From fried sausages to cans of sugary drinks, Britons have a taste for processed foods. While eating foods like these in excess takes an obvious toll on your cardiovascular health, your joints aren’t safe either. An expert has warned that some of the nation’s favourite foods could be making arthritis symptoms worse.
Alex Glover, Senior Nutritionist Holland & Barrett, said: “Unfortunately, diet and supplements can’t treat or cure arthritis, however, symptoms may be eased or exacerbated as a result of changing what you eat.
“Eating a balanced diet, rich in anti-inflammatory foods can offer benefits to those who want to keep arthritis symptoms under control.”
On the other hand, unhealthy dietary choices could be a trigger for painful symptoms and “worsen” arthritis.
The risky foods you should watch include processed foods and refined carbohydrates like white bread, chips, red meats, and sugary beverages.
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All of these foods can be “high” in saturated fats which could cause more inflammation, which is not ideal when you already suffer from an inflammatory condition.
Glover said: “Excess fat tissue plays a role in releasing chemical signals that have inflammatory effects.
“Excess fat also increases our weight which can put extra strain on our joints as well, therefore maintaining a healthy weight is also important for the management of arthritis symptoms.”
Therefore, the nutritionist recommended cutting back on these options to minimise your risk of painful flare-ups.
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He said: “Limiting these foods in your diet can have wide wellness benefits, including for some, improvements in joint health and the symptoms of arthritis.”
The good news is that there are plenty of healthy foods that could take the place of these culprits in your dietary regime.
Glover explained that the first step could focus on reducing your intake of saturated fats while upping unsaturated fats, found in the likes of nuts, seeds and avocados.
However, following popular food protocols like the Mediterranean diet could also be a positive step.
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Glover said: “Studies have shown eating a Mediterranean diet can help to reduce symptoms of both forms of arthritis.
“In general, this is where foods like red meats, sweets, processed foods, and baked goods are consumed around once a week.
“[The rules include] having moderate weekly portions of poultry, cheeses, yoghurt, eggs; consuming seafood, peanuts, tree nuts at least twice a week; and eating vegetables, fresh fruit, wholegrains, legumes, and olive oil every day.”
While your dietary approach as a whole is very important, one ingredient that is worth mentioning is omega-3.
A low intake of this “important” polyunsaturated fat can contribute to further inflammation, the expert explained.
He added: “So omega-3 supplement intake should be considered, as well as eating omega-3 found in foods, including oily fish, green leafy vegetables, and seeds.
“Fibre is also a particularly important food source in supporting ‘friendly bacteria’ in our gut.
“Having an imbalance of this good bacteria in our gut may worsen arthritis symptoms – so eating foods that can improve our gut health, including kefir, kombucha, soya sauce, kimchi, and almonds, is important.”
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