Arthritis diet: Three foods you eat every day that may ‘trigger your symptoms’ – warning

Arthritis: Doctor gives advice on best foods to help ease pain

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Arthritis is an umbrella term for a range of joint complaints but the two most common in the UK are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although these conditions differ in important ways (the latter is caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue), they are both characterised by inflammation of the connective tissues, ligaments or tendons surrounding the joint, which is what causes your joint pain.

Countering this inflammation can help to relieve the symptoms of arthritis and diet is a great place to start.

“There are certain foods which might trigger your symptoms by setting off an inflammatory response in the body,” warns Holland and Barrett.

These include refined carbohydrates such as white pasta, white bread, sugary foods (including fruit juice and other natural sugars), and saturated fats, notes the health body.

In fact, saturated fats have been singled out for their destructive effects.

Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats and cheese. It has been linked to heart disease and a host of other serious conditions.

The harmful fat has been shown to play a role in the development of osteoarthritis.

Scientists at Queensland University of Technology found it changed the composition of cartilage, particularly in the weight-bearing joints of the hip and knee.

This may lead to the onset of osteoarthritis, they warned.

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The researchers studied the effects on joints of diets rich in a variety of saturated fatty acids found in such foods as butter, coconut oil, palm oil and animal fat, and simple carbohydrates.

Our findings suggest that it’s not wear and tear but diet that has a lot to do with the onset of osteoarthritis,” study lead Professor Yin Xiao said.

“The main function of cartilage is to seal the bone ends in a joint and absorb pressure on the bones during weight-bearing movement such as walking.”

Prof Xiao continued: “We found that a diet containing simple carbohydrates together with 20 percent saturated fats produced osteoarthritic-like changes in the knee.

“Saturated fatty acid deposits in the cartilage change its metabolism and weaken the cartilage, making it more prone to damage. This would, in turn, lead to osteoarthritic pain from the loss of the cushioning effect of cartilage.

“We also found changes in the bone under the cartilage on a diet rich in saturated fat.”

PhD student Sunder Sekar said the team tested lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil.

“Interestingly, when we replaced the meat fat in the diet with lauric acid we found decreased signs of cartilage deterioration and metabolic syndrome so it seems to have a protective effect,” Mr Sekar said.

He said fatty acids could cause tissue inflammation in the entire “joint environment”.

“We tested a variety of saturated fats and found that long term use of animal fat, butter, and palm oil could weaken the cartilage.

“Replacement of traditional diets containing coconut-derived lauric acid with palm oil-derived palmitic acid or animal fat-derived stearic acid has the potential to worsen the development of both metabolic syndrome and osteoarthritis.”

Prof Xiao’s previous research found that antioxidants and anti-cholesterol drugs could slow the progression of joint damage caused by fatty acids.

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