Holiday Foods and Holiday…Knee Pain?

Holiday Foods and Holiday…Knee Pain? 645d5173ccf4b.png

Holiday foods can be lovely and enjoyable, but for those of us suffering from knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, some of these holiday foods can be problematic.

In fact, many of these foods contain ingredients that can actually wreak havoc on our bodies, leading to increased inflammation, and as a result, increased stiffness and pain.

Though in a perfect world, the best thing to do would be to cut out these foods entirely, in reality, that usually doesn’t work.

In fact, not only does a restrictive diet create feelings of deprivation, but more often than not, this approach just leads to an episode of overeating.

But who wants to go to a holiday party and avoid all the sweet treats and seasonal foods?

Not only is it not enjoyable to do this, but being too restrictive can also cause moodiness and irritability, which isn’t quite the holiday spirit.

So let’s take a look at one of the biggest culprits for increased inflammation and pain, which is in abundance during the holidays. And, let’s look at a few solutions and suggestions on how to enjoy some of these foods while keeping inflammation at bay.


SUGAR

For many people, the worst food for inflammation is sugar- which is available in spades during the holiday season.

Sugar causes the body to release cytokines, which are chemicals that send messages to the body that trigger an inflammatory response.

But it’s not just the sugar in cookies and cakes that’s the problem,  it’s also the sugar that is jam-packed in soda and certain alcoholic beverages.

Overindulgence in sugary foods and beverages can leave the joints feeling stiffer, and the body feeling weaker and more fatigued the next day.

In fact, many people report that they experience something akin to a hangover after consuming sugary foods, even when no alcoholic beverages were consumed.

So what’s the solution then? Should we avoid sugar completely, or consume only artificial sweeteners?

Avoiding or limiting the number of sugary foods is the best solution, and so is- avoiding artificial sweeteners.

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

When it comes to reducing inflammation cutting out or reducing our sugar intake is necessary, as is cutting out artificial sweeteners.

The problem with artificial sweeteners is that the chemicals they contain confuse the body and cause it to respond to this foreign substance by attacking it. As a result, this leads the body to have an inflammatory response, which results in the emergence of the painful symptoms that go along with that.

One of the biggest culprits when it comes to consuming artificial sweeteners is drinking diet soda.

Aspartame, which is made up of three chemicals- aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol is found in many diet sodas, and is a recipe for disaster when it comes to increasing inflammation and knee pain.

In fact, most research shows that if you’re going to eat something sweet, you’re better off with something that contains actual sugar- although a natural sugar such as that found in fruit, would be a whole lot better- and believe it or not, it too can actually satisfy your sweet tooth.

But it’s not just sweet treats that need to be consumed in moderation. It’s also processed meats and refined carbohydrates– Yes, we’re talking about you ham, bacon, and sausage. And we’re talking about you- white bread, pasta, cakes, and pies.

In our next article, we will take a look at the impact that processed meats can have on knee osteoarthritis pain by way of increased inflammation. And, we will offer some suggestions to help you maintain that holiday spirit, without rigid restrictions and deprivation.

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