Eating for Your Arthritis: What You Should Know

Jan 02, 2020

When you struggle with arthritis joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness, you may wonder what you can possibly do to improve the situation. While most treatment plans focus on medical treatments for the condition including medications and physical therapy, there are also other factors to keep in mind.

One such factor is your diet. There are ways that you can eat that can help to improve your arthritis experience, and there are dietary choices that can worsen your symptoms. Get to know some of the dietary steps to take and mistakes to avoid that can help you feel better with your arthritis.

Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

While you may love to eat dessert and sweets, doing so can be detrimental to your health in a variety of ways, including with your arthritis. Sugar is an ingredient that can cause extra inflammation in the body.

And because arthritis is an inflammatory disease, sugar can worsen the symptoms. Joints can become more inflamed leading to increased joint pain and stiffness.

Look into alternative sweets. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that may work for you. Splenda and other similar sugar-free sweeteners can also do in a pinch when you are craving something sweet but want to avoid the sugar-related complications.

Also, don’t forget to watch the sugar in the beverages you drink. Fruit juices, in particular, can sneak up on you. Many are chock full of sugar, both natural and added. Try to drink water or naturally flavored sugar-free sparkling water. And if you do drink fruit juice, do so in moderation and try no sugar added options.

Do Drink Green Tea

If you love getting a caffeine fix during the day or you simply love a good cup of tea, then you will be happy to know that green tea is a great option when you have arthritis. While other sources of caffeine like diet soda or coffee will not necessarily hurt your arthritis, green tea may actually help it.

Green tea has a type of chemical known as polyphenols. These chemicals are believed to anti-inflammatory properties. One specific polyphenol , known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate, is the strongest and can even help prevent joint and bone damage. It is significantly stronger than vitamins C and E in helping with some of the effects of arthritis and is often thought to be most beneficial with rheumatoid arthritis.

Don’t Go Overboard on the Fats

Fat is an essential part of any diet. But as with anything, moderation and balance are key. The types of fats to limit and/or avoid altogether are saturated and trans fats. Avoid trans fats entirely if you can help it. These fats have very little nutritional value and cause the most trouble with health.

Trans fats are found primarily in processed foods. They occur naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products. Check the label of any prepackaged or processed foods you buy including chips, crackers, premade meals, and even processed meats like hotdogs or brats. If they have a decent amount of trans fats, look for an alternative option.

You do not need to cut out saturated fats from your diet in totality but limiting them as much as possible is a good idea. Saturated fats can increase cholesterol, LDL cholesterol specifically. This is a bad cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease. And because arthritis already increases your risk of heart disease, this is a double whammy.

Keep red meat, cheese, and butter to a minimum and watch those processed foods again. If you do this, you will be fine as far as the saturated fat issue goes with your diet.

Knowing these diet facts to help you with your arthritis, you can begin adjusting your daily diet to better serve you and your health needs. But you shouldn’t change your entire diet alone. Contact a specialist in arthritis treatment and care to help you set up a plan that works best for you.

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