A Guide To Arthritis Do's and Don'ts
Jul 6, 2017
Often we deal with clients that have some form of arthritis and often I find them saying, "I think my arthritis has flared up for some reason." Or "My hands hurt so bad last night, it's just getting old, I suppose." DId you know your nutrition could be a big part of why your arthritis flares up? Below are a couple Do's and Don'ts when planning your nutrition:
Food You Should Be Eating:
- Fish: Because certain types of fish are packed with inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, experts recommend at least 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week. Omega-3-rich fish include salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring. Great for: rheumatoid arthritis
- Soy: Are also low in fat, high in protein and fiber and an all-around good-for-you food.
Great for: rheumatoid arthritis
- Oils: Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats, as well as oleocanthal, which has properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. But it’s not the only oil with health benefits. Avocado and safflower oils have shown cholesterol-lowering properties, while walnut oil has 10 times the omega-3s that olive oil has.
Great for: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis
- Cherries: Research has shown that the anthocyanins found in cherries have an anti-inflammatory effect. Anthocyanins can also be found in other red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
- Broccoli: Rich in vitamins K and C, broccoli also contains a compound called sulforaphane, which researchers have found could help prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis (OA). Broccoli is also rich in calcium, which is known for its bone-building benefits. Great for: osteoarthritis
- Green Tea: is packed with polyphenols, antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. Studies also show that another antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Great for: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
- Citrus Fruits: like oranges, grapefruits and limes – are rich in vitamin C. Research shows that getting the right amount of vitamin aids in preventing inflammatory arthritis and maintaining healthy joints with osteoarthritis (OA). Great for: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis
- Whole Grains: lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. CRP is a marker of inflammation associated with heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Foods like oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereals are excellent sources of whole grains.
Great for: rheumatoid arthritis
- Beans: are packed with fiber, a nutrient that helps lower CRP. Beans are also an excellent – and inexpensive – source of protein, which is important for muscle health. Some beans are rich in folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium, all known for their heart and immune system benefits. Look for red beans, kidney beans and pinto beans. Great for: rheumatoid arthritis
- Garlic: Studies have shown that people who regularly ate foods from the allium family – such as garlic, onions and leeks – showed fewer signs of early osteoarthritis (OA). Researchers believe the compound diallyl disulphine found in garlic may limit cartilage-damaging enzymes in human cells. Great for: osteoarthritis
Foods You Should Try To Avoid:
- Sugar: triggers release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.
- Saturated Fats: trigger adipose or fat tissue inflammation. It worsens arthritis inflammation. Avoid red meat and cheeses.
- Trans Fats: Known to trigger systemic inflammation. Avoid processed snack foods, fast foods, frozen breakfast products, cookies, donuts, crackers, and most stick margarines.
- Omega 6 fatty acids: Omega 6 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid that the body needs for normal growth and development. The body needs a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Excess consumption of omega-6s can trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals. These fatty acids are found in oils such corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable; mayonnaise; and many salad dressings.
- Refined Carbohydrates: White flour products (breads, rolls, crackers) white rice, white potatoes (instant mashed potatoes, or french fries) and many cereals are refined carbohydrates. These high-glycemic index foods fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products that stimulate inflammation.
- MSG: Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor-enhancing food additive most commonly found in prepared Asian food and soy sauce, but it can also be added to fast foods, prepared soups and soup mixes, salad dressings and deli meats. This chemical can trigger two important pathways of chronic inflammation, and affect liver health.
- Gluten & Casein: Common allergens like gluten and casein (proteins found in dairy and wheat) may also promote inflammation. For individuals living with arthritis who also have celiac disease (gluten allergy) and dairy intolerance, the inflammatory effect can be even worse. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and any foods made with these grains. Casein is found in whey protein products.
- Aspartame: Is a non-nutritive, intense artificial sweetener found in more than 4,000 products worldwide. It is a neurotoxin, which means it affects the brain. If you are sensitive to this chemical, your immune system will react to the “foreign substance” by attacking the chemical, which in return, will trigger an inflammatory response.
- Alcohol: Is a burden to the liver. Excessive use weakens liver function and disrupts other multi-organ interactions and can cause inflammation. It is best eliminated or used in moderation.