Diet and Osteoarthritis: Foods to avoid for better joints health

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By Dr. Sandeep Benkal

Dr. Sandeep Benkal boasts a comprehensive fifteen-year background as an Ayurvedic doctor, with a particular specialization in skin conditions, arthritis, PCOS, and diabetes management.

BAMS, DND| 15+ Years of Experience

Diet and Osteoarthritis: Foods to avoid for better joints health

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common condition that causes severe joints pain and stiffness. While there is no cure for OA, certain dietary choices can help manage symptoms and improve joints health. Avoiding specific foods can reduce inflammation and potentially slow the progression of the disease. Here are key dietary recommendations for people battling osteoarthritis:

  1. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates

High sugar intake can lead to increased inflammation, which can worsen OA symptoms. Foods high in refined sugars and carbohydrates are:

  • Sodas and sugary drinks
  • Pastries and sweets
  • White bread and pasta
  • Corn flour and Corn Syrup

Foods to consume: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and millet products are ideal.

  1. Avoid saturated and trans fats:

Saturated and trans fats can increase inflammation and contribute to obesity, which places additional stress on the joints. Foods high in these fats include

  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Processed meats (sausages, bacon)
  • Fried foods
  • Bakery products (cookies, cakes)

Foods to consume: Choose lean proteins like chicken, fish, and plant-based protein and fibre such as legumes and tofu. Include healthy fats like olive oil and avocado in your diet.

  1. Avoid omega-6 fatty acids:

While omega-6 fatty acids are essential, an imbalance with omega-3 fatty acids can promote inflammation. Common sources of omega-6 fatty acids include

  • Corn oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Soybean oil

Foods to consume: Balance your intake by consuming more omega-3-rich foods such as salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds.

  1. Avoid high sodium foods:

A high-sodium diet can lead to water retention and increased blood pressure, which can worsen inflammation. Common high-sodium foods include

  • Processed and packaged foods
  • Canned soups and vegetables
  • Salty snacks (chips, pretzels)

Foods to consume: Choose fresh, whole foods and use herbs and spices to season your meals instead of salt. 

  1. Avoid gluten:

Gluten can be a trigger for inflammation. This is particularly true for those with a gluten intolerant or celiac disease.

Foods to consume: If you suspect gluten is an issue, try gluten-free diet and observe any changes in your symptoms. Gluten-free grains include rice, quinoa, and buckwheat.

  1. Avoid excessive alcohol:

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to inflammation and weight gain, both of which can worsen OA symptoms. 

Recommendation: Limit alcohol intake to moderate levels, such as one drink per day or avoid it totally if it triggers OA symptoms. 

All these recommendations help in the effective management of  osteoarthritis. Diet plays a significant role in reducing inflammation and maintaining a healthy weight, alleviate symptoms and improve overall joints health.

Always consult a doctor or a registered dietitian before making significant changes to your diet to ensure your nutritional needs are met. Such mindful dietary choices, can help in managing osteoarthritis and enhancing your quality of life.