Arthritis: Five of the worst foods that increase inflammation in the body

Arthritis means joint inflammation and the term is used to describe around 200 conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint and other connective tissue. The condition is more common among adults aged 65 years or older, however, it can affect people of all ages. Certain foods can cause inflammation in the fat tissue. As well as contributing to the risk of developing obesity, heart disease and other conditions, it can make arthritis inflammation worse.


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Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine examined disease prevention through diet.

In their 2009 study, they found that decreasing the amount of wrong foods eaten can help to reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body’s natural defences.

Certain foods can either promote or suppress inflammation in one’s body.

By eating anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens and colourful vegetables and avoiding inflammatory foods, a person may be able to ease arthritis pain and symptoms.

What are the five foods you should avoid if battling with arthritis?

Processed foods

Avoid processed foods as these items contain high levels of trans fat. Foods such as baked goods and prepackaged meals and snacks contain the dangerous fat to help preserve them. Trans fats trigger systematic inflammation which could wreak havoc with those suffering with arthritis. To help avoid trans fats, avoid any foods labeled as containing partially hydrogenated oils.

Sugar and certain sugar alternatives

Foods that contain refined sugar including pastries, chocolate, sweets and carbonated beverages trigger the release of proteins in the body known as cytokines, which cause inflammation.

Sugar is labeled many ways in food items; in addition to sugar, one should be careful with items such as corn syrup, fructose, sucrose or maltose in the ingredient list.

Red meat

Meat, especially red meat, is high in saturated fats, which cause high cholesterol and inflammation.

Meat also contains high levels of Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) that stimulate inflammation, particularly when meat is cooked.


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Refined carbohydrates

White flour products, such as white bread, white pasta and crackers are considered refined carbohydrates.

Refined carbohydrates, also called refined grains, cause a spike in blood glucose which has been shown to increase inflammation in the body.

Cheese and high-fat dairy

Cheese, butter, cream cheese, margarine and mayonnaise are all high in both saturated fats and AGEs which are big inflammation triggers and should be consumed sparingly.

Dairy products may contribute to arthritis pain due to the type of protein they contain. For some people, this protein may irritate the tissue around their joints.

Avoiding foods and drinks that trigger inflammation is not just good for a persons arthritis.

An anti-inflammatory diet can also help prevent other chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Others living with arthritis have success switching to a more plant-based diet.

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