Did you know that the foods you eat on a daily basis might actually be contributing to your arthritis pain?
Believe it or not, the dietary choices you make can have a big impact on the amount of pain you experience. Luckily, by knowing which foods can cause the most inflammation and discomfort, you can begin to avoid the vicious and debilitating pain cycle caused by your osteoarthritis.
1. Sugar, why do you hurt me so good?
Sugar. You crave it for no reason. Or so you think. It may come as no surprise that sugar is a culprit in creating addictive behaviors as the body releases the feel-good chemicals known as endorphins (namely dopamine and opioids). Refined sugar, in particular, is highly stimulating. Aside from insatiable cravings, it can also lead to many different health issues, including its active role in increasing inflammation. This inflammation occurs through a fairly complex process -- when you eat sugar it increases your blood glucose level. Then, in turn, this increase in blood sugar raises insulin. When this happens, inflammatory "messengers" known as cytokines are released, telling the body to launch an immune response that attacks cells and causes the pain and discomfort associated with inflammation. Kicking your sugar habit can greatly reduce the pain you experience with your arthritis.
2. Gluten (aka sugar in disguise)
Gluten, a protein found in many common grains in the average diet can be a major contributor to the body's inflammatory process. The majority of inflammation-causing gluten is found in wheat -- a staple of the Western diet. It can also be found in smaller quantities in grains such as barley, rye, spelt, and semolina.
Gluten is processed into sugars by the body, leading to the eventual release of cytokines, as mentioned above. You don't have to have celiac disease to still feel the effects of gluten on your osteoarthritis. A staggering 18 million people suffer from some level of gluten sensitivity. Many people suffer from a mild to moderate gluten intolerance, meaning they may not experience the full-blown range of symptoms but can still feel some of the inflammatory effects.
Luckily, there are many substitutes that make it possible to cut some -- if not all -- of the gluten out of your diet. When you're tempted to grab a bagel and schmear, consider going the gluten-free route or swap out that tortilla in your favorite lunch wrap with lettuce leaves. Opting for a piece of fruit instead of a cookie can actually help alleviate inflammation. Your joints may just thank you!
3. Processed fast food, the usual suspect
Fast food is no stranger to topping the "worst-of" list. Your body simply isn't designed to eat foods that have been processed and contain trans-fatty acids (one of the biggest culprits when it comes to causing rampant inflammation). Obviously, French fries are jockeying for the unflattering title of "most offensive fast food" but other fried foods -- such as chicken nuggets, hamburgers and "fusion foods" (think a taco filled with fried chicken) -- can take their toll. Many of these foods, even if they don't contain trans fats, are cooked in oils such as peanut or soybean oil. These oils are high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which have been linked to inflammation. You may find yourself with a midnight craving for a shake and fries but keep in mind that you may be setting yourself up for a world of hurt -- literally.
4. Barbecued or blackened foods can be good food turned dangerous
Who doesn't love a good barbecue? There's nothing quite like the flavor that is imparted when something is cooked over an open flame. There is also nothing quite like the arthritis flare-ups that you might experience when you consume these foods.
When you eat meats (and even veggies) that are cooked at very high temperatures, a strange thing happens -- Advanced Glycation End byproducts (AGEs) are produced. These harmful byproducts are unrecognized by your body as anything it wants to deal with, so it throws up an inflammatory response to combat this "invader." Unfortunately, when this happens it can manifest in your joints as arthritis (not to mention causing serious problems for diabetics).
5. Nightshade vegetables, just when you thought you were being healthy.
You may be wondering what in the world vegetables might have to do with inflammation -- especially since they're usually credited with reducing it, not causing it. While this is mostly true, there are some veggies that can cause inflammatory responses in people with nightshade sensitivities. Nightshade vegetables include things like tomatoes, potatoes (but not sweet potatoes or yams), eggplant, peppers, goji berries, and tomatillos.
Nightshade vegetables contain alkaloids which, if present in high concentrations, can affect calcium metabolism and absorption. This calcium can actually end up depositing on soft tissues (such as tendons and ligaments) and in your joints, leading to an inflammatory response. If you suspect you might have a nightshade sensitivity, you should talk to your endocrinologist or rheumatologist about sensitivity testing or elimination diets.
So, what should you do about it?
Sadly, there is no magic bullet for curing or completely preventing your arthritis pain.
All of the foods above can contribute in varying degrees to osteoarthritis, so by limiting or eliminating their consumption, you are on your way to managing your arthritis pain in the best way possible -- naturally and from the inside out.
And the truth is, if you're not strategic about what you eat you're not doing everything you can to help relieve your pain.
Disclaimer here: we recommend talking to a doctor, nutritionist, or another professional before making any sudden lifestyle changes like a diet change. That said, ask your doc for support in making a change safely. Then, try changing what you eat for 30 days and see how you feel.
How to go beyond just diet
Removing the bad stuff from your diet is one weapon to fight pain naturally. Delivering natural healing substances from the outside is another.
People who pair solid nutrition with a high quality, 100% natural pain relief cream typically see the best results when it comes to relieving joint pain and preventing flare-ups. The trick is routine and repetition. That means consistent good nutrition and application of a cream that is safe and gentle enough to use every day.
And that's exactly how and why You Plus Relief (shown above) was created. It's designed to deliver quick relief without the harsh chemicals and useless fillers of other creams.