There are nearly 200 types of arthritis identified by medical science but they all involve inflammation of the joints. naproxen uk If you have any type of arthritis, then you probably suffer with varying degrees of joint pain and stiffness.
Some days are no doubt worse than others. It seems to be a well known fact that weather can play a pivotal role in how bad the pain may be on any given day.
However, few people seem to understand that food can be even more important in triggering arthritic flare ups.
Each person’s body is different. Foods that may trigger arthritis flare ups in one person may not affect another person. The intensity of the flare up for a particular food is often different between two people as well. For example, arthritic inflammation may become much worse when person A eats just a single helping of corn.
However, in person B, they may have to go on a major corn binge to be affected. Other arthritis sufferers may not be affected by corn at all but they may be extremely sensitive to gluten or sugar.
In order to pinpoint which food(s) trigger more severe arthritis symptoms in your specific body, you will first need to eliminate all the main foods known to trigger arthritic episodes in other people. Once you have eliminated these from your body completely, you can then begin slowly adding them back into your diet, one at a time, to determine which food(s) make your arthritis symptoms worse.
During this entire process, it is very important that you keep a detailed food journal.
You need to record every single food and drink that you put in your mouth including every item you ingest at every meal plus all snacks in between meals. You should try to avoid eating grocery store samples or nibbling on foods at work or at social events during this elimination period.
However, if you do sample something, even if it is only one bite, be sure to record that food in your food diary. In your notes, be as specific as you possibly can be. Include the brand, the variety, what oil you prepared it in, whether or not the food was organic, where you bought it, what spices were included, a rough idea of how much you ate, and any other details you can think of.
The more detail the better as you are going to be playing detective to determine which foods make your arthritis worse and the more detail you have to work with the better.
Below is a list of all the foods you should temporarily eliminate from your diet completely. Try to avoid these foods for at least two weeks before you start slowly adding them back in one by one. A month or more would be even better to make sure they are completely out of your system.
You may think this is a radical diet but please remember that it is only temporary and it is the best method to determine what is triggering your arthritis pain in your specific body.
Once you determine which foods trigger your worst symptoms, you can likely add many of these foods back into your diet.
Avoid All Corn and Corn Products
Corn is a very common trigger for inflammation. This may be due to the fact that we are now consuming mostly genetically modified corn, unless it is organically grown.
Be sure to avoid anything with corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, and corn tortillas or any other corn product made with ground corn.
Avoid All Forms Of Sugar
Sugar is another very common trigger for arthritis and other types of inflammation.
Avoid all forms of sugar including white sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, pancake syrup, honey, glucose, and fructose. Avoid artificial sugars as well as they can really play havoc on your body.
Avoid All Oils Except Olive Oil and Coconut Oil
Do not use canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, corn oil, seed oils, and any other oils except a little olive oil and coconut oil and, at least temporarily, use these sparingly. Try to use high quality organic unrefined versions of olive oil and coconut oil.
Temporarily avoid nuts and avocados too as they contain high levels of oil.
Yes, these are normally considered very healthy foods but it is possible these oils could be triggering arthritic pain in your specific body, albeit less likely than other items on this list.
Avoid All Foods Containing Gluten
Most breads, pastas, grains, and cereals contain gluten. This includes granola bars too. The breading on fried foods usually contains gluten as well. Grains include oats, barley, rye, bran, cream of wheat (farina), spelt, semolina, couscous, bulgar, kamut, orzo, and of course wheat.
Rice and quinoa do not contain gluten but be careful to obtain these foods from sources where they are not contaminated with gluten at the packaging factory. Since many baked goods and cereals that claim to be “gluten-free” still contain traces of gluten and sugar, you should avoid these as well.
Vitamins and some medications use gluten as a binding material. Malted flavorings, modified food starch, and many other additives also contain gluten. Beer has gluten as well.
Avoid All Processed Foods
If the food comes in a box, a can, or a package with a USDA food label, it is most likely a processed food.
Fast food and deli food should be considered processed foods for the purpose of this elimination diet. Processed foods contain additives, preservatives, genetically modified foods, and other hidden ingredients that can trigger inflammation such as various forms of sugar and gluten.
Processed foods include bottled sauces, salad dressings, gravies, and blended spice packets.
