Arthritis is an umbrella term for a number of diseases that cause swelling, stiffness or pain in the joints. It’s often characterized by joint inflammation and reduced mobility.
The most common types are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and gout. The condition can affect any joint but it typically affects the hands, knees, hips and spine.
There is no cure for arthritis but there are treatments that can help manage symptoms. One approach is to identify and avoid foods and beverages that trigger or worsen joint inflammation.
1. Added sugars
Added sugars can contribute to inflammation and lead to weight gain, both of which are bad for your health and your bones. Excess weight puts stress on joints, which can make arthritis worse. Added sugars are also known to increase the risk of other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Sources of added sugar in your daily food can include regular soft drinks, candy, cake, ice cream and other desserts, as well as sweetened breakfast cereals, yogurt, and sauces.
2. Refined carbs
Like added sugars, refined carbs can also contribute to weight gain and inflammation. These are foods that have been stripped of their natural fiber, including white bread, pastries, cakes and most processed snack foods.
Drinking alcohol in excess can damage the joints and worsen the symptoms of arthritis. It can also interact with some arthritis medications, making them less effective. If you drink alcohol, it’s best to limit yourself to no more than two drinks per day.
4. Fried foods
Fried foods are high in unhealthy fats that can contribute to inflammation. They’re also often loaded with salt, which can exacerbate joint pain. If you have arthritis, it’s best to avoid or limit fried foods as much as possible.
5. Processed meats
Processed meats are those that have been preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with the addition of chemical preservatives. They include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham and some deli meats. These meats are often high in salt, fat and additives, all of which can contribute to inflammation.
6. Nightshade vegetables
Nightshade vegetables include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants. They’re a common trigger of arthritis symptoms, likely due to their Solanine content. This is a compound that can cause inflammation in some people.
If you have arthritis, it’s best to avoid or limit nightshade vegetables in your diet.
7. Foods high in AGEs
AGEs are compounds that form when foods are cooked at high temperatures, such as grilling, frying or roasting. They’re also found in processed and packaged foods.
AGEs can contribute to inflammation, so it’s best to limit them if you have arthritis. This means avoiding processed meats, fast food, and certain cooking methods, such as grilling or frying.
8. Food High in Salt
Salt is a common ingredient in processed and packaged foods. It’s also added to many restaurant dishes. Too much salt can lead to water retention, which can worsen joint swelling and pain. If you have arthritis, it’s best to limit your intake of salt to no more than 2,000 milligrams per day.
How can I tell I have Arthritis?
There are a number of ways to tell if you have arthritis. The most common symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling
- Joint stiffness
- Joint redness
- Joint warmth
- Limited range of motion
These symptoms can vary in severity and may come and go. They may be worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor so they can diagnose and treat your condition.
You can visit a doctor or a rheumatologist, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions.