Although you may have improved your diet, eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean every choice you make is good for your joints. Many of the common food choices are responsible for worsening your arthritis. To help you improve joint pain, we’ll review food choices –– and the ingredients in them –– that could be the culprits behind joint pain.
The Reason Some Foods Increase Joint Pain
Inflammation is the primary cause of joint pain. Although there are many foods with anti-inflammatory properties, consuming foods that exacerbate inflammation will counter any anti-inflammatory benefits.
Sugar, salt, and trans and saturated fats are common culprits triggering inflammation. Regrettably, most of the food we consume regularly contains hidden ingredients known to worsen arthritis.
5 Every-Day Foods Responsible for Worsening Arthritis
If your healthy diet isn’t improving your joint pain, or you notice your joint pain has deteriorated, you may want to remove the following five foods from your meals.
1. Bouillon Cubes
A perfect choice for flavor and often used to replace vegetable, chicken, or meat stock; bouillon cubes include more than a range of delectable spices.
Each cube contains loads of sugar and salt, which are established inflammatory agents. However, the cubes also include plenty of MSG. MSG enhances the flavor of the cubes, but it also triggers your body’s two main inflammatory pathways.
While MSG is naturally occurring, bouillon cubes have far too much salt and MSG per portion, leading to water retention –– a common symptom of high blood pressure –– and inflammation in your joints.
Healthier Alternative: If you enjoy the convenience and flavor of bouillon cubes, use sodium and MSG-free stocks. When you’re willing, make stock from vegetable and meat scraps.
2. Coffee creamers
Coffee creamers –– while delicious –– are packed full of sugar, with some brands having as much as 5 grams a serving, which is more than 20% of the daily limit for added sugar, as recommended by the American Heart Association.
Besides being terrible for your heart and glucose levels, the American Diabetes Association has said in a paper that sugar causes your body to release cytokines. Cytokines are responsible for sending inflammatory signals in the body, which exacerbates arthritis pain.
Healthier Alternative: Choose a low sugar creamer that does not contain aspartame in the ingredient list. For an even healthier option, use milk and honey instead.
3. Diet Soda & Foods Labeled “Sugar-Free”
Since sugar is terrible for inflammation, it only makes sense that food labeled sugar-free would be good. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Many products with a “sugar-free” label contain aspartame to develop sweetness. This artificial sweetener is a neurotoxin, triggering an autoimmune response in some. To fight this toxin, your body implements inflammation which causes your joint pain to worsen.
Healthier Alternative: Try drinking sparkling water. The fizz should mimic the same carbonation you experience when drinking your favs. If you need flavor, consider adding lemons or lime to the water. It may take getting used to, but the better joint makes up for it.
4. Salad Dressing
Store-bought salad dressing negates many of the benefits you are getting from vegetables. Besides neutralizing any benefits, it also ignites an inflammatory response because it contains oils like palm, sunflower, and soy, which contain Omega 6. The standard American diet already contains more Omega 6 than 3, which when these fatty acids are out of balance causes chronic inflammation.
Healthier Alternative: Add some flavor to your salads with vinaigrette or flavored olive oils..or the two together!
5. Pasta Sauce
Another store-bought inflammation-boosting food is pasta sauce. Most popular brands contain between 6 and 12 grams of sugar per half-cup. When your sugar intake increases, so does inflammation, which worsens joint pain.
Healthier Alternative: Using crushed tomatoes, make a homemade sauce. That way, you know the ingredients and quantity of each. If you don’t want to make pasta sauce every time you crave pasta, you can try canning your sauces, so they’re ready whenever you are.