Arthritis: What Are The Good And Bad Foods?
When considering what foods are good and bad for arthritis, both rheumatoid (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA), a great place to start it to address those that either create or reduce inflammation in the body.
By reducing the overall level of inflammation arthritic conditions can be improved.
There are three relevant facts to remember:
1. Anti-inflammatory diets are not a one-size-fits-all solution. We are all unique in our make up so what works for one will not work for another, so it will take some trial and error to find what works for each individual.
2. When seeking natural ways to improve your condition, it is not a quick, short-term fix; it is a lifestyle change that will need to be maintained long term if you wish to continue to experience the benefits.
3. Diet is only a part of the process, and many also find that moderate exercise will increase the positive effect of diet on arthritis pain.
Toxins in food
It is well known that pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers are harmful to us. They interfere with our gut health, and in turn affect our immune system and overall well-being.
Also, foods that are heated, grilled, fried, or pasteurised will contain toxins called “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs).
These toxins damage specific proteins in the body. To address these AGEs, the body recruits cytokines which are in themselves, inflammatory messengers.
High amounts of sugar in the form of processed grains (white flour, white rice, many breakfast cereals), candies, soda etc. will also increase the number of AGEs in the body. If you like sweet snacks try to use natural, fibre rich fruits such as dates and figs.
Oils, the good and the bad
This is found in corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, and soy oils, and is healthy in small amounts. However, excessive consumption is detrimental as it is converted into pro-inflammatory leukotrienes and prostaglandins.
It is essential to be aware that many baked goods, commercial snacks and foods contain corn oil and other sources high in omega 6.
Omega 3 has been shown by many studies to be beneficial in reducing inflammation in manysome ways. It inhibits the production of other inflammatory molecules and also triggers the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals.
In particular, olive oil contains oleocanthal, which has properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs.
Omega 3 can be found in fish, flax, hemp, chia.
Trans fats are altered by the addition of a hydrogen molecule to increase stability and shelf life.
They are believed to impact inflammation, heart disease, and cause other health problems.
The dangers are becoming better known, and they have been removed from many products but can still be found in some baked goods, fast-food items, processed snack foods, and many kinds of margarine.
Free radicals will cause oxidative stress in our bodies when their number exceeds our ability to process them.
Creation of these radicals is a normal part of metabolism, but production is increased by some activities such as smoking and consuming certain foods including alcohol, fats that have been heated to high temperature (including fat in meats) and chlorinated water (let your tap water stand for a while before drinking).
High oxidative stress is linked with arthritic conditions, both RA and OA.
The good news is that there are various antioxidants found in foods, these include those below (just a note that chocolate should always be at least 75% cocoa):
- Allium sulphur compounds: Leeks, onions, garlic
- Anthocyanins: Red and purple fruits – Eggplant, grapes, berries
- Beta-carotene: Pumpkin, butternut squash, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach, parsley, cantaloupe, sweet potato, carrots, kale,
- Catechins: Tea, dark chocolate
- Copper: Seafood, lean meat, nuts, legumes
- Cryptoxanthins: Red peppers, pumpkin, mangoes, papaya
- Flavonoids: Tea, green tea, dark chocolate, onion, apples
- Indoles: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
- Lignins: Sesame seeds, bran, whole grains, vegetables
- Lutein: Leafy greens – includes spinach, kale, chard
- Lycopene: Watermelon
- Manganese: Seafood, lean meat, nuts
- Polyphenols: Thyme, oregano
- Selenium: Seafood, offal, lean meat, whole grains
- Vitamin C: Berries, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers
- Vitamin E: Cold pressed vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, seeds, whole grains
- Zinc: Seafood, lean meat, nuts
- Zoochemicals: Red meat, offal, fish
An anti-inflammatory diet cuts down or eliminates foods suspected of causing oxidative stress and encourages the consumption of foods rich in antioxidants.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Now I would like to hear from you.
Do you have Osteoarthritis?
What have you tried to help their symptoms?
Let us know in the comments below.