Arthritis and Diet
Diet may not cause arthritis nor cure this disease, but what you eat can affect arthritis symptoms. Eating a nutrient-rich, high-fiber, low-fat diet may help the body cope, but what about arthritis foods to avoid? What may contribute to pain and inflammation or simply inhibit the body from healing? Familiarize yourself with the potential arthritis trigger foods. You do not have to eat a limiting diet if you have this illness, but considering avoiding, minimizing, or substituting certain foods may prove beneficial.
List of Trigger Foods
Foods that should be minimized because they may aggravate symptoms include:
- Citrus fruits
- Sugary foods
- Black tea
- Salty foods
- Fried foods
- Spicy foods
- Dairy products
The nightshade vegetables can also trigger pain and inflammation because they contain the substance, solanine. Not everyone is sensitive to solanine, but many people with arthritis are affected by it. It can interfere with enzymes in muscle tissue, causing pain. The nightshade vegetables include:
- White potatoes
Tips for Eating Well
How can someone eat a healthy, well-balanced diet without all of these foods? No milk, beef, even tomatoes? While it may be helpful to eliminate arthritis trigger foods, what may be more practical is to have an awareness of potentially problematic foods and to avoid certain foods one at a time to see how the body reacts. Salty, fried, sugary, and junk food in general however can be considered definite arthritis foods to avoid.
Try eliminating meat and dairy products for two weeks and find out if animal products have been contributing to your arthritis symptoms. While doing this be sure to substitute with sources of calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, and protein. Try switching to fortified soy milk and eat plenty of almonds, dates, and green leafy vegetables. Eat plenty of vegetable sources of protein, such as pumpkin seeds, tofu, and walnuts, and try substituting fish and poultry for red meat.
Next try staying away from coffee, tea, and chocolate. Try switching to green tea and herbal teas. Then stop eating citrus fruits. Be sure to
consume other fruits for plenty of nutrients and antioxidants, especially fresh pineapple, cherries, and grapes. Avoid the nightshade vegetables, being sure to consume alternative vegetables that are ideal for arthritis sufferers, such as sweet potatoes, asparagus, garlic, and avocados.
Avoiding certain foods may be helpful for reducing and controlling arthritis symptoms. For every potential trigger food that is eliminated or minimized, there is another healthy, alternative there to take its place.
Balch, Phyllis, CNC. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition." (The Penguin Group, 2006).
Page, Linda. "Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone, 11th Edition" (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
photo by Leslie Seaton
photo by Market Manager