For those suffering from arthritis, diet can play a large part in how inflamed and painful the joints become.
A balanced diet promotes overall health, a healthy weight and reduced risk for disease and inflammation. We need food to live, but it has to be healthy food that is good for the body and less junk or fast food.
What is a proper diet
A balanced diet is one with a wide range of foods that provide the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that the body needs to function properly. It also provides for good fat like Omega 3 fatty acids.
A variety of whole foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruits that are eaten raw, or steamed vegetables for sides are a good start on a healthy diet. The key is to eat plenty of different fruits, vegetables, nuts, poultry, meat, and fish.
Meat, poultry, and fish can help provide protein to your diet to help the body build and repair muscles and connective tissues.
The Mediterranean diet is good for the heart as it replaces salt with herbs and spices, replaces butter with healthy fats such as olive oil (extra virgin preferably), and eating largely plant-based foods, like whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. This is also a good diet for diabetes since there are good carbs and natural sugars. You can also reduce your LDL cholesterol and your risk for high blood pressure or heart disease.
Your diet should consist of carbs, protein, and fats. If you need to lose weight or you just wish to maintain your weight, but aren’t sure the percentages of each, you should ask a dietician or your doctor. They will be able to give you some guidelines for you to use that will help promote a healthy balance needed to fuel your body, repair and build muscle, and protect your body’s systems such as the immune, pulmonary, and brain.
The five worst foods for arthritis
There are plenty of good foods that can be eaten which will not upset your inflammation. The five worst foods for arthritis that can cause your inflammation and pain to flare up are
Fried and processed foods
A study done by researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that reducing the eating of processed and fried foods, can reduce inflammation and can help restore the body’s natural defenses regardless of age or health status. The processed and fried foods are high in toxins called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), which can irritate inflammation which causes stiffness and pain.
Processed foods also can contain a great deal of salt and or preservatives. In some people, excess salt can lead to inflammation and pain of the joints. Salt can also make you retain fluid and raise your blood pressure.
Sugars and refined carbohydrates
Eating a diet that is high in sugars and refined carbs can cause inflammation. By reducing your intake of candies, processed foods, products baked with white flour, and sodas, you can reduce your arthritis pain. Some people have found that milk can also irritate their inflammation while others have no problem with dairy. Do be cautious of foods labeled diet or lower sugar as they often contain sugar substitutes like aspartame. While not sugar, aspartame can cause issues including inflammation.
Keeping a journal of what you eat and the number of servings could be a real eye-opener as to how much sugars and refined carbs you are actually eating in a day, week, or even a month.
MSG (mono-sodium glutamate) is a flavor additive found in prepared Asian dishes and sauces like soy sauce or stir fry sauce. It is also used in fast food, ready-made soups, and soup mixes, salad vinaigrettes and deli meats. MSG can activate two important conduits of chronic inflammation, and affect the health of your liver; the liver helps remove toxins from the body.
MSG can cause the pain and stiffness of joints to flare up and become worse. So the next time you eat prepared Asian foods and notice that your inflammation has flared up, the next day you do not have to think you’re being a hypochondriac, it is flared up from the MSG.
Gluten and Casein
Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Casein is found in dairy products. Those who have celiac disease have to avoid gluten as it causes an autoimmune reaction in the lower intestines and can also cause joint pain. Casein in dairy products is a type of protein and can cause irritation and inflammation to the tissue around the joints. If you find dairy products bother you, can try almond milk.
An artificial sweetener found in many products that are sugar-free such as diet sodas, sugar-free candy, and others. It may cause the immune system to attack the chemical and cause an inflammatory response making your joints stiff and painful.
It’s worth noting about aspartame that studies on its effects are mixed and the impact on people with autoimmune disease are unknown, even though it is FDA approved.
One other thing to remove from your diet and lifestyle, if you have joint inflammation and pain, is alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol can trigger gout and tobacco can lead to rheumatoid arthritis, it is best to leave these alone as they can also lead to other health issues such as cancer and cirrhosis of the liver.
Inflammation can flare up with certain foods and products. To understand if your inflammation flares with foods, keep a journal of what you are eating and the number of servings. The next day, make a note if your stiffness and pain levels are worse.
If you track your food and drinks for a week or two, you will have a better understanding of when the inflammation and pain are worse after what foods or products you have consumed. Try to avoid those foods for a month and note any improvement with the inflammation and pain.
Eating a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, leaving alcohol and tobacco products alone, and exercise will help reduce inflammation and pain, and make you healthier overall. Joint pain supplements, such as nutmeg essential oil, can also help relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis along with the diet and exercise. One such essential oil for arthritis Nutmeg essential oil is found in Meg Relief. Following a regimen of diet, exercise, and essential oils can help you live a more active life with less pain that costs less than the use of prescription opioids and anti-inflammatory medications which can cause health problems and even death from an overdose of opioids.