Foods To Avoid If You Have Chronic Joint Pain
Many people in the Houston, Texas, area suffer from joint pain. They may feel as though there is nothing more they can do to cure their pain. However, a pain-free life is sometimes as simple as adjusting your diet. NASA Bone & Joint Specialists understands that it can be overwhelming to figure out a diet that is joint-friendly, so weve listed out some of the top foods to avoid if youre suffering from joint pain:
Consuming eggs regularly can lead to an increased amount of swelling and joint pain. The yolks contain arachidonic acid, which helps trigger inflammation in the body. Eggs also contain saturated fat which can also induce joint pain. If you cant give up eggs completely, pass on the yolks and simply use the egg whites instead.
Dairy contains a high level of protein casein. This type of protein triggers inflammation and pain in the joints, and may even contribute to irritation around the joints. Some dairy products, such as butter, contain a high amount of saturated fat. This can also contribute to inflammation and joint pain. Soy milk and almond milk are some good substitutions for dairy products.
03. Processed Meats
Processed meats contain nitrites and purines. These chemicals increase inflammation and lead to joint pain. Meats such as hot dogs, corned beef, bacon, and sausages are all processed and should be avoided. Reach for lean, fresh cuts of meat instead.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis To Flare Up
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the more sinister forms of arthritis. Not only can the damage to your joints lead to swelling, stiffness and pain, there’s no way to undo it aka, it’s permanent.
With rheumatoid arthritis, there’s likely always some low level of inflammation affecting your joints, but it can also flare up in response to stress or, believe or not, the weather specifically, rain.
“When you’re stressed, either mentally or physically, your body is less equipped to handle the inflammation caused by your condition,” explains Dr. Alam. “Since it leads to swelling and stiffness, more inflammation means more intense pain.”
As for why a change in weather might trigger a flare up of rheumatoid arthritis, it’s all about joints under pressure.
“Changes in weather, such as rain, are often accompanied by changes in air pressure, and this change is thought to affect the pressure within your joints making any underlying swelling feel more painful,” explains Dr. Alam.
While you can’t control the weather, you can take steps to reduce your stress levels. And when a flare up hits, you can use a cold compress to reduce the inflammation that’s causing some of your pain.
Sugar And Certain Sugar Alternatives
Foods that contain refined sugarincluding pastries, chocolate, candy, soda, and even fruit juicestrigger the release of proteins in the body called cytokines, which cause inflammation. Sugar is labeled many ways in food items in addition to sugar, watch out for corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, or maltose in ingredient lists.
Cutting back on regular sugar may lead people to seek out foods made with sugar alternatives, such as aspartame and sucralose, when a sweet tooth hits. However, some people are sensitive to these substances, which can cause an inflammatory response from the body. Sugar alternatives are often found in diet sodas, gum, sugar-free candy, and low-fat yogurt and pudding.
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Cakes Cookies And Other Sweets
Given that both sugar and saturated fats are inflammatory foods, traditional treats are something those with arthritis should steer clear of. Fortunately, there are many ways to satisfy your sweet tooth, whether that be swapping out sugar for a natural alternative and/or swapping out butter and cream for low-fat yogurt or avocado. Here are some great low-sugar desserts to try.
Steer Clear Of Seven Foods That May Inflame Arthritic Joints
Inflammation aggravates arthritic joints, causing tissues to swell and become inflamed. Eating anti-inflammatory foods may reduce swelling, but its also important to know about the foods that can trigger painful inflammation.
Food is one of lifes pleasures, and nostalgic recipes take center stage as we celebrate the holidays. But, for people with arthritis, indulging in favorite dishes may trigger joint inflammation that causes tenderness and pain. We cant treat arthritis with diet alone, but knowing which foods cause inflammation can help us to make healthy decisions about our diet.
Although arthritis patients dont have to avoid these foods entirely, it may be wise to limit their appearance on the menu, and find ways to replace them with some of the healthier options we are suggesting. Food choices are easier to make when we understand the lifestyle benefits that go with them.
- Corn oil. This oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids think of omega-6s as the evil twin of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s can help to relieve joint pain, while omega-6s can trigger inflammation. When you are tempted to reach for baked goods and snacks made with corn oil, remind yourself that nuts, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds are alternatives that offer joint-friendly omega-3s.
- Sugars are not a friend to joints. Candies, sugary baked goods, and sweet sodas may be delicious, but they also increase the AGEs that can trigger inflammation. Choose fruit or unsweetened drinks instead.
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Foods High In Unhealthy Fats Are Linked To Inflammation
You may have heard that eating a well-balanced diet could help ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis such as joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
But did you know there are also certain foods you should avoid? These foods can worsen your symptoms, increase the risk of complications, and affect the amount and type of RA medication you need to take.
