food and arthritis pain

Here’s a thought to chew on-What if some of the foods you are eating are triggering or promoting your arthritis or joint pain?   For many people, there is a strong correlation with food and arthritis pain.  Recent research shows that more Americans are being limited in their regular daily activities such as getting dressed, climbing stairs and walking.1  How much of this pain and limitation is possibly due to the foods you are eating? Before reaching for another pain pill or anti-inflammatory medication, take a look at these foods that may be triggering your pain and suffering.

  • Essential Fatty Acid Imbalance There are two fats or oils that are classified as essential—Omega 3 and Omega 6. They are essential because our bodies cannot produce them and they are necessary for certain functions to be performed in the body such as building hormones and the walls of your cells. Omega 3’s are found predominantly in fish, certain nuts and grass-fed meat. Omega 6’s are commonly found in vegetable and seed oils such as sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils. Generally speaking, Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory and Omega 6’s are pro-inflammatory. Our bodies function best when we consume these on a 1:1 ratio. Unfortunately, western diets are deficient in Omega 3’s and excessive in Omega 6’s, tipping the scale towards inflammation, which could worsen arthritis symptoms and has also been implicated as a common underlying factor with depression. 2

  • Gluten Many people find that eliminating gluten from their diets has a major impact on reducing joint pain. Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease oftentimes are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Nightshades Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and tobacco are in a botanical family of plants called nightshades. These plants share common characteristics such as the shape of the flower and arrangement of seeds. Some people find that when they consume these plants, there is a worsening of arthritic symptoms. This is more common in people with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. 3

  • Refined Sugar Refined sugars found in candy and soda trigger cytokine production, in turn creating inflammation that worsens your arthritis symptoms.

It can be extremely beneficial to eliminate the above suspected offenders for at least two weeks from your diet. During this elimination diet see if there are any changes in your arthritis symptoms or pain. If you notice a significant decrease in your symptoms after eliminating these foods, you can reintroduce one group at a time every five days to identify which foods are triggering your pain and arthritis. You can also incorporate the following foods and supplements into your daily regimen to help reduce joint pain.

  • Sulfur-Rich Foods Eating a refined, processed diet leads to a variety of nutritional deficiencies. One of the most important nutrient deficiencies that can accelerate arthritic conditions is sulfur. Make sure you’re getting plenty of foods rich in sulfur, including the following: eggs, cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, fish, free-range poultry, grass-fed beed, nuts and seeds.

  • Essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids Increasing your Omega 3’s as mentioned above is crucial in reducing inflammation in your body. If you are unable to do this through the foods you eat, consider a high-quality Omega 3 supplement.

  • Wulzen-The Anti-Stiffness Factor This chemical is predominantly found in raw, grass-fed butter and cream. The pasteurization process destroys Wulzen factor. The Wulzen factor has been found to protect against degenerative arthritis. If you are unable to obtain this through your diet, high-quality supplementation may be necessary.

  • Vitamin D Low Vitamin D levels are associated with decreased cartilage in the knees, which in turn will accelerate degenerative or osteoarthritis. The only way to know if your Vitamin D levels need a boost is to have your doctor order a simple blood test.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices Boswellia, Ginger, Turmeric, and Capsaicin are herbs and spices that are anti-inflammatory in nature. Although they won’t fix the underlying cause of your arthritis, they will help to reduce inflammation. These can either be added to your foods, beverages or used in a nutritional supplement.

  • Glucosamine/Chondroitin Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate are part of the natural building blocks for cartilage and can be beneficial for osteoarthritis when used as a supplement. Research also shows combining glucosamine with Omega 3’s significantly boosts the effectiveness in reducing arthritis symptoms compared to using either one alone.4