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Foods to avoid if you have arthritis

Posted Jan 25 2013 8:00am

How are your joints? If you have osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis, or gouty arthritis, or any sort of chronic joint inflammation, what you choose to eat can make a big difference in your quality of life.  Pain is no fun; and more pain means less mobility for you - so taking simple steps in adjusting what you eat could help you feel much better, and enjoy life more.

Here’s a rough guide to the types of foods you should avoid if you have arthritis. Keep in mind that ‘avoid’ does not mean ‘never eat again’. It just means becoming conscious of how much of that food you’re eating and the effect it has on your joint symptoms.

If you don’t know what type of arthritis you have, here are some clues: Joints with rheumatoid arthritis feel better the more you move them, and get stiff after a period of being still. Joints with osteoarthritis feel worse the more you move them, and less painful with being still, although they will feel stiff too. Gouty joints tend to produce excruciating pain in the middle of the night when you’ve been still for a while (that’s when your blood circulation is naturally lower).

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you want to eat less of the foods which can amplify inflammation in your system. Generally speaking, that’s foods high in saturated fat and sugar, or highly processed: Butter, high fat dairy, deep fried food, pastries, cakes etc.

If you have osteoarthritis, you may be sensitive to vegetable members of the deadly nightshade family (although not everyone is). That’s potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and chilli. Also, foods which have an acid-forming effect on your body pH may be a problem: That’s tea, bread, biscuits, cakes and dairy food.

For people with gouty arthritis, avoiding foods high in purines is a priority. That’s salty seafood, stock cubes, offal (like liver and kidneys), alcohol, coffee and black tea.

If you’d like to experiment to find out what effect a particular food group could be having on your joint pain, the best way to do this is to keep a written record of your pain levels over a week, along with what you ate; then exclude that food group from your diet for two weeks, while you keep the record keeping going. Finally, re-introduce the suspect food group and keep records for another week. You might uncover some interesting results.

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