Juvenile Arthritis: 5 Foods That Trigger Inflammation

If you have a child suffering from juvenile arthritis, it can be hard to sit back and do nothing. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to help your child feel as well as possible. While your doctor may have things covered on the medicinal front, what you feed your child can make a world of difference. Knowing what foods trigger inflammation can help with managing your child’s joint pain. Here are 5 foods that you should avoid.

Juvenile Arthritis: 5 Foods That Trigger Inflammation

1. Saturated and Trans Fats

Saturated fats have been shown to create adipose, or fat tissue inflammation, which worsens arthritis pain. The biggest culprits in the American diet are pizza, cheese, and red meat. Trans fats are also a known trigger for systemic inflammation. These are often found in fried and fast foods. Avoid these by examining the ingredients label carefully for anything containing partially hydrogenated oils.

2. Sugars and Refined Carbs

High amounts of sugar and refined carbs can trigger inflammation by releasing advanced glycation end products (AGEs), toxins that attack certain proteins in the body. The body responds to these attacks by sending cytokines to break apart these AGEs, but these cytokines are inflammatory messengers. By being aware of any hidden sugars on food labels (anything ending in “ose,” for example), as well as avoiding refined carbohydrates (breads, rolls, and crackers) you can reduce the inflammation that causes joint pain.

3. Dairy

Dairy products contain two proteins, casein and whey. These proteins have been shown to irritate the tissue around joints, leading to inflammation, especially if there is an underlying dairy allergy. By replacing dairy with vegan alternatives (such as soy milk, rice milk, etc.), you may be able to significantly reduce inflammation.

4. Salt and Preservatives

Because manufacturers want their products to last longer on the shelf, they pack them with salt and other preservatives. There’s a long list of problems associated with excessive salt consumption — and inflammation is definitely one of them. Avoid buying foods with high sodium content, and reduce the salt you add to your foods. This will help prevent inflammation.

5. Omega-6 Fatty Acids

You’re probably used to hearing about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, of which there are many. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are meant to balance out, in a 2:1 ratio (omega-3 to omega-6). This balance controls the body’s inflammation — omega-6s raise inflammation, while omega-3s reduce it. Because most people tend to consume more omega-6 fatty acids in their diet, it can lead to increased inflammation. If you’re trying to limit inflammation, it’s a good idea to avoid such oils as corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable.

Knowing the foods that commonly trigger inflammation can help you manage your child’s pain more effectively. While it might be an adjustment for both you and your child, the rewards are worth it.

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