Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system erroneously attacks healthy tissue. This results in inflammation most commonly in the hands, wrists, feet, knees and hip joints as well as in their surrounding tissue. Certain foods have been shown to increase the pain, swelling and stiffness in joints affected by arthritis. Simple dietary changes can help prevent the triggering of these painful symptoms. Here are seven foods that will make rheumatoid arthritis pain worse:
1. Dairy - Although low-fat and nonfat choices are healthier overall, it is not the fat in dairy that worsens arthritis pain, it is the milk proteins. Some people are particularly sensitive to the proteins which when ingested, may trigger inflammation and for people with arthritis, this will make their pain worse.
2. Gluten - Gluten-free is currently a nutritional buzzword even though many people don't actually know what "gluten" is. Gluten is a protein complex that is found mostly in wheat products as well as rye and barley. Gluten is the primary suspect in Celiac disease, which is an inflammatory condition that mimics arthritis.
3. Red meat - Although primarily a culprit in increasing the symptoms of gout, which is a form of arthritis, red meat may also worsen the pain of other types of arthritis.
4. Fried and processed foods - Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai report, "cutting back on the consumption of processed and fried foods, which are high in toxins called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), can reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body’s natural defenses regardless of age or health status."
5. Sugar and refined flour are foods that causes inflammation and thus make arthritis pain worse. "Simple sugars — found in foods like cookies, fruit juice, soft drinks, and candy — are also refined carbohydrates; they send your blood-sugar levels soaring and set off an inflammatory response in the body," according to Joy Bauer, nutritional expert for the "Today Show."
6. Excess salt - Arthritis Today reports Americans consume more than eight times more salt than what the body actually needs which can result in water retention, dehydration, and hypertension. "People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may be at higher risk for salt’s effects. RA can cause coronary arteries to become inflamed, increasing the risk of hypertension. Corticosteroids, commonly used to treat RA, cause the body to retain more sodium." It has been reported that salt can act as a trigger food and can make the symptoms of arthritis worse.
7. High fat, high calorie foods that cause weight gain should be avoided by those with arthritis because any extra weight puts additional stress on arthritic joints. In addition, researchers at the Mayo Clinic noted obesity and rheumatoid arthritis are becoming more common. In a study of hundreds of patients, they found that a history of obesity put women at "significant risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis." Newsmax