As we grow older, our bodies may begin to experience some changes and responses. This can result from a number of factors, including environment and diet. A common health condition among older adults is arthritis.
Arthritis refers to joint inflammation causing pain or stiffness and difficulty in holding, grabbing, bending, lifting, and moving. This condition can hinder older adults from carrying out their daily activities optimally.
The kind of food older persons consume can positively or negatively affect their overall health. For this reason, it is best to ensure your parents and grandparents take only healthy meals so they can live wholesome and happy lives without the risk of developing arthritis.
Although food can’t cure arthritis, specific foods to avoid with arthritis will help reduce joint pain in your loved ones. You can learn more about the general well-being of older adults and find helpful information about preventing arthritis on this page.
Now, let’s discuss seven foods that can help manage arthritis symptoms in your older relatives.
- Sugary foods
Older persons with arthritis should limit their sugar intake. Sugars can be found in various foods like candies, chocolates, soda, and fruit juices. High or moderate intake of sugary meals can cause inflammation of the joints and increase AGE (Advanced Glycosylation End) levels.
According to research, even low to moderate sugar intake can lead to joint inflammation. This is because sugar promotes the body’s release of cytokines, which act as inflammatory messengers. Though it may seem impossible to avoid sugary foods, sticking to natural foods is one sure way to ensure effective management of sugar intake.
Observe the names on the ingredient label to quickly identify foods containing sugar. Ingredients containing words ending in “ose” are usually sugar elements and, therefore, can be classified among foods to avoid with arthritis; glucose, sucrose, and fructose are some examples.
- Red meats and dairy products
Dairy products include cheese, milk, yogurt, and ice cream. Older adults with arthritis should avoid dairy and red meats as they can cause inflammatory reactions. Although dairy has beneficial nutrients like protein and calcium, it is also made up of casein – an ingredient that can enhance joint inflammation.
Furthermore, studies show that adults who frequently eat red meat have higher inflammation levels than those who don’t. Some examples of red meat include pork, beef, mutton, venison and veal. Finally, a research on more than 25,000 participants suggests that high red meat consumption can contribute to inflammatory arthritis.
- Salty foods
Salty foods are among the foods bad for arthritis. Although the body needs sodium in salt for several functions, too much intake may cause problems.
Aside from excess salt intake being bad for an older person’s blood pressure, it contributes to arthritis development. Studies have linked high salt consumption to inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis.
Several processed food items contain high salt, so they aren’t good meal choices for older people with arthritis. To ensure limited salt intake, encourage your folks to take foods rich in onion powder, cumin, minced garlic, ground pepper, and other spices.
Foods containing high salt include seafood, canned food, cheese, pizza, and salted nuts.
Generally, alcohol has many adverse effects on people of all ages, as it burdens the liver and disrupts other normal body functions.
In particular, older persons should reduce alcohol consumption to avoid increased inflammatory pain.
Also, reduced alcohol intake can lead to better sleep which can help reduce pain symptoms. Research shows that regular consumption of alcohol can increase the frequency of gout problems. It is also associated with an increased risk of osteoarthritis.
- Omega-6 fatty acids
The body needs a balance between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Unlike omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids are among the groups of foods to avoid if you have arthritis.
Although omega-6 fatty acids are essential in small amounts for the body’s growth and development, consuming this compound in excess increases an older adult’s chance of joint inflammation and obesity.
The compound can be found in foods like corn, safflower, peanut, soy oils, sunflower, cake mix and cookies. Additionally, trans fats can raise cholesterol and inflammation levels, so older adults should avoid excess intake of this unsaturated fat.
- Refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are one of the foods to avoid with arthritis. These carbohydrates can promote the manufacture of AGE (Advanced Glycosylation End) products that enhance inflammation. These AGEs are toxins found in heated, grilled, fried or pasteurized food and can cause protein damage.
Some refined carbohydrates include white flour products like bread, crackers, rolls, and pasta. Also, cereals, white potatoes and white rice are common examples. In addition, people sensitive to gluten may experience joint inflammation after consuming wheat and wheat products.
Gluten is a sticky protein that can worsen the symptoms of arthritis. It is found in barley, wheat, casein, or rye. Although some people believe gluten increases the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, there isn’t any scientific proof to back this claim.
As an arthritis food to avoid, older people with joint pain are sensitive to gluten. Therefore, it is advisable to consume gluten-free food to minimize the risk of joint inflammation.
Also, there’s a connection between rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease. According to research, individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and those resistant to conventional drug therapies experience improved symptoms when taking gluten-free diets.
Foods play a vital role in our health. Focusing on meal intake is important to ensure your loved ones lead happy and fulfilling lives. If your parents or grandparents have arthritis, simple diet changes can effectively manage the symptoms.
Instead of saturated fats, sugar and salty foods, encourage your older relatives to take fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods help reduce inflammation and joint pain.
If you’re unsure how to properly change and plan the diet of your loved ones, consult a doctor for help. Also, encourage your folks to partake in arthritic exercises. Combining these workouts with healthy diets will help with fast relief from arthritic pain.