Avoid All Diary Products
Diary products are one of the most common triggers for arthritis flare ups. These include milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir, butter, and ice cream.
Avoid All Nightshade Family Vegetables
Nightshade vegetables promote inflammation in a small but significant percentage of people afflicted with arthritis. The most commonly eaten nightshade vegetables include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, tomatillos, goji berries, sweet peppers, and hot peppers.
Black pepper is not in the nightshade family. Remember, this also includes tomato and pepper condiments like ketchup, salsa, and tomato sauce.
Avoid All Citrus Fruit
This includes oranges, tangerines, tangelos, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and juices made from any of these fruits.
Avoid Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Pork, and Other Meat
At least for the first two weeks, try to eat a strictly vegetarian diet, except small servings of baked or poached fish.
What Can You Eat During This Period?
Eat lots of fresh organic vegetables other than the nightshade ones listed above and fruits other than citrus. Make sure to include big servings of a variety of fresh greens like spinach, kale, mustard greens, and cabbage.
You can eat organic rice and organic quinoa as your grains to accompany your vegetables.
You could also make tabouli substituting quinoa for bulgar wheat and using large quantities of green herbs like parsley, cilantro, and mint. Onions, garlic, squash, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, celery, and carrots are all recommended.
You can also have small servings of fish but try to avoid seafood at first. Beans and bean soups are an ideal choice during this food elimination period. Banana smoothies with other fruits added are a good choice too. Just remember not to add milk or yogurt. Quinoa makes for a tasty hot breakfast cereal too as it has a subtle nutty flavor.
Start Adding Eliminated Foods Back Into Your Diet
After 2-4 weeks of eliminating all common trigger foods, start adding them back into your diet one at a time. Do this as slowly as you can and record the results in your food diary.
If your arthritis symptoms worsen during this period when you add a particular food, be sure to record this in your food diary and include a description of how bad it gets and how much you ate.
It is important to add these potential trigger foods in one at a time because if you add multiple potential trigger foods back in all at once and you have an episode of pain, it will be impossible to know which one triggered the response.
For meat and diary, try adding only organic at first, preferably the grass fed variety if you can find it.
Non-organic meat and meat products (includes all dairy and eggs) contain antibiotics and hormones that may be triggering your arthritis symptoms, not the actual meat or meat byproducts. You can separate these two variables by first only eating organic meat and meat products, including eggs and dairy, as this will eliminate all possibility of hormones or antibiotics.
If you don’t react to this, you can later try non-organic and see if that evokes a negative response.
It would also be a wise idea when introducing corn, gluten, vegetable oils, and nightshade vegetables back into your diet, to only eat organic, at least for a while. This would eliminate the possibility of genetically modified foods being the source of your arthritis problems as USDA certified organic foods are not allowed to contain any genetically modified ingredients.
This is especially important for corn and soy products. After restricting your diet to only organic for a month or two, you can slowly add in non-organic just to see if that triggers anything.
However, eating organic has other benefits as well.
In some people, seafood including shellfish, shrimp, and crab can trigger inflammation, especially if you are prone to gout. It is very rare for fish to have this effect but you may want to keep a watch on this as well. With seafood, the original source of the seafood is particularly important. Farmed versus wild is also very important.
People that react to citrus usually do so with just a little so start really small. Perhaps eat half an orange or drink 4 ounces of orange juice and see if you react. Some people are fine with lemons but not oranges so test each citrus out separately.
Regarding gluten, some people only react if they eat a lot of gluten. The same is true for milk and meat.
You will want consider quantity very carefully.
Start small, and at first, only eat it once in a week and see if that triggers anything. If not, add progressively more and see if this makes your arthritis more severe.
Gluten sensitive people are usually more sensitive to certain sources of gluten so keep very careful track of which one(s) you are eating.
Also, gluten is often an accumulated effect so the reaction to it after you have cleansed your body, may not kick in right away. This is where you food diary can really help you in your detective work as you try to trace the history of what you have eaten.
Hopefully, this elimination approach to your diet for arthritis sufferers will help you pinpoint exactly which foods are causing your arthritis flare ups. It should also help you determine which ones are the most harmful so you can avoid those completely.