Arthritis: Doctor gives advice on best foods to help ease pain
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Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. Living with arthritis isn’t easy and carrying out simple, everyday tasks can often be painful and difficult. However, there are many things that ease symptoms, such as tweaking your diet.
Certain dietary decisions can aggravate arthritis by triggering an inflammatory response.
A surprising culprit is fruit juice because it can contain refined sugars, warns health practice Tristate Arthritis & Rheumatology.
This is sugar which is extracted from the sugar cane or sugar beet plant and processed to remove its natural nutrients.
“The refined sugar triggers the release of proteins in the body that can cause inflammation,” warns Tristate Arthritis & Rheumatology.
According to the health practice, you should avoid refined sugar, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, and maltose.
“Also some people should avoid sugar alternatives such as aspartame and sucralose which can cause an inflammatory response from the body,” it advises.
“Many sodas, gum, sugar-free candy, and low-fat yogurt/pudding contain sugar alternatives.”
Although unrefined sugar is often considered a healthier alternative to refined sugars, it is important to note that all sugar has undergone some form of processing and is unhealthy if consumed in large quantities.
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Arthritis – foods to eat
While there’s no miracle diet for arthritis, fortunately, many foods can help fight inflammation and improve joint symptoms.
“For starters, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and beans but low processed foods and saturated fat, is not only great for overall health, but can also help manage disease activity,” explains the Arthritis Foundation (AF).
Many of these dietary components are found in a Mediterranean-style diet.
In fact, studies confirm that eating foods commonly part of the Mediterranean diet help arthritis by curbing inflammation.
Oily fish are good sources of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, for example.
One study found those who had the highest consumption of omega-3s had lower levels of two inflammatory proteins: C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6.
Researchers have also shown that taking fish oil supplements helps reduce joint swelling and pain, duration of morning stiffness and disease activity among people who have rheumatoid arthritis.
Best sources include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, anchovies and scallops.
Other key lifestyle tips
Exercise is also integral to managing arthritis symptoms.
According to the NHS, being active can help reduce and prevent pain.
Regular exercise can also:
- Improve your range of movement and joint mobility
- Increase muscle strength
- Reduce stiffness
- Boost your energy.
“As long as you do the right type and level of exercise for your condition, your arthritis won’t get any worse,” adds the NHS.
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