Arthritis diet: Three surprising foods that can trigger painful inflammatory symptoms

Arthritis: Doctor gives advice on best foods to help ease pain

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If you have arthritis, the foods you’re eating could be triggering painful symptoms – and it may not be the usual culprits you have in mind, such as sugar and saturated fats. According to the Arthritis Foundation, an overabundance of omega 6 fatty acid can “trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals”. The essential fatty acid – required for the body’s normal growth and development – is proof that you can have too much of a good thing.

Found in corn, safflower, and sunflower oil, is it time you cut back on these oils?

Omega 6 fatty acids can also be found in: grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable oil.

Another surprising inflammation enhancer is refined carbohydrates, such as:

  • White flour products
  • White rice
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • French fries
  • Cereals.

Citing Scientific American, the Arthritis Foundation stated that processed carbohydrates may trump fats as the main driver of obesity.

“These high-glycemic index foods fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products that stimulate inflammation,” the charity explained.

The third surprising ingredient that could be triggering painful arthritis symptoms is mono-sodium glutamate (MSG).

A flavour-enhancing food additive, it can be added to fast foods, soups, salad dressing, deli meats, soy sauce and prepared Asian food.

MSG “can trigger two important pathways of chronic inflammation”, the charity warned.

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How to soothe painful arthritis

If you find yourself experiencing a painful flare-up, there are a few things you can do to make the attack less severe.

Utilising heat therapy, you can apply heating pads to aching joints, said the Mayo Clinic.

Although this solution might be temporary, it can provide much-needed relief.

It’s advisable to only use heat pads for 20 minutes, but heat therapy can also work by taking a hot bath or shower.

Learning relaxation techniques can also help to ease painful joints; the Mayo Clinic suggest:

  • Doing yoga
  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Listening to music
  • Being in nature
  • Journal writing.

Even though exercise is still recommended if you have arthritis, certain activities might make the joint pain worse.

Do try to avoid high-impact and repetitive motions, such as running, tennis, and jumping.

Instead, focus on low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling or water exercises.

Over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen, can be good at reducing inflammation.

“Consult your doctor if over-the-counter medications don’t relieve your pain,” said the Mayo Clinic.

Severe and prolonged arthritis pain might require medical intervention, especially if the joint begins to lose its shape.

While there’s no cure for the condition, surgery might be an option for some people.

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