Research backs up the power of food when it comes to managing your RA. In a study exploring the effects of the Mediterranean diet published in December 2020 in the journal Microorganisms, researchers conclude that certain foods can lessen or increase RA symptoms. This backs up the belief that the right diet can be effective in helping to provide long-term RA relief.
You can use food choices to try to help control RA-related inflammation in your body that can cause pain and swelling in your joints as well as damage to your heart and other organs.
On one hand, you want to increase your intake of healthy anti-inflammatory foods like fish, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. At the same time, you want to avoid foods that promote inflammation when putting together a healthy diet.
Consider how many RA-aggravating foods youre eating and find a healthy balance, says Joan Salge Blake, EdD, RDN, a clinical professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Steer clear of these foods to help reduce inflammation and improve your RA.
Added Sugar Can Increase Oxidative Stress In The Body
Sugar consumption is known to lead to a variety of diseases that are caused by affecting the normal oxidation-reduction balance in the body.
The derailment of this balance creates oxidative stress within the body. Antioxidants are substances that are essential to maintaining the redox balance.
In similar manner arthritis is also one such condition the redox balance is important and arthritis patients are known to have a lesser level of antioxidants.
Sugar is nothing but glucose, which when metabolized generates reactive oxygen species .
Sugar metabolism in the body created AGEs which bring about the oxidative stress in the body.
Scientific data proves that sugar meals increase the antioxidant requirement in the body, failing which oxidative stress is inevitable.
What does this mean?Arthritis patients are already a victim of higher oxidative stress within the body. The consumption of added sugar can further worsen this stress leading to cellular damage.
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Ra Diet: 5 Foods To Avoid With Arthritis
It’s time to kick that morning doughnut-and-coffee habit. Research shows that eating certain foods like sugary snacks and desserts and certain caffeinated beverages may worsen rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
According to the American College of Rheumatology , rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis, affecting more than 1.3 million Americans. It is caused when the immune system is not working properly.
Symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis may include:
- Fatigue, fever, and weight loss
- Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity
- Tender, warm, swollen joints
Early rheumatoid arthritis typically affects smaller joints first including the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet.
Over time, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may spread to the following joints and occur on both sides of your body:
There are many new drugs, even surgery, to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but don’t ignore the simpler ways of reducing RA pain, like lifestyle measures and a healthy diet. Though the scientific research surrounding an RA diet and rheumatoid arthritis is still inconclusive, many highly trained doctors recommend avoiding certain foods to see if this helps your joint inflammation and pain.
Does coffee cause inflammation with RA? As mentioned, coffee may increase inflammation, so stopping coffee on an RA diet may be helpful in managing inflammation and joint pain.
Look For Added Sugars On Food Labels
You never really know how much sugar a given food has until you read the nutrition facts label and ingredients list. Seemingly non-sugary foods like crackers, nut butters, or frozen dinners can have a lot more hidden added sugar than you might realize. Reading labels can give you a sense of whats in the foods you eat regularly so you can start comparing.
Youll start to see the new FDA-mandated nutrition facts panels on more packaged foods, which includes a separate line for grams of added sugar per serving. Companies have until January 1, 2020 to change their labels, though. If your favorite foods havent made the switch yet, you can check the manufacturers website for the info, suggest Dubost or look for a SmartLabel, where you can scan a QR or digital code on the package and get detailed information on the product.
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Cut Back On Meat To Decrease Ra Inflammation
Meat may be another food to avoid with arthritis. Changing from a meat-heavy to a vegetarian diet often improves RA symptoms. Meat consumption is associated with higher overall fat and calorie intake, which are markers for an unhealthy diet. The fats in meat are more easily metabolized into pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, Michet says. Production of these inflammatory chemicals is good in certain circumstances, such as when you’re fighting an infection but they can also cause painful inflammation and swelling in spaces like your joints. Instead of eating meat exclusively, supplement your RA diet with plant such as beans, lentils, and soy, Dr. Agarwal says.
Gluten May Be A Food To Avoid With Arthritis
Research shows that some people with rheumatoid arthritis also have celiac disease, which is triggered by gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains that gives dough a chewy texture. When someone has celiac disease, eating gluten causes an immune reaction in the small intestine that can lead to bloating and diarrhea.
In some people, the inflammatory reaction may extend to the joints, which only aggravates rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. While dietary interventions for rheumatoid arthritis remain controversial, the gluten-free trend is showing some positive results, notably the easing of celiac rheumatic symptoms, according to research published in September 2016 inAutoimmunity Reviews. But before trying a gluten-free diet, get tested for celiac disease, Michet suggests.
