Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints due to either trauma, infection or deterioration from aging. A number of lifestyle changes can be made to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, including dietary changes that limit fatty or salty foods that contribute to obesity.
Foods That Aggravate Arthritis
Many foods that aggravate an arthritis condition are quite common in typical American diets. These can include foods high in sugar, sodium, caffeine or trans fats and saturated fats. Other foods that are prone to making arthritis conditions worse are red meats, foods with unnatural additives or preservatives, corn or flour. Try to avoid processed foods such as microwave dinners, soft drinks and potato chips, as these foods contain large amounts of sodium and sugar.
Foods That Can Cause Allergic Reactions
While many foods can be beneficial to your body, they can also cause allergic reactions that can worsen existing arthritic conditions. Eggplants, potatoes, tobacco, tomatoes and peppers can produce allergic reactions that can make dealing with arthritis all the more unpleasant. Chemicals in hot peppers called capsaicinoids are strong irritants that interfere with the pain receptors in the dermal and mucous membranes.
Foods That Can Help Against Arthritis
Certain foods provide the body with vitamins essential to eliminating many of the problems associated with arthritis. Calcium is is an important mineral that can be found in a number of foods. Not only is it found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt, but broccoli, salmon and kale are also good sources. Antioxidants are also effective in removing harmful oxidation reactions, which contribute to many degenerative diseases, including arthritis. Vitamins C and E are the best sources of antioxidants and can be found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E can be found in large doses in avocados, broccoli, eggs, fish oil or wheat germ. Vitamin C naturally exists in foods such as blueberries, guava, citrus fruits, kiwi fruit and strawberries.
Other Lifestyle Changes to Consider
A number of other lifestyle changes can help with arthritis pain, including daily exercise, warm baths and keeping your weight down. Walking and swimming provide low impact and enjoyable ways to remain active even when you are older. Many YMCAs and local community centers offer swim classes specifically for people with arthritis. Keeping weight at a manageable level is also extremely important as it helps reduce unneeded stress around the joints such as the knees and the hips.
What Causes Arthritis
While natural aging is a common way to develop osteoarthritis, injury or stress to a joint can also contribute to arthritis at earlier ages. Nearly 27 million people in the United States are affected by the disease, which is a result of the loss of cartilage. As the bone and cartilage are weakened, the body attempts to regrow the affected areas by a process called eburnation, in which ivory-like, dense bone replaces the areas of bone loss.