5 foods to avoid to protect your joints from osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. While there is no miracle cure, certain dietary habits can contribute to worsening the symptoms of this degenerative joint disease. Discover the 5 worst foods to avoid to reduce pain and improve your quality of life.

1. Refined sugars: an insidious enemy of osteoarthritis

Excessive sugar consumption is linked to a host of health problems, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. But did you know that sugar can also aggravate the symptoms of osteoarthritis? Studies have shown that sugar causes systemic inflammation in the body, which can worsen joint pain.

How to limit refined sugars?

  • Focus on naturally sweet foods such as fruit, and avoid sweets and ultra-processed products.
  • Replace sugary drinks with still or sparkling water flavored with fruit slices.
  • Learn to read food labels and look out for added sugar terms such as glucose-fructose syrup, sucrose or maltodextrin.

By reducing your intake of refined sugars, you can not only ease the pain of osteoarthritis, but also reduce the risk of other health problems.

2. Trans fatty acids: a little-known danger to your joints

Trans-fatty acids are artificial fats created during the industrial processing of certain food products. They have been widely used in the past to improve the texture and preservation of foods, but their consumption has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis.

Where to find trans fatty acids?

  • In industrial margarines, often used to prepare pastries and other baked goods.
  • In ultra-processed ready-made meals, which may contain hydrogenated fats, a source of trans fatty acids.
  • In snacks such as potato chips and crackers.

To protect your joints, choose foods containing healthier unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils (olive, rapeseed) and oilseeds (walnuts, almonds, linseed).

3. Alcohol: an obstacle to joint healing

Excessive alcohol consumption is known to damage the health of our vital organs, but it can also aggravate osteoarthritis. Alcohol promotes the inflammatory process and can damage the cells that repair cartilage.

How to moderate alcohol consumption?

  • Drink only occasionally and in moderate quantities: no more than two glasses a day for women and three glasses a day for men.
  • Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at parties.
  • Dare to discover alcohol-free alternatives, such as mocktails or alcohol-free beers.

Limiting your alcohol intake will not only help preserve your joints, but also reduce the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

4. Purine-rich foods: a trap for your joints

Purines are substances naturally present in certain animal proteins, but they can increase uric acid levels in the body, leading to gout attacks and exacerbating osteoarthritis.

Which foods should you avoid?

  • Red meats and offal, which are high in purines.
  • Shellfish and oily fish, such as sardines and mackerel, which are also rich in purines.
  • Legumes and mushrooms, which contain moderate levels of purines.

To reduce the impact of purines on your joints, opt for vegetable proteins (tofu, quinoa, lentils) and lean fish (cod, whiting), rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

5. Salt: a condiment to be consumed in moderation to protect your joints

Excessive salt consumption can lead to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of osteoarthritis, as salt promotes water retention in the tissues around the joints, causing swelling and pain.

How can I reduce my salt intake?

  • Opt for less salty or unsalted foods, such as fresh vegetables and minimally processed fruit.
  • Gradually reduce your use of table salt and discover new spices and herbs to enhance the taste of your dishes without compromising your health.
  • Remember to rinse canned foods, such as vegetables and legumes, to remove some of the salt contained in the brine.

Knowing the dangers of these 5 foods for osteoarthritis will enable you to adapt your diet accordingly, to relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Don’t hesitate to consult a health professional or nutritionist to help you in this process.