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Is Coffee Good For Arthritis
Coffee could potentially benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis because of the anti-inflammatory properties of coffee. 5 Reducing inflammation in the body could help reduce joint pain. Also, the stimulating effects of caffeine help to fight physical and mental fatigue that is common with rheumatoid arthritis.
How Can I Keep To A Healthy Weight
Keeping to a healthy weight is important for your general health, but it can also have benefits for people with different types of arthritis.
Being overweight can put more strain on your joints particularly those in the legs. The force put through your knees when walking can be two or three times your body weight, so losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference. Being overweight can also increase inflammation in the body, which could cause you more pain.
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Foods That Help Reduce Inflammation
It may seem as if all of your favorite foods are on the do not eat list as it relates to joint and muscle pain. However, there are actually a variety of nutritious and delicious foods that can help reduce inflammation. A Mediterranean diet offers an excellent guideline, including these foods:
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips and yams
- High-fat fruits such as avocados and olives
- Olive oil and coconut oil and other healthy fats
- Whole grains
- Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovies and other fatty fish
- Almonds and other nuts
- Bell peppers and chili peppers
- Dark chocolate
- Legumes such as beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts and chickpeas
- Spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon
- Green tea
Sticking to a diet consisting of these foods will not only help combat inflammation and pain but also help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce risk for many diseases. For more information on foods that can help with inflammation, read 10 Foods That Help Reduce Joint Pain.
How Sugar May Affect Ra
A 2017 survey of people with RA found that the foods most often linked to worse symptoms were sugary ones, specifically desserts and sodas. One reason may simply be that people who cut out added sugar end up losing weight, which can improve RA symptoms, explains survey co-author Sara Tedeschi, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. âItâs hard to separate the effect of dietary change from the effect of weight loss.â
The tie between sugar and RA is nothing new. Many people assume that the autoimmune disorder started happening only recently. But it was first seen by Western doctors in the late 19th century, when sugar became more widely available to the public. âAt the same time as we started seeing tooth decay and gum disease, we started seeing RA,â explains Avram Goldberg, MD, clinical director of NYU Langone Rheumatology Associates in Lake Success, NY. âWe think that the sugar caused a change in bacteria in the mouth, which in turn made some people more susceptible to the condition.â
Also, many people with RA have proteins in their body called anti-citrullinated protein antibodies , Hsiao explains. These cause the inflammation that triggers the disease. Experts think sugar triggers your body to make more ACPA, she says, which can make your symptoms worse.
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Search For Rheumatologists Near You And Schedule Your Next Appointment Today
Dietary choices are always important to overall health, but if you have arthritis, the foods you choose can have a surprising impact on your joint health. You may find some arthritis trigger foods cause pain, stiffness, and swelling, while others actually alleviate your symptoms.
There are several common trigger foods to avoid if you have arthritis. For happier, healthier joints, try these simple food swaps.
What Are The Symptoms Of Reactive Arthritis
Reactive arthritis symptoms typically start 1 to 6 weeks after an infection of the digestive or urinary tract or genitals, but the infection has usually gone away by the time you get arthritis symptoms. The main symptoms are:
- Joint pain and stiffness. Joints may become painful, red, and swollen, especially in the knees and ankles. You may feel stiff in the morning and feel pain at night. The affected joints are usually on one side of the body.
- Inflammation of the urinary tract. Increased urinary frequency and burning while urinating are signs of urinary tract inflammation.
- Eye inflammation. Eyes may have redness, pain, burning, itching, crusted eyelids, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light.
Not everyone with reactive arthritis will have inflammation in all three areas of the body, or they might not happen at the same time. Some people with reactive arthritis have mild symptoms, while others have severe symptoms that limit daily activities.
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How Sugar Affects Rheumatoid Arthritis
Its not news that sugary sweet soda is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, but a 2014 study suggests that it also ups rheumatoid arthritis risk in women. And, if you already have rheumatoid arthritis, sugar isnt so sweet on your joints.
While scientists do not know for sure how sugar harms your joints, they think it could come down to inflammation. That slow-burning fire is how rheumatoid arthritis attacks your joints and brings on the pain, swelling and stiffness you feel. Excess sugars are thought to add more fuel to the flame. And, of course, too much soda can pile on the pounds, which further adds to RA risk.
It gets worse: Sugar also ups your risk of other dangerous diseases that often tag along with RA, such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. According to some studies, RA sufferers have up to twice the risk of cardiovascular disease and a 50% increased risk of diabetes. So cutting back on sugar is especially smart for people with RA.
The good news is that you dont have to completely neglect your sweet tooth when you cut back on sugar. Try these five alternatives to satisfy your sweet cravings and keep RA inflammation and other diseases at bay.