While much of joint pain is caused by aging or injury, there are some foods and beverages that can also contribute to the swelling and discomfort associated with arthritic conditions. In this article, we will outline some of the foods that may be doing some harm to your joints and will offer alternatives to have you moving better with less discomfort.
Instead of sweets, try fruit
- Sweets- sugary foods and beverages not only contribute to worsening arthritis symptoms, but they also contribute to arthritis risk! Added sugars promote inflammation, which leads to the pain and stiffness felt with arthritis. These types of foods include candy, baked goods, pop and other desserts.
- Fruit- though it’s not quite the same as a piece of cake, the natural sugars found in berries and citrus fruits can help satisfy your sweet tooth without causing more damage. In fact, berries like strawberries and blueberries and citrus like grapefruit and oranges carry anti-inflammatory properties!
Instead of lattes, try green tea
- Your morning latte- If you’re someone who likes an XL latte with whip to start your day, you might want to consider a switch. In addition the sugars causing inflammation, they also add tons of calories to your drink. Using whole milk and topping your latte off with whip cream can also contribute to your symptoms. While some dairy can help reduce arthritis progression, the extra calories and fat found in heavy milks and creams packs on extra pounds. Extra weight means extra pressure on joints, leading to osteoarthritis.
- Green tea- it may be far from a latte, but green tea has some amazing health benefits that you should take into consideration. It is loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the breakdown of cartilage. If you need some sweetness, try a natural sugar alternative, like stevia. If you’re looking to make it creamier, consider low fat or nut/oat milk.
Instead of salty and processed foods, try vegetables and nuts
- Salty and highly processed foods- this probably isn’t the first time that you’ve heard overly salty and processed foods are not good for your health. They can contribute to some serious health conditions, like obesity and heart disease. In terms of arthritis, salt contributes to water retention, reducing the range of motion in your joints. Your ultra processed meals and snacks, like fast food, pre-packages snacks, contain inflammation causing ingredients and excessive calories.
- Simple greens, veggies and nuts- taking a simpler approach to snacking can make a big difference in your arthritis symptoms. Green vegetables are full of vitamins that help protect your cells, cartilage and bones from breaking down. Unsalted nuts are also a great source of vitamins, calcium and protein to keep your body strong and boosting the immune system.
Instead of fatty meat and fried food, try fish high in omega-3s
- High fat protein and fried food- these delicious, yet unhealthy foods are known to cause inflammation by releasing AGE toxins. Foods contributing to arthritic flare ups include deep fried snacks and sweets, burgers, sausages and everyone’s favorite, bacon!
- Salmon- fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce pain and swollen joints. An added benefit, salmon can help lower cholesterol, improve mood and reduce your risk of heart conditions.