If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis Avoid Soda And Other Sugary Beverages
Add rheumatoid arthritis to the long list of conditions that are made more difficult to manage by eating a diet high in added sugar. In a 2018 study published in Arthritis Care & Research, researchers polled 217 individuals with RA about the ways 20 common foods affected their RA symptoms. Sugar-sweetened soda was the most troublesome food, with 12.7 percent of respondents saying it worsened their symptoms. Desserts came in as a close second, with 12.4 percent of respondents linking sweet treats to RA flare-ups.
Another study, published in 2014 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tried to determine if drinking sugar-sweetened soda increased risk for developing RA in women. They followed nearly 187,000 women for an average of 18 years. The researchers found that women who consumed one or more sugary sodas a day had a 63 percent increased risk for developing seropositive RA. This is the most common type of RA, in which a blood test detects antibodies the immune system produces against body tissue . Soda consumption appeared to have no impact on potential for developing seronegative RA, the other main form of RA in which antibodies can’t be detected but an individual still has RA symptoms.
Foods That Can Help Relieve Joint Pain
Inflammation aggravates arthritis pain. Your diet contributes a lot to inflammation — eat lots of refined sugars, alcohol, and saturated fat and you may make your arthritis pain more severe.
Instead, include foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and specific vitamins — such as vitamins C and A — to fight inflammation and encourage your bodys immune system to function optimally.
Here are 10 foods to include in your diet every week to help relieve joint pain, including some you may choose to have every day.
High Salt Content Foods
Salt is an essential body nutrient, especially because it provides the body with iodine. However, consuming too much salt also has some adversities. Choosing to cut back on salt consumption may be a very good choice if you suffer from arthritis.
Some of the foods that contain salt in large quantities include canned soup, some seafoods like shrimp, certain cheeses, processed foods, and many more. A high salt content diet can lead to more severe symptoms. Research has also revealed that high sodium foods and their intake are risk factors for autoimmune diseases.
To add more flavor to your food, you can add herbs, spices, and other seasoning mixes that have no additional salt. You may use onion powder, ground pepper, cumin, oregano, and minced garlic. High salt intake is associated with increased inflammatory response. Eat produce of the allium family. These include onions and garlic. Those who consume such products have shown fewer signs of joint pain and osteoarthritis.
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The Scoop On Supplements
Supplements abound when it comes to arthritis. But only glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have some evidence to support their use. Glucosamine with chondroitin may decrease pain in people with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee.
Note that osteoarthritis is the only type of arthritis that may benefit from these supplements. They do not help people with rheumatoid arthritis.
In general, glucosamine and chondroitin have minimal side effects. Steer clear of glucosamine if you are allergic to shellfish, or consider only glucosamine derived from a vegetable source. Glucosamine may raise blood sugar. Chondroitin can interact with anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs such as warfarin and aspirin that can increase the risk of bleeding.
Foods To Avoid With Arthritis
Some foods have been found to increase inflammation and should be avoided as much as possible if you have arthritis. These include:
- Mono-Sodium Glutamate This chemical ingredient is added to many foods as a flavor enhancer, most commonly in Asian foods like soy sauce, and has been shown to trigger inflammation. Look for it on food labels.
What about Gluten?
While some people believe gluten can worsen RA, there is no evidence to support this. However, those who are sensitive to gluten should avoid eating it in order to avoid bowel inflammation.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Cigarette smoking is bad for everyone, but in people with RA it has been shown to increase the severity of the disease. Smoking can also make it harder to manage RA. Studies show that people with RA who smoke are less likely to achieve remission and tend to have a worse prognosis.
Smoking can also increase painful rheumatoid nodules, which form in the joints, and can lead to heart disease, the leading cause of death in people with RA. People with RA are at greater risk for heart disease compared to the general population.
Drink Alcohol in Moderation
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Mayo Clinic Minute: Fighting Arthritis With Food
Millions of Americans suffer from symptoms of arthritis that are often debilitating. The most common form is degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, followed by inflammatory or rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. John Davis III, a Mayo Clinic rheumatologist, says what you eat may help with some of the inflammation associated with arthritis.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please “Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.” Read the script.
