Do you want to learn more about the foods that make rheumatoid arthritis worse? And why they trigger flare-ups?
While there is no cure for this auto-immune disease, we can certainly help ourselves by knowing how to manage rheumatoid arthritis pain apart from taking medication.
We can avoid making our rheumatoid arthritis worse by doing things like exercise, acupuncture, hot and cold therapy, and eating the right foods.
If you are living with RA, it is important that you know what foods can trigger flare-ups that cause inflammation and joint pain, so that you can avoid them.
Here are 29 Foods that make Rheumatoid Arthritis worse
1. Meat (Fried, broiled, grilled)
They have high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that enhance inflammatory reactions.
2. Saturated Fat
The unhealthy fats trigger body-wide inflammation and increase the risk for stroke.
It triggers adipose (fat tissue) inflammation that worsens RA inflammation and indicates heart disease.
3. Trans Fat
It is known to trigger systemic inflammation.
It can be found in fast foods, donuts, frozen breakfast products.
4. Sugars and Refined Carbohydrates
Digesting anything that has sugars or refined carbohydrates releases cytokines that signal inflammation in the body.
Soda, juices, and pastries are perfect examples of food and drinks that are full of sugars.
People living with RA should also be on the lookout for sugar substitutes and any foods that contain glucose, fructose, and sucrose.
5. Processed Foods
Snacks, pies, bacon, sausages, microwave meals, cereals, are just a few examples of processed foods.
The goal is to always eat foods without additives and pesticide-free.
While studies show that moderate consumption of alcohol (a glass of wine or a beer a day) decreases the risk for RA and helps in slowing their progression, drinking too much alcohol may cause a spike in the body’s C- reactive protein (CRP) that signal’s inflammation.
7. Omega- 6 Fatty Acids
Foods such as Corn, Soybean, nuts, and other vegetable oils may worsen inflammation for RA patients.
While Omega- 6 is also an essential fatty acid that our body needs, it is important to have a healthy intake and not overconsume foods full of it.
Chemical ingredients added to foods to prolong their shelf- life such as Monosodium glutamate (MSG), may trigger inflammation and also increase our risk of cancer.
Our body is unable to process artificial ingredients and Aspartame is not naturally processed.
It is a neurotoxin that the body “attacks” therefore causing inflammation.
10. Dairy Products
Whole milk and cheese contain saturated fats that increase inflammation for people with RA.
It may even trigger joint pains.
According to Arthritis Foundation, people who are sensitive to gluten and/ or have an autoimmune disease may trigger flare-ups and cause inflammation and joint pain.
Using excessive salt may result in inflammation. It can also affect the heart as sodium places stress in the heart by retaining extra fluid in the body that eventually raises your blood pressure.
While some nuts are good for people with RA due to their Omega- 3 content, peanuts are packed with Omega- 6 that is known to trigger inflammation.
It has a high fructose content that is considered as an alternative sweetener that increases inflammation.
15. Frozen Yogurt
It contains two enemies of people with RA that triggers inflammation: dairy and sugar.
It is recommended to consume frozen yogurt that contain probiotics and that uses dairy substitute like coconut milk.
16. Seasoning Packs
They make contain sugar and artificial coloring that are both triggers for inflammation.
17. Foods high in AGEs (Advanced glycation end-products)
These are created through reactions between protein, sugar, and fats.
It is already present in uncooked meats but is formed when cooked a certain way.
When accumulated in the body, oxidative stress and inflammation occur.
They are a group of vegetables that contain solanine that is believed to aggravate RA inflammation and pain.
Nightshade plants include tomatoes, bell peppers, chili peppers, potatoes, and eggplant.
19. White Rice
It causes your blood sugar to spike and can increase inflammation markers in the body.
Refined grain foods such as pretzels make a sub-optimal microbiome in the body which is linked to inflammation.
21. Canned Fruit in Syrup
Although fruits are healthy for you, canned fruits in syrup are another story.
The added sugar in the syrup may trigger the release of cytokines that are known to trigger inflammation in the body.
22. White Flour
Consumption of white flour highlights the body’s lack of Omega 3 that affects joint inflammation by suppressing prostaglandin E3.
Eggs yolks contain arachidonic acid that triggers inflammation in the body.
They also contain saturated fat that will also help induce inflammation in the body. It is advisable to just consume egg whites if you can’t give up eating eggs entirely.
24. Diet Soda
Some studies show that consuming diet soda regularly may damage blood vessels or cause inflammation, among other risks.
25. Processed Pastries
Pastires are made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour, chemicals, trans fat, and artificial ingredients that can all trigger inflammation as well as heart disease.
26. Artificial Chemicals and Additives
Anything that is artificial is not recognized by the body making it defend itself. Triggering an inflammatory response.
27. Fluorescent Orange Crunchy Snacks
These snacks are full of salt, artificial coloring, and chemicals making them one of the worst foods to eat if you are living with RA.
28. Processed Corn
There are a lot of types of processed corn that contain refined carbohydrates and chemicals making your blood sugar spike and triggering inflammation.
29. Fried Foods
These are probably one of the worst foods that you can eat if you are living with RA.
Fried foods are high in fat, salt, and most of the time refined carbohydrates.
The fat and calories contribute to weight gain that can greatly stress your joints and trigger inflammation.
The added salt and carbohydrates may put you at a greater risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure.
Now that we have outlined the foods to avoid for rheumatoid arthritis, you can now plan your meals and diet to make sure you avoid these types of foods.
It is important to speak with your doctor before starting any type of diet. This is to make sure you are not doing more harm than good to your body and your condition.