The best and worst foods for arthritis patients


June 20, 2016

Topic: The best and worst foods for arthritis patients

The best and worst foods for arthritis patients.

Arthritis is a common and pernicious problem, more common in the elderly, although it can occur at any age. The condition is characterized by an inflammation of the joints, Healthline explained. It's also important to note that there are many different forms of arthritis - over 100 in total - with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the most common. 

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
Osteoarthritis is caused primarily by a natural breakdown in the cartilage around the joints. The cartilage acts as a natural cushion, absorbing the impact of movement. When the cartilage tissue breaks down, pressure and friction within a joint increases, leading to symptoms such as stiffness, pain and swelling, Healthline detailed. 

"There are over 100 forms of arthritis."

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is different, although the symptoms are similar. The condition is engendered when the immune system attacks healthy tissue in the body. Physicians are still uncertain what leads the immune system to do this, but, according to Healthline, recent studies have indicated that genetics could play a role. 

Diet is key
Treatment for arthritis varies between patients, but will typically involve pain-relief medications. In addition to medical treatment, arthritis patients are advised to maintain a healthy diet, packed with the right kinds of foods. That's because, when it comes to arthritis, there are foods that can help ease symptoms and foods that can exacerbate the problem. The key to arthritis pain management is to know which foods to embrace, and which to avoid. Check out the list below:

Best

1. Fish
Fish is incredibly rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can actually help reduce inflammation. For that reason, according to the Arthritis Foundation, physicians recommend that arthritis patients consume at least 3 ounces of fish each week.

2. Leafy greens
Not only are dark green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, packed with vital nutrients and vitamins needed to maintain a healthy diet, they're also rich with anti-inflammatory power. According to Health.com, studies have indicated that vitamin E can help fight certain molecules that lead to inflammation.

3. Soy
Soy contains compounds called isoflavones, which some studies suggested can help curtail inflammation, particularly in women, Health.com reported. Good sources of soy include soy milk and tofu.

4. Cherries
This unassuming berry is a true super food. They are filled with anthocyanins, which have been shown to help fight the effects of inflammation, The Arthritis Foundation explained. They are also filled with other vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy life.

5. Citrus fruit
Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are loaded with vitamin C and ideal for reducing inflammation. Orthopaedic research has even shown that high amounts of vitamin C can help keep joints healthy, slashing the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the first place.

6. Beets
Another super food, beets contain high levels of antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C. In addition to helping reduce inflammation, beets can also help safeguard against the development of chronic conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease, Health.com stated.

7. Whole grains
Whole grains are not only packed with vital nutrients, they can also help reduce levels of the C-reactive protein, The Arthritis Foundation detailed. The protein is responsible for inflammation, particularly the kind engendered by rheumatoid arthritis.

A diet rich in fish can help reduce inflammation. A diet rich in fish can help reduce inflammation.

Worst

1. Sugar
Sugar can actually increase the production of inflammation inducing cytokines, The Arthritis Foundation explained. Consequently, excessive amounts of sugar can worsen symptoms of arthritis. Be sure to minimize intake of foods and drinks that are heavy in sugar, such as soda, certain alcohols, chocolate and candy.

2. Saturated fat
Arthritis patients should try to avoid anything with high levels of saturated fat, The Arthritis Foundation asserted. This is because saturated fat can inspire inflammation in certain fatty tissues around the body, which in turn can worsen arthritis symptoms. And, of course, that's not to mention that saturated fats are bad for heart health. Foods that are rich in saturated fats include burgers, pizzas, chips, cheese, pie - basically anything fried or made from butter.

3. Dairy
According to Healthline, many arthritis patients report increased discomfort from symptoms after consuming dairy products. Orthopaedic research has indicated that this could be down to a certain protein that dairy products carry. Subsequently, arthritis patients are advised to cut out or limit dairy intake. This means avoiding products such as cheese, milk and eggs. 

4. Alcohol 
This should be a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. Excessive alcohol consumption is bad for your health in general, so it goes without saying that it's bad for managing arthritis pain too. Healthline also noted that heavy drinkers are at a heightened risk of developing gout. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, gout is one of the most chronic and painful forms of arthritis. The inflammation and pain is caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints.

5. Gluten
A number of people report gluten allergies, and studies have shown that an allergy to gluten can actually exacerbate inflammation elsewhere, The Arthritis Foundation reported. Gluten is found in a whole host of products containing wheat and rye, including bread and pasta. Arthritis patients should err on the side of caution and opt for gluten-free products when possible. 

6. Corn oil
Corn oils contain omega-6 fatty acids, which have been shown to contribute to and worsen inflammation, Healthline detailed. Given that most unhealthy snacks are made from corn oil, it's best to check the label first and opt for snacks that are corn oil free.

7. Salt
Processed and fast foods contain extremely high levels of salt. Not only is this bad for general health, but it has also been found that large amounts of salt can worsen arthritis pain, Healthline noted.


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