Can avoiding foods like potato chips and pizza help ease your arthritis pain? Maybe.
“Some foods can increase inflammation levels and contribute to symptoms of arthritis, especially really fatty foods simple sugars or carbohydrates, lots of salt, or salty food,” says Dr. Davis.
Symptoms may include swollen and achy joints, discomfort and pain.
“Arthritis relates to a diverse set of disorders where there is inflammation that occurs in joints,” says Dr. Davis.
He says that while medication may help joint pain, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and paying attention to the food you eat play important roles.
“Small amounts of weight loss can lead to reductions of just overall inflammation in the body, which can have overall benefits,” says Dr. Davis.
Add more fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, whole grains and fish. These foods are thought to reduce inflammation and help with pain.
Garlic And Root Vegetables
Garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties. Various studies have shown that these pungent root vegetables can be useful in treating symptoms of arthritis and other joint pain. Incorporate these vegetables into meals for added flavor. Plus, theyre all available in a supplement.
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Can Diet Improve Arthritis Symptoms
Through the centuries, many claims have been made about the influence of dietary habits and nutritional supplements on arthritis. Some of these claims are supported by medical evidence and some are reasonable theories. However, for most of these claims, we are just not sure.
Even without all the proof, there are many healthy nutritional ideas that you can consider.
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 in Autoimmunity Reviews. But before trying a gluten-free diet, get tested for celiac disease, Michet suggests.
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In The Kitchen With Arthritis: Foods To Avoid
The goal of an anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis is to reduce inflammation and the joint degeneration and pain it causes.What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
You can influence inflammation by eating anti-inflammatory foods, such as leafy greens and colorful vegetables, and avoiding these 7 inflammatory foods:
To Manage Osteoarthritis Sip Green Tea
Whether you already have osteoarthritis or are trying to keep your joints supple as long as possible, you may want to ditch your morning cup of coffee for a cup of green tea. According to a 2011 paper published in Arthritis Research & Therapy, epigallocatechin-3-gallate , a polyphenol found in green tea, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent or better manage osteoarthritis.
The authors theorized that green tea could be used alongside drugs prescribed to manage arthritis, either increasing the drugs’ effectiveness or allowing patients to get the same results with a lower dosage. These conclusions, however, are based on studies involving mice, so more research on humans is needed. There may also be other polyphenols in green tea that work together with EGCG to help fight joint inflammation.
Green tea has a number of other scientifically backed health benefits, so drinking it for help with osteoarthritis could lead to other positive changes. The combination of caffeine and potent plant compounds in green tea has been linked to improved brain function, increased fat burning, as well as decreased risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer .
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Foods Containing Monosodium Glutamate
In fact, monosodium glutamate is a flavor-increasing food additive with some preservative properties most often found in packaged foods such as potato chips, frozen snacks, canned and frozen Chinese foods, frozen dinners, soups, and store-bought salad dressings.
Monosodium glutamate can trigger pain and inflammation in your body, including your joints. The artificial additive is extremely harmful to people who already have inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis.
Because most frozen and packaged foods contain artificial additives such as monosodium glutamate, you should strive to consume fresh foods made at home. You should use organic products and also avoid artificial flavor enhancers.
Apart from monosodium glutamate, you have to avoid foods having aspartame, an artificial sweetener that can also trigger an inflammatory response.
Nightshade Vegetables Cause Inflammation
Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers all contain the chemical solanine, which some blame for arthritis pain. However, the Arthritis Foundation say that there is no scientific evidence for this. Adding these nutritious vegetables to the diet can have many benefits for chronic health conditions.
There is evidence that certain foods and nutrients can improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. They do this by fighting inflammation, providing nutrition, and boosting bone, muscle, and immune system function.
People may also benefit from avoiding or restricting foods that contribute to inflammation.
Being overweight or obese places extra pressure on the joints, which can make the symptoms of osteoarthritis worse.
Eating a balanced diet rich in plants, fiber, and anti-inflammatory fats, such as those that the Mediterranean diet includes, can help people living with osteoarthritis to maintain a healthy weight.
This will help to ease symptoms, such as pain and swelling.
