How This Helps

Arthritis pain can be unbearable and can affect the quality of life. Many factors may lead to arthritis. Arthritis comes in many forms and includes autoimmune disorders (Rheumatoid arthritis), which is genetic, and one that progresses due to age and excessive wear and tear of the joints (osteoarthritis). Some arthritis may occur due to the types of food you eat, obesity, and other factors.

However, the easiest way to lessen that pain and control those accumulating inflammatory mediators is by eliminating certain foods. Also, since obesity is a factor for arthritis, it can be managed through controlling your weight and shedding those extra kilos to reduce pressure on your painful joints. When you are suffering from arthritis, your body produces inflammatory mediators that may worsen your pain. So, it’s essential to take note of what you eat to protect yourself from such chronic conditions.

Can you prevent arthritis pain?

How to prevent arthritis pain?

Eliminating certain foods can not only help overcome your painful arthritis condition but also improves your quality of life. Some food ingredients can aggravate arthritis by activating an inflammatory response sequence in your body. 


See: Natural inflammation remedies for chronic pain

What foods make arthritis worse?

What are the foods to avoid in arthritis?

- Sugar

Sugar can be hard to resist for those who have a sweet tooth and chronic inflammatory conditions. Sugar containing foods like fruit juices, Sweet delicacies, pastries, chocolates, desserts, and candies can trigger the inflammatory cascade and promote the symptoms of arthritis.  

A study has shown that women experienced a greater risk of seropositive rheumatoid arthritis on the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup sweetened soft drinks, independent of other dietary and lifestyle factors. This action is due to the regular consumption of fructose-containing beverages that can cause fructose malabsorption. Unabsorbed fructose may cause fructose intolerance where your body recognizes it as a foreign body and activates its defense mechanism. This action contributes to fructose reactivity in the gastrointestinal tract and inflammation. 

Some other studies have suggested that joint inflammation in Rheumatoid arthritis can be due to the accumulation of advanced glycation end-products. 


- Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are present in many of your favorite foods. Various oils mayonnaise, pizza, cheese, salad dressings, sunflower oil, corn, peanut butter, red meat, pasta, full-fat dairy products, and many salad dressings are known to trigger inflammation in adipose tissue. This trigger can worsen the arthritis pain and inflammation in the tissues.

Fatty acids and high cholesterol levels are associated with increased inflammation in the joints, which is responsible for the degradation of cartilage matrix, COX-2, interleukins, and tumor necrosis factors in chondrocyte. 


- Trans Fats

Junk foods (like fried foods, snacks, chips, bakery products like cookies, crackers), and other fast foods can trigger systemic inflammation and worsen your arthritis. Next time think twice before eating such products or whose label displays partially hydrogenated oils. 


Refined Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates come under high glycemic index foods that are not considered good for health, especially in those who are suffering from diabetes, arthritis, and metabolic syndrome. Avoid consuming refined carbohydrates like bread made from refined wheat flour, rolls, and crackers, white processed rice, instant mashed potatoes, fried foods like french fries, fried noodles, baked cookies, and many kinds of cereal. These foods are devoid of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and may lead to overeating. The overeating subsequently leads to various diseases like obesity, diabetes, and arthritis. The refined carbohydrates may also promote the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products resulting in inflammation and pain.


- Insoluble fibers

Cellulose and lignin are the components of various fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Excessive intake of these insoluble fibers may alter the intestinal permeability and generate the production of inflammatory biomarkers such as plasma fibrinogen, Tumor necrosis factor, C-Reactive Protein, and interleukins, all of which are indicators of Rheumatoid arthritis.


- MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an important ingredient of most of the Chinese food as it adds flavor to it. But in the case of arthritis, it should be avoided as it may aggravate the arthritic symptoms. Foods like soy sauce, noodles, salad dressings prepared soups and soup mixes, and deli meats contain monosodium glutamate to preserve the food for longer duration as well to enhance its taste. MSG is a chemical that can trigger pathways of chronic inflammation. Increased levels of glutamate found in the synovial fluid of osteoarthritis (OA) patients indicate that consuming MSG containing foods can aggravate arthritis symptoms.


- Gluten and Casein

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, which is known to stimulate an autoimmune reaction. People who are suffering from inflammatory conditions like arthritis are more sensitive to such proteins like gluten, casein (milk), hordein (barley), and secalin (rye). One can find relief from their joint pain by adopting a gluten-free diet, which has the potential to damage the small intestine, which sometimes causes joint pain.


- Aspartame

Even though the FDA considers aspartame sugar to be safe, it can still harm people who are sensitive to it. If you are sensitive to aspartame, exclude that from your diet. It may activate your immune system that recognizes this as a foreign substance and trigger an inflammatory cascade.


- Alcohol

Excessive use of alcohol is a burden to the liver and multiple organs like the liver, heart, central nervous system, cartilage, and pancreas. Where chronic alcohol consumption is known to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inducing pro-inflammatory states leading to tissue damage. However, moderate consumption of alcohol may not significantly impact the severity of arthritis and is safe in general.

See: Beat Sugar Detox Symptoms and Feel Better

Studies on foods to avoid for arthritis

Is there any science and research conducted to showcase what foods to avoid with arthritis flare-ups?

The study included 34 141 women who were recruited to evaluate the association between alcohol and a risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis. These women were monitored for over six years. During the study, researchers reported that 197 women were associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The results collected from these women showed that moderate consumption of alcohol or consuming four glasses of alcohol in a week might not pose a risk for rheumatoid arthritis.

See: Rheumatoid arthritis Complementary treatment with Probiotics

Summary

Eliminating foods that are considered to be antigens and which possibly aggravate the disease can help relieve pain and may also increase the effectiveness of a medicine. People who are suffering from arthritis should make a list of foods to avoid for arthritis, and consider eating foods that do not aggravate the symptoms of arthritis. Also, incorporate foods that are anti-inflammatory and do not pose any risk for aggravating arthritis.

See: Natural Ayurvedic Treatment for Arthritis

References

1. Intake of high-fructose corn syrup sweetened soft drinks, fruit drinks and apple juice is associated with prevalent arthritis in US adults, aged 20-30 years.

2. Sekar, S., Crawford, R., Xiao, Y., & Prasadam, I. (2016). Dietary Fats and Osteoarthritis: Insights, Evidences, and New Horizons. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 118(3), 453–463. DOI:10.1002/jcb.25758 

3. Ranjan Kc, Robin Voigt, Michael B Ellman, Xin Li, Keith C. Summa, Christopher B Forsyth, Ali Keshavarzian, Fred W. Turek, Jae-Sung Kim, Hee-Jeong Im. (2015).Chronic Alcohol Consumption Induces Osteoarthritis-Like Pathological Changes in an Experimental Mouse Model. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015 Jun; 67(6): 1678–1680. DOI: 10.1002/art.39090

4. Di Giuseppe, Daniela & Alfredsson, Lars & Bottai, Matteo & Askling, Johan & Wolk, Alicja. (2012). Long term alcohol intake and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women: A population-based cohort study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 345. e4230. 10.1136/bmj.e4230. 


See: Functional Medicine Helps Heal a Woman from Autoimmune Arthritis

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