Corn, Sunflower, Safflower, Soybean, and Cottonseed Oils
You’ve probably heard of the mighty omega-3 fatty acids—the molecules that make salmon and walnuts so good for you. But have you heard of omega-6 fatty acids? You’re probably eating way too much of them. Since omega-6 fatty acids are found in soybean oil, and soybean oil is used in just about every packaged food you pluck from grocery store shelves, the typical American diet can contain up to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. That out-of-whack ratio could be messing with your joints—research shows any ratio bigger than 10 to 1 can cause problems like asthma, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation. Researchers suggest anyone with rheumatoid arthritis get their ratio down to 2 or 3 to 1. This actually suppressed inflammation in study participants with the condition. Omega-6 fatty acids are also found in fried foods, margarine, egg yolks, and meats.
Even diet soda has its downsides. But the supersweet stuff is no boon for your health, either. In addition to putting you at risk for diabetes and heart disease, sugar consumption can trigger the release of inflammatory “messengers” called cytokines, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. When researchers analyzed data from two large studies spanning 30 years, they found a link between soda consumption and arthritis risk. Women who drank one soda or more daily had a 63% greater risk of arthritis than those who didn’t drink it at all.