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Stay Away From Msg If You Have Osteoarthritis
According to a 2020 paper published in Medicine and Pharmacy Reports, oxidative stress plays a big role in osteoarthritis. Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an imbalance between pro-inflammatory molecules called reactive oxygen species and anti-inflammatory antioxidants in the body. In the case of osteoarthritis, ROS builds up in the cartilage and fluid surrounding joints, causing damage on a cellular level.
It makes sense, then, to stay away from anything that encourages oxidative stress. In a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Medical Research and Pharmaceutical Sciences, researchers found that monosodium glutamate promoted oxidative stress in the cartilage of rats, causing it to break down at a much faster rate. Although the experiment was on rodents, the study authors theorized that MSG could speed up the progression of osteoarthritis in humans.
According to Healthline, MSG is a highly controversial food additive used to enhance flavor. Although commonly associated with Chinese takeout, it’s found in a lot of processed foods, including chips, frozen meals, soups, and condiments. Although considered safe to use by the FDA, MSG has been blamed for increasing the risk for obesity, liver damage, heart disease, and nerve damage in animal studies.
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.
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Final Thoughts On The Link Between Arthritis And The Foods You Consume
If youre struggling with arthritis pain caused by osteoarthritis, make small changes to your diet. New eating habits can go a long way toward reducing your chances of suffering pain or provide some much-needed relief.
Of course, these changes wont prevent rheumatoid arthritis. However, they are still worth implementing. Thats because a healthy diet can help ease the pain and inflammation associated with this form of arthritis.
Citrus Fruits Cause Inflammation
Some people believe that they should avoid citrus fruits because the acidity is inflammatory. However, this is not the case. In fact, citrus fruits have anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as being rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Grapefruit juice can, however, interact with some medicines that doctors use to treat arthritis. People who are undergoing treatment should check with a doctor before incorporating it into their diet.
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Why Are There Certain Foods To Avoid With Arthritis
The term arthritis actually refers to two distinctly different chronic conditions that affect individuals in a similar way but for different reasons. These forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is more common and considered a wear-and-tear condition that mostly affects older adults. Over time, the protective tissues in the joints begin to wear down and can cause pain when the joint is moved naturally. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the body begins to attack the healthy tissues around joints causing it to become inflamed and painful. It can strike at any age. While many of the symptoms are similar, the two types of arthritis are very different and require different treatments. It is important to talk to your medical specialist for the correct diagnosis.
With both of these diagnoses, however, refocusing your energy on an arthritis healthy diet can actually reduce inflammation in the joints. Its this inflammation that causes arthritis pain. You help reduce that, and you help reduce your pain. In the same way, some types of food can actually increase inflammation in the body and make your pain worse. Keep a running list of these foods to avoid with arthritis and youll help yourself manage 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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Broccoli Could Slow Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is considered a “wear and tear” condition. Over time, the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in a joint wears away, causing bones to rub against one another, leading to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. This can happen simply as a result of getting older or because of injuries or repeated stress on the joint. Women, heavier individuals, and people with certain genetic factors are also more likely to get osteoarthritis. While any joint can be affected, the knees, hips, spine, and hands are most vulnerable to cartilage damage .
According to a 2013 article published in Science Direct, research suggests that sulforaphane, a compound released when eating broccoli, can slow down the destruction of cartilage in joints. Sulforaphane is present in other cruciferous vegetables as well, including Brussels sprouts and cabbage, but is particularly concentrated in broccoli. This compound “blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation.” Although these effects were demonstrated in both laboratory-grown tissues and in mice, the results are promising for humans.
Eat And Drink Less Dairy On A Diet For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may flare in response to specific proteins found in dairy products. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis who report intolerance to milk have antibodies to milk proteins, Dr. Michet says. The body forms these antibodies to protect itself from what it mistakenly perceives as a harmful substance, but the antibodies attack other parts of the body in addition to the milk. Cut dairy products from your diet to see if that reduces your RA symptoms.
“Try rice, cashew, or almond milk as anti-inflammatory alternatives,” says Ulka Agarwal, MD, a staff psychiatrist at George Washington University in Washington, DC, who advocates a vegan diet. Milk may be a food to avoid with arthritis to see if it helps with RA pain.
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