Not all healthy foods are created equal, with some known to trigger arthritis symptoms.
Essentially, arthritis is a general term that refers to more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions, explains Brendan Howell, director of Arborvitae Health and Wellbeing. More commonly known as joint inflammation, arthritis causes pain, swelling and stiffness throughout the body and the symptoms worsen with age.
As a result, arthritis sufferers experience a reduced range of movement that affects their ability to perform everyday tasks.
Mr Howell says certain foods, such as fried food, alcohol, sugar and processed meat, are known to inflame the symptoms of arthritis, but there are also some healthy foods that people with arthritis should avoid eating. This is his guide.
Tomatoes may be a good source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K and folate, but they also form part of the nightshade family of fruits and vegetables. Nightshade foods contain solanine, a chemical that many people believe triggers arthritis pain. The family of plants includes tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes and peppers.
Tomatoes are known to raise levels of uric acid in the body and elevated uric acid can trigger gout, which is a form of arthritis that affects the joints of the toes, wrists, fingers, knees and elbows.
Pasta forms part of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered one of the healthiest in the world. Pasta is low in sodium, cholesterol free and also a good source of several nutrients including iron and B-vitamins.
Unfortunately products like pasta, bread and crackers can trigger arthritis symptoms, especially if you have rheumatoid arthritis. Wheat contains gluten, which is a protein that can irritate inflamed joints. Opt for other substitutes such as polenta, quinoa or brown rice. They are all free of gluten, rich in fibre and taste great.
Cheese is full of goodness and is a great source of calcium, fat and protein as well as vitamins A, B-12, zinc, phosphorous and riboflavin. Calcium is a key nutrient for healthy bones and teeth, wound healing, blood clotting and maintaining normal blood pressure.
Unfortunately, cheese is high in both saturated fats and advanced glycation end products that are significant inflammation triggers and should be eaten sparingly.
The best way to approach your diet when living with arthritis is to remove foods from your diet that may trigger arthritis symptoms.
Find substitutes and add the other foods back in slowly in a staged way so you can gauge the impact on your body.
Mr Howell says arthritis affects people in many ways. The key is to ensure you are aware of the foods you eat and their potential impact on your health so you can fill your diet with foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory in nature.
“In addition to food, finding the right supplement to aid in the management of arthritis is important also. Follow the management plan provided by your doctor and only include supplements in your diet that are listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG),” he emphasises.
Do you suffer from arthritis? Have you found that certain foods are best avoided? Are there any others you would add to this list? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?
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