The relationship between arthritis and food is being recognized more by experts and arthritis patients alike. When a patient comes to see me at the office and they complain of all over body or joint pain, I immediately ask about their eating habits. And it's funny, because a lot of times, they'll say, "I can tell I feel worse after I eat certain things."
Learning which foods to avoid with arthritisHow do you narrow down which food makes you feel worse?
The first step is simply to start keeping a food journal. In it, you may start seeing patterns. For example maybe you have cake at a birthday party on Sunday and on Tuesday morning you can barely get out of bed.
It's important to note what you eat for at least two weeks. A month would be better.
Unlike food allergies (think peanuts or shellfish) where symptoms are immediately noticed after eating the offending food, you will be looking for patterns that occur hours or days after you eat something. It makes it much more difficult to narrow down.
My story of wheatIn my late 20's, I was dealing with joint pain, fatigue, irregular female stuff, and adult acne. My medical doctor put me on antibiotics for the acne and ordered a bunch of blood work.
My lab tests showed high ANA, high CRP, and high ESR. ANA is a marker for an autoimmune disease, CRP and ESR are both inflammation markers.
I was told I was more likely to get an autoimmune disease than the "average" person, but there was really nothing to worry about.
Except the lab tests still didn't explain my joint pain.
Fast forward a few years to chiro school (is it any wonder that chiropractic called me, now that I look back on my own history?) and I learned that food sensitivities could cause any symptom, anywhere in the body.
That knowledge rattled around in my brain for a couple more years, and eventually I became somewhat of an expert on food sensitivities and learned which food to avoid with arthritis.
First, I removed dairy from my diet. My allergies and chronic nose stuffiness almost literally disappeared. Then I removed wheat. My joint pain dropped about 75%.
At this point, I eat a mostly grain free diet. I have the occasional grain, in the form of corn tortillas or quinoa or rice, but I try to avoid wheat like the plague.
For you to learn which food to avoid with arthritis, you are going to have to do a little detective work, because everybody is different.
The Biggies: The Most Common Foods to Avoid with ArthritisAfter years of helping patients modify their diets because of pain, here is my list of foods to remove, in order of importance.
- Wheat and flour based products
- The "nightshade" vegetables: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers
- Hydrogenated anything; get rid of margarine and shortening. Use butter, olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil for cooking
- All processed foods. If it's in a box or a pouch, don't eat it
- High fructose corn syrup. You will have to read labels to find this, and it's in everything. Check your ketchup, mustard, jam, yogurt, syrup, etc.
This list is a great start, and you will probably feel quite a bit better just by removing these things. For more detailed information about diet and health, visit this website about Healthy Eating.
Other pages that might interest youLearn which foods help arthritis
Information about an arthritis diet with sample menus
The ALCAT test measures your response to over 200 foods so you know exactly which food to avoid with arthritis
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