Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis which affects millions of people around the globe. It is a painful condition accompanied by inflammation and joint pain in the hands, neck, lower back, knees or hips. It occurs when the joint cartilage and bone underlying it degenerates and breaks away. While there is no strict diet that patients with osteoarthritis need to follow, there are specific food items that can trigger pain and inflammation. If you or any of your loved ones suffer from osteoarthritis, then you should go through this list to learn about the different food items that must be avoided.
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- Excessive Sugar
Too much of sugar especially processed sugar in the diet should be strictly avoided by osteoarthritic patients. According to the Glyco-Evasion Hypothesis, processed sugar can increase inflammation and further damage the already weakened joints. Food items like store bought cakes, cookies and other confectionery goods are a strict no-no. If you’re craving for sweets, then substitute processed food for natural sugar like organic honey or maple syrup.
- Excessive Salt
Salt contains sodium, and while you need sodium for healthy functioning, too much of it can be very harmful. It is because an excessive sodium intake causes bloating meaning your cells retain water. The swelling that occurs, as a result, causes further damage to your joints. That is why you should cut back on your salt intake if you’re suffering from osteoarthritis. Instead, try to flavour your food with other spices, peppers and lemon extract etc.
- Fried Food Items
If you’re a lover of fried food, then we have terrible news for you. Those suffering from osteoarthritis must stay away from saturated fats at all cost. Studies conducted by The Arthritis Foundation and Mount Sinai School of Medicine show that a rise in cholesterol can cause inflammation and cause a lot of pain in patients. This is why they must stay away from French fries, nuggets, donuts etc. For regular cooking purposes, it is better to cook your food in light amounts of avocado or olive oil. Try to substitute the fried food items in your diet with baked food. Instead of frozen food, cook fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Meat and Eggs
Meat and Eggs should be consumed by osteoarthritic patients very carefully. This is because they are high in not only saturated fats but also omega-6 fatty acids. High consumption of this is known to worsen inflammation in joints and arthritic pain. This is why they should refrain from eating red meats and eggs. The omega-6 fatty acids in eggs are contained only in its yolks, so eating the whites are perfectly safe. Get your proteins and essential omega-3 fatty acids from food like almonds, legumes, salmon and tuna, low-fat dairy products and lean meat.
- White Flour
Refined carbohydrates also go high on the list of things to avoid. This includes high glycemic food items like white flour which are high in calories but low on nutrients. Refined wheat products like pasta, cereals, white bread etc. can cause inflammation and bring a lot of pain to patients with osteoarthritis. The same goes for whole grains which contain gluten or yeast additives. Check the ingredient list on products to stay away from corn syrup, cane sugar and brown rice syrup as well.
- Dairy Products
Recent studies show that consumption of dairy products can cause increased joint pain in some osteoarthritic patients. This might be because the kind of protein contained in dairy products could be an irritant to the tissues present around the joints. Abstaining from animal milk is known to have produced an improvement in the condition of such patients. But they would also need to substitute their protein intake with vegetables like tofu, spinach, lentils, beans, nut butter and quinoa. Instead of animal milk, flax milk or almond milk can be consumed.
- Trans Fats
Trans fats are obtained by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a specific process. This not only causes cholesterol but also causes inflammation especially in those suffering from conditions like osteoarthritis. Trans fats are present in frozen food, canned food, margarine and snacks like chips and crackers.
- Alcohol and Tobacco
While alcohol and tobacco consumption can be unhealthy for anybody, they are especially bad for osteoarthritic patients. Commercial alcohol products especially beer is high in a substance called purine that can exacerbate joint pain. Alcohol can also decrease the effectiveness of arthritis medication. Smokers have a higher chance of getting arthritis than non-smokers.