Pain, swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the joints – these are the characteristics of inflammatory arthritis, a group of diseases characterized by joint and tissue inflammation.
Arthritis is a painful and unfortunately very common orthopedic condition. Millions of Americans suffer the swollen joints and stiffness that comes with arthritis, and for many, it comes as an unavoidable consequence of aging. With continuing research on arthritis, there are conflicting reports on the influence of diet on joint health. Can certain foods trigger the symptoms of arthritis? Ultimately, food does have some influence on inflammation in the body.
All types of arthritis involve swelling and inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type, where cartilage within the joint wears down over time, and bones rub together where the cushioning provided by cartilage is reduced or absent. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a less common form of arthritis and is quite difficult to treat. RA is an autoimmune condition where the lining of the joints is attacked by the patient’s immune system. Inflammation and swelling may be present throughout the body. While over-the-counter and prescription medicine is often the first choice for arthritis treatment, there are many foods to watch out for, as they can increase inflammation in the body.
Although the cause of RA is unclear, it can arise in the body following a prolonged period of inflammation. Some foods cause or contribute to inflammation in the body. Avoiding them will improve your health in general, as other conditions such as heart disease and cancer have also been linked to a diet made up of these foods.
Some foods that cause inflammation in the body:
- Red meat
- White rice
- White flour and other refined carbs
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
Other foods are anti-inflammatory. Eating a diet that consists primarily of these foods may promote joint health, as well as good overall health.
4. Green and yellow vegetables
5. Beans and lentils
Any food high in Omega 3s and antioxidants can help reduce inflammation in the body. There is conflicting information on dairy products and vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplant. If you have a concern about your body’s reaction to a particular food, the best thing you can do is eliminate it from your diet for several weeks to see if there is any change. Then, reintroduce that food to see if there is a negative effect.