Certain Foods May Aggravate Arthritis Symptoms

Mar 03, 2011
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Did you know that some foods could aggravate arthritis symptoms. According to research through the American Dietetic Association, some foods may actually cause arthritis symptoms to occur in some individuals. Some foods are pro-inflammatory – meaning they can cause inflammation in the body, such arthritis.

Foods that are pro-inflammatory and the connection that it may aggravate arthritis symptoms is still a new area, and further research needs to done on the topic. Also, it’s based on a case by case. Every individual is different – our body’s chemistry can react to foods differently than someone else eating the same food.

Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, recommends that since it’s based on the individual, a food journal would be a good start. Keeping track of what you eat and figuring out whether a certain food does in fact rigger symptoms could be very beneficial to people who have arthritis, and those who want manage it be better.  Sandon recommends keeping track for a period of three to four weeks to determine any patterns.

Below are some foods that may affect your Arthritis symptoms. In addition to these suspect foods, the following lifestyle factors can exacerbate arthritis:

Saturated fats
There is some evidence that diets high in saturated fats — particularly a type called arachidonic acid — can increase inflammation in the body, says Sandon. Foods that are rich in arachidonic acid include animal proteins such as red meat, poultry, pork, egg yolks, shellfish and full-fat dairy products.

Nightshade vegetables
A common claim is that this group of vegetables — which includes potatoes, peppers and tomatoes, to name a few — may negatively impact symptoms. The information is primarily anecdotal, says Sandon, so the key is to track what you’re eating and drinking to see if these vegetables affect you.

Refined grains and carbohydrates
Diets high in refined grains, refined carbohydrates and added sugars are thought by some to produce more inflammation in the body, though research hasn’t confirmed this yet. “The general advice is to follow the current dietary guidelines put out by the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services and that is to make at least half of your grains whole grains,” says Sandon.

Arthritis sufferers also have about a two times greater risk of getting heart disease, says Sandon. “We know that simple sugars and saturated fat are not good for the heart and that whole grains are.”

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol — in particular beer — has been shown to increase the risk for gout, a form of arthritis. Alcohol can increase levels of uric acid in the body (an overload of uric acid is the main cause of gout).

Those with other forms of arthritis may or may not be affected by alcohol — it’s very individual, says Sandon. “Some say if they have a drink with dinner, they may be more achy and stiff the following morning.”

Author: Jenny Carlton

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