Foods That Trigger Arthritis

Omega-3 Foods on Wood BackgroundPain, swelling, warmth and tenderness in the joints – these are the characteristics of inflammatory arthritis, a group of diseases characterized by joint and tissue inflammation.

Morning stiffness that lasts more than an hour is another sign of this set of diseases, and while treatment can be tailored to the specific disease and individual symptoms, patients are unique and each may take different forms of therapy to find relief.

Medications, acupuncture, massage therapy and aromatherapy help many people to combat the symptoms, but research shows the root of some arthritis issues lies with some specific foods. If you suffer from this painful malady, you can avoid some of those that make flare-ups more common and eat more of others that will lessen the burdens.

While there is no specific “arthritis diet” the following foods are known to inflame joints, and research suggests if you face inflammatory arthritis, avoid these altogether, or at least cut back on:

  • Fried and processed foods
  • Red meat, such as burgers and steaks
  • Processed meats like hot dogs, brats and other sausages
  • Unnatural sugars and refined carbohydrates like the ones you find in breads and pastries
  • Dairy products, because for many people, casein, a protein common in milk, ice cream and cheese, has been shown to irritate the tissue around joints
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Excessive salt
  • Vegetable oils such as corn and soy
  • Margarines
  • Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages

For many of us, taking these items out of our diet may leave you wondering what you can eat.  That’s easy: Keep it simple with whole foods, like these that a recent Harvard Health Study show can actually reduce your inflammation:

  • Tomatoes
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Leafy greens
  • Fatty fish

Many of these foods fit what’s known as the “Mediterranean Lifestyle Diet” and it has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory way to eat. Finding your path through the maze of modern food can be challenging, but rewarding and you can always turn to experts when you need a little guidance.

By Dr. Sally Williams

Integrative Medicine Physician at Avera Medical Group

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