• 9 Foods to Avoid if You Have Arthritis

    Foods to Avoid if You Have Arthritis

    Do you have arthritis? This condition puts the body in an inflammatory state. Anything you can do to decrease inflammation will help your symptoms subside.

    With this in mind, it’s important to understand that the ingredients in many of your favorite foods cause inflammation. By avoiding the following nine foods, you can help keep your symptoms under control – not to mention decreases your chances for developing other chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.


    It’s hard to resist this sweet white stuff, but eating processed sugar triggers the release of cytokines, which cause inflammation. If you have ever experienced a symptom flare-up after consuming a chocolate bar, ice cream, cake or soda, you know this firsthand.

    Remember, sugar goes by many names. When checking labels for added sugar, look for anything ending with “ose,” including sucrose, dextrose and glucose. To satisfy your sweet tooth without angering your joints, try cooking with alternative sweeteners such as honey, Stevia or Splenda.


    In your efforts to go sugar-free, you will undoubtedly come across aspartame, an intense artificial sweetener used in place of sugar in thousands of products worldwide. If you’re sensitive to the chemicals found in aspartame, your immune system will attack it, triggering inflammation. You’ll have to experiment, but it could be best to avoid this sugar substitute.

    Saturated Fat

    Eating this unhealthy ingredient common in the American diet triggers adipose, or fat tissue inflammation, which makes arthritis symptoms worse. Common sources of saturated fat include pizza, cheese, red meat, full-fat dairy, pasta dishes and bready desserts.

    Trans Fats

    Even worse than saturated fats, trans fats are known to trigger systemic inflammation. To avoid them, don’t eat anything with “partially hydrogenated oil” on the label, even if the trans fat amount per serving is 0 grams. As concerns surrounding this ingredient have grown, many products have eliminated it. Still, you’re most likely to find trans fats in fast food, fried products, processed snacks, donuts, cookies and stick margarine.

    Omega 6 Fatty Acids

    You are probably aware of the praise surrounding omega 3 fatty acids – which can actually help relieve arthritis pain – but you should avoid ingesting a disproportionate amount of omega 6s. Too much oil, mayonnaise and fatty salad dressings could promote the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals in your body.

    Refined Carbs

    A staple in most American diets, refined carbs are found in everything from white bread and crackers to white rice and potatoes. Refined carbs have a high glycemic index, which fuels the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products in your body, which stimulate inflammation. Opt for whole grain products over refined white flour.


    If eating whole grains still seems to inflame your arthritis symptoms, that’s because gluten found in wheat, barley, rye and other grain products can promote inflammation. If you have a gluten allergy or intolerance and still choose to eat wheat, the inflammatory effect could be even worse. Try cutting grains from your diet and see if your arthritis improves.

    Mono-Sodium Glutamate

    MSG, a flavor-enhancing additive, may make your food taste good, but it can trigger chronic inflammation and negatively affect your liver. MSG is most often found in soy sauce and prepared Asian food, but it’s also known to appear in fast food, canned soup, deli meat and salad dressing.


    Contradicting studies make it unclear whether you should feel safe drinking beer, wine or spirits with arthritis. If you enjoy these drinks, the best policy is to have no more than a glass or two on occasion. Any more than this weakens liver function, disrupts organ interactions and causes inflammation.

    Improving your diet can have surprising positive effects, but making the right dietary changes can be challenging. Come to the Spinal Healthcare clinic in New Haven for food and environmental sensitivity testing to see if something in your routine is making your aches and pains worse. To begin treatment, please contact us or call (260) 493-6565 today for a free consultation.

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