Some foods and drinks may increase the risk of arthritis or make symptoms worse, for instance, highly processed foods and sweetened drinks.
If you have arthritis, making the right dietary choices can not only help manage your symptoms but also reduce the risk of complications, help boost your overall well-being, and improve your quality of life.
What you choose to eat and drink with arthritis may affect your symptoms and overall well-being. Here, learn about some foods and beverages to avoid if you have arthritis.
1. Added sugars
Everyone can benefit from limiting their sugar intake, and especially if they have arthritis. Added sugars are found in candy, soda, ice cream, and numerous other foods, including barbecue sauce, salad dressings, and ketchup.
2. Processed and red meats
For example, people who eat a lot of processed and red meats may have
More research is needed.
3. Gluten-containing foods
Gluten is a group of proteins in wheat, barley, rye, and other cereals. Some
However, more research is needed to confirm whether a gluten-free diet will benefit people with arthritis.
4. Highly processed foods
Ultra-processed items — such as fast food, breakfast cereal, and baked goods — tend to be high in refined grains, added sugar, preservatives, fructose, and other potentially inflammatory ingredients, all of which may worsen arthritis symptoms.
What’s more, in
As such, processed foods may worsen your overall health and increase your risk of other diseases.
6. Certain vegetable oils
These fats are necessary for health, but an imbalance may increase the risk of inflammation.
Ensuring a balance between these types of oils may improve arthritis symptoms.
Tip: Use olive oil as an example of an oil that is low in omega-6 FA, while increasing fatty fish intake to help optimize omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
7. Foods high in salt
Cutting back on salt may be good for people with arthritis.
Foods high in salt include shrimp, canned soup, pizza, certain cheeses, processed meats, and numerous other processed items.
8. Foods high in AGEs
Dietary advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are molecules
- high protein, high fat animal foods that are fried, roasted, grilled, seared, or broiled, such as:
- pan-fried or grilled steak
- roasted or fried chicken
- broiled hot dogs
- American cheese
When AGEs accumulate in high amounts in your body, oxidative stress and inflammation
People with inflammatory arthritis — such as RA — may have higher levels of AGEs in their bodies than those without. AGE accumulation in bones and joints may
1. Red wine and other alcohol
More research is needed to confirm the role that alcohol plays in arthritis, but scientists don’t recommend drinking alcohol as a way to prevent arthritis or manage its symptoms.
- Drinking alcohol once a week or more may
increase the riskof OA.
- Alcohol consumption
increases levelsof uric acid in the body, which can contribute to gout.
2019 studysuggested that alcohol intake may increase spinal structural damage in people with axial spondyloarthritis. Researchfrom 2021 found a link between developing alcohol consumption and RA in females, although not in males.
In brief, it’s best to limit your alcohol consumption as it may worsen arthritis symptoms.
2. Sugar-sweetened drinks
Sugary beverages, like sodas, may significantly increase your risk of arthritis.
In a study in 1,209 adults ages 20–30, those who drank fructose-sweetened beverages five times per week or more were
Drinks containing fructose may also lead to
Sodas and other sweetened drinks contain sugar, aspartame, and phosphoric acid, which can also affect the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which is necessary for bone health.
According to the Arthritis Foundation (AF), it’s not clear whether coffee is good for people with arthritis or not. On the one hand, it contains antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation. On the other hand, people should be mindful of the caffeine content.
If you like a cup of coffee, it’s best to:
- consume no more than 1–2 cups per day
- avoid drinking coffee too soon before bedtime
- avoid adding too much sugar, syrup, or cream to coffee
Choose low or zero-fat dairy products to lower the risk of weight gain and unhealthy fats.
What foods make arthritis worse?
Foods that may make arthritis worse include highly processed foods, foods with added salt and sugars, foods high in advanced glycation end products (AGPs), such as bacon, and a diet with a high ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3s.
What foods are good for arthritis?
A balanced diet that provides a range of antioxidants and other nutrients is most likely beneficial for anyone with arthritis. This means a focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy oils, such as olive oil. Consider trying a Mediterranean Diet.
What fruits and vegetables are not good for arthritis?
Some people say that eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers seem to worsen arthritis pain and inflammation. These are all part of the nightshade family and contain solanine. However, there is no scientific evidence to confirm this, and these foods offer a range of essential nutrients.
Some experts say that citrus fruits, such as lemons, may not be helpful, but other evidence suggests the flavonoids in citrus fruits may be beneficial due to their anti-inflammatory properties. More research is needed.
What are the 10 most inflammatory foods?
Foods may cause inflammation if they contain the following ingredients:
- added sugar, including fructose
- artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame
- saturated fats, for instance, in cheese and pizzas
- omega-6 fatty acids, present in many vegetable oils and salad dressings
- refined carbohydrates, present in white flour products, fries, and many breakfast cereals
- monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer
- gluten (for some people), present in wheat, barley, and rye products
- casein (for some people), present in dairy products
- fried or grilled meats, as they contain AGPs
Can you eat chicken with arthritis?
The AF recommends chicken as a substitute for red meat. Boiled chicken is the best option, as roasted or fried chicken can be
If you have arthritis, a healthy diet and lifestyle may help improve your symptoms.
Research suggests avoiding certain foods and beverages, including highly processed foods, red meat, fried foods, alcohol, and anything with added sugars.
Keep in mind that lifestyle factors like your activity level, body weight, and smoking status are also vital to managing arthritis.
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