Foods (and Drinks) to Avoid with Arthritis

What about the foods that you should avoid or eat in very small amounts? These healthy diet destroyers include:

  • Saturated fats, which are found in things like butter, lard and meats, are linked with the creation of cholesterol.
  • Trans fats, also linked to high cholesterol, can be found in some processed foods such as crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods and baked goods. Look for the words “no trans fats” on food labels before purchasing.
  • Salt or sodium, which can elevate blood pressure, is found primarily in processed food. The Nutritional Guidelines recommend that people with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease consume 1,500 milligrams (mg) – about ½ teaspoon – of sodium each day. Everyone else should aim for 2,300 mg or less. Most Americans currently get 3,000 to 4,000 mg each day. Check food labels for sodium content before purchasing.
  • Sugars, whether added to coffee or in processed foods and sodas, are empty calories, with no nutritional value, and add calories to your daily total. As a guide, a 2,000-calorie daily diet should include about 32 grams, or 8 teaspoons, of sugar. One 12-ounce soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar.   
  • Alcohol also offers empty calories. Aim for moderate alcohol intake – no more than one drink (12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1½ ounces of distilled alcohol) per day for women and two a day for men.

Overall, a healthy arthritis diet eating plan means a shift away from red meat and high-fat dairy to more plant-based foods, including vegetables, dried (but cooked) beans and peas, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains. To get your protein and calcium, increase amounts of seafood, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Become familiar with nutrition labels on prepared foods, which will help you choose foods low in saturated and trans fats, sodium and added sugars.