May is Arthritis Awareness Month and chances are you know at least one person living with joint pain or joint disease. Arthritis affects millions of Americans of all ages, causing pain and debilitation in joints and, occasionally, in the body’s connective tissues. From the wrist to the knees, hips, fingers and even skin, the pain of arthritis can take a huge toll on a person’s quality of life. And unfortunately there is no cure.
Awareness is key when it comes to any ailment and arthritis is no exception. Scientists are actively studying arthritis, and with each passing year, they discover new things that can lead to more effective treatments. It’s no surprise that sugar, saturated and trans fats, omega-6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrates and MSG aren’t the MVPs of nutrition. However, do you know what goodies they’re hiding in or why they are a nightmare for arthritis sufferers? Learn more about the irritating effects of these five foods:
Processed sugars can cause inflammation; they trigger the release of peptides called cytokines. Processed sugars can be found in foods like chocolate cake, butter cookies, cereal and even dried fruit.
Saturated and Trans Fats
Saturated and trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are two of the culprits behind fat tissue inflammation as well as systemic inflammation, worsening arthritis inflammation. These fats can be found in foods like frozen pizza, doughnuts, French fries or vegetable shortening.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Your body needs omega-6 fatty acids to develop and grow. However, digesting too much omega-6 fatty acids can produce pro-inflammatory chemicals. It’s all about finding the right balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3, found in oily fish or nuts, can aid in inflammation reduction. Omega-6 can be found in oils such as mayonnaise, soy, peanut and corn.
Refined carbohydrates fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products; AGE elicits inflammation. Refined carbs can be found in foods like white potatoes, white flour as well as white bread.
MSG can stimulate two critical, chronic inflammation pathways. This food additive can be found in foods like soup mixes, salad dressings and deli meats.
For more information on nutrition counseling, please contact the Wellness Education Center, 985.493.4765.