Potential Food Culprits. Part 2Tuesday, July 24, 2012 11:16
- Citrus fruits – These include oranges, lemons and grapefruit.
- Nuts – Peanuts can be especially troublesome.
- Dairy products – It is difficult to determine whether it is lactose intolerance (the inability to digest milk sugar), the fat or the sugar (in such products as ice cream) that may cause flares. NIAMS cites uncontrolled studies reporting increased pain in some patients consuming dairy products and a milk-free diet leading to improvement within three weeks.
- Sweets – Sweets and high concentrations of processed sugar are often reported to cause flares. Control that sweet tooth by avoiding sugary desserts and beverages. Of course, this also helps with weight control.
- Chocolate – It’s not only sweet, but also high in fat and it contains caffeine.
- Fats – Fats are sometimes associated with flares and cause weight gain. Avoid saturated fats and fried foods.
- Salt – Sodium can aggravate pain or swelling and increase water retention. Leave the salt shaker off the table and out of your cooking. Buy low-sodium foods.
- Caffeine – Arthritics often avoid coffee, black tea and colas and not just because it aggravates joint pain. Scientists at Washington State University found that caffeine causes above normal calcium loss through excretion. Since arthritis and some arthritis medications can threaten bone health, losing calcium should be avoided.
- Smoked or processed meats – These contain nitrates as preservatives, which were found to aggravate arthritis symptoms in a food allergy study at the University of Florida.
- Alcohol – Like caffeine, alcohol can weaken bones as well as aggravate joint swelling in some people. The Arthritis Foundation warns that alcohol may contribute to osteoporosis.
- Additives and preservatives – Many arthritis sufferers avoid these chemicals, which are put in foods to give them longer shelf lives and brighter color. They include artificial colors, artificial flavorings and acidifiers. Be alert for harmless sounding labels such as “natural flavoring” (often MSG) and identify ingredients specifically.
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