Foods Arthritis Sufferers Should Avoid

Arthritis is not a single disease. It can arise from various different causes. Thus, it is often difficult to establish a role of food in its etiopathology, or to suggest the foods that a person suffering from arthritis needs to avoid. This is a task that requires one to have a broader perspective of how foods affect the condition. Awareness is always helpful.
Foods Arthritis Sufferers Should Avoid
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Foods and Arthritis

Foods that a person suffering from arthritis should avoid depend upon the cause of Arthritis.

The role of foods in arthritis is still not established, except in case of Gout, where avoiding purine rich food is part of the treatment regime. In other cases of arthritis, many experts and researchers have suggested that many cases of arthritis may have resulted from unidentified food allergies, and if the food to which one is allergic is identified and avoided, the condition may improve.

Here we can take specific examples of diseases leading to arthritic pain, and analyze the foods that need to

be avoided in each one of those conditions.

Foods to be Avoided in Gout

Gout results from high blood levels of uric acid, which gets deposited in joints as crystals. Foods containing PURINES are one of the major source of this URIC ACID, hence avoiding food rich in purines can definitely help in controlling uric acid levels and consequent symptoms of Gout. Most common foods that need to be avoided in gout are meat (specially dark meat), fish, seafood, poultry, meat extracts like gravies and tofu. These foods should be limited to less than 225 gm/day and totally avoided during flaring of symptoms.

It is better to substitute these foods with dairy products which provide proteins but are not that rich in purines. Other foods which should also be avoided include asparagus, cauliflower and mushroom though their impact is not so strong. Beer should also be avoided as it also leads to rise of uric acid levels. Tea may also better be avoided.

Avoiding all these foods is an important and essential component of treating Gout.

Role of Food Allergies in Arthritis

There is a lack of consensus in this regard in the scientific coummunity so far.

Ever since 1980s, various experts and researchers have shown that avoiding certain types of food can help in bringing relief to patients of arthritis. Unfortunately, other researchers who have tried to validate these findings have not reached similar conclusions. Even among the various researchers themselves, there are considerable differences of opinion as to which foods are associated with arthritis. Thus, as of now, the issue of food allergies as a significant cause of arthritis is far from settled.

Some studies suggest that food allergies may be involved in up to 5% of arthritic conditions.

Categories of Food Implicated as Potential Causes in Arthritis

  1. Animal proteins, like MEAT, PORK, BEEF, CHICKEN and FISH.

  2. NIGHTSHADE FAMILY VEGETABLES, like tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers (includes bell peppers, cayenne, chili, paprika, pimiento) and eggplant. Also included in this family are tobacco and belladonna. The reaction to these foods may take up to 48 hours to appear and may persist for up to six months. Such long effect could be one of

    the reasons why it is often difficult to associate them with arthritis. It is important to note that since many processed foods are likely to have pepper or paprika, avoiding this category means most of these processed foods need to be avoided.

  3. GLUTEN is a substance found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Some studies have suggested that in some cases, arthritis can be a result of reaction to gluten. In such cases, avoiding foods containing gluten may help in relieving symptoms of arthritis.

  4. DAIRY PRODUCTS, like milk, cheese can also cause food allergies. Some persons may benefit by avoiding them.

  5. FOODS with MOLDS: Certain foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, nuts, berries, cantaloupe and honeydew melon can get infected with molds. This mold rather than the foods itself can cause allergy that may result in arthritis.

  6. OTHER FOODS implicated in arthritis include sugar, caffeine,citrus, salt and soft drinks.

  7. ADDITIVES, like flavinoids, spices, can also cause food allergies leading to arthritis.

Make Your Own List of Foods to Avoid

Although this is a long list of foods which can cause food allergies, it does not mean that all of them need to be avoided in all patients of arthritis. In fact, most persons having arthritis may not have any food allergy, and so need not avoid any food.  Before deciding to avoid any of these foods, one should be sure that avoiding them will help. This can be achieved by avoiding them on a trial basis. Another method suggested for this purpose is the 'PULSE TEST', in which the rise in pulse rate by at least four on keeping the suspected food in mouth for a few minutes suggests food allergy, and in such cases avoiding those foods may be helpful.

Avoiding Foods In Osteoarthritis

In Osteoarthritis, foods which cause weight gain should be restricted. Most overweight persons having this condition will benefit by losing some weight. To sum up, avoiding certain foods is required in all cases of Gout, while in other forms of arthritis, avoiding some foods may sometimes bring some relief, but in most persons such avoidance may not bring any benefit. Reducing weight generally improves the condition.

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