grain products such as those should be staples on your weekly grocery shopping list.
Simple sugars cause big problems for the arthritic
Cookies, fruit juices, soft drinks, and candy are all loaded with simple sugars. Simple sugars are also refined carbohydrates that cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket. The increased blood sugar sets off an inflammatory reaction in the joints which exacerbate arthritis and other inflammatory joint disorders.
If you crave sweets, stick to a piece of fresh, fiber-rich fruit (paired with a handful of nuts or sunflower seeds to blunt blood sugar spikes) or choose a low-sugar snack.