According to the US NIH, arthritis is a common chronic disease involving inflammation of joints, affecting the muscles, bones and other parts, depending on its type. It mainly affects people older than 50 years of age, but a person can be diagnosed with arthritis at any age.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis but two main ones include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is more common and does not cause inflammation. According to the NIH, 40 percent of men and 47 percent of women suffer from osteoarthritis.
Research shows that dietary changes can help you manage arthritis symptoms and reduce inflammation. Here are seven foods that you can avoid to reduce the severity of the disease.
Red And Processed Meat
Research shows a link between processed and red meat as they increase the problem of inflammation which is the main cause of arthritis. According to the US NIH, diet that contains red meat and processed foods have high inflammatory markers like Interleukin-6 (IL-6), homocysteine and C-reactive protein (CRP).
Studies suggest that red meat can worsen the condition of inflammatory arthritis. Another study involving 217 people with Rheumatoid Arthritis found that red meat worsens the symptoms of RA as well. You can replace processed and red meat with plant-based diet.
A balanced and healthy diet has less sugar, and it isn't good for those with arthritis as well. Added sugars can be found in foods like ice-cream, candies, jellies, pastries or even sauces.
A study by US NIH including 217 people showed that among 20 foods sugar-added soda and desserts were not beneficial for health and worsened the symptoms of arthritis. It was also found that people who consume fructose sweetened drinks regularly have higher risk of suffering from arthritis than the ones with lower fructose consumption.
Processed foods are harmful for health in general but fast food, breakfast cereals and baked cakes and cookies are filled with processed grains, preservatives and added sugars. The ingredients in processed foods worsen the symptoms of arthritis.
According to PubMed Central, processed foods not only increase the problem of inflammation but also contribute to arthritis and obesity. They also increase the risk of heart diseases.
It is advisable for you to cut down on salt if you suffer from arthritis. High-salt foods include pizzas, canned soups, instant noodles, few cheese and other processed foods.
According to the NIH, people with high sodium intake have increased risk of inflammatory arthritis. Studies have shown that low salt diet reduces inflammation and lowers the severity of arthritis.
Gluten is a form of protein found in foods like wheat, barley and rye. Studies have found that gluten-free foods reduced the problems related to arthritis.
Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease that is caused by the protein gluten in foods that triggers the problem of inflammation. According to the US NIH, people with celiac disease have higher risk of Rheumatoid arthritis and people with RA have chances of suffering from celiac disease.
Studies prove that a gluten-free and vegan diet reduces the problems of inflammation but more studies and research are needed to show the association between gluten and arthritis.
Alcohol is responsible for worsening any inflammatory arthritis and that is why it is advisable to lower the alcohol intake or avoid it. According to the NIH, the alcohol intake is associated with increased spinal structural damage in the inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects the spinal cord and sacroiliac joints.
A study found a link between the chronic alcohol consumption and osteoarthritis. There's also enough evidence by the NIH studies that alcohol increases the frequency and severity of gout attacks.
Foods with High AGEs
Advanced glycation end products are the molecules that are the result of reactions between sugars and nutrients like proteins or fats. According to the US NIH, it may be found due to certain cooking styles and in uncooked meat foods.
Meats with high protein or fats when cooked by grilling, baking, deep-frying or roasting contain the high levels of AGEs. Foods with high AGEs include pan-fried meat, roasted chicken, broiled hot dogs, bacons, American cheese and mayonnaise.
High levels of AGEs lead to oxidative stress and inflammation causing arthritis. You can replace the high AGEs foods with fish, vegetables, fruits and legumes.