It’s a well-known fact that there is no specific food that cures arthritis in all people. However, doctors know that what you eat-and in some cases, don’t eat – can help to ease the discomfort, and even slow down the progression of the disease. Arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints, consists of many diseases. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear of cartilage, the shock-absorbing material between the joints. When cartilage wears away, bone grinds against bone, causing pain and stiffness in the fingers, knees, feet,hips and back. |
A more serious form of the disease is rheumatoid arthritis. It happens when the immune system starts to attack the body, instead of protecting it. These attacks cause swelling in the membrane that lines the joints, which eventually eats away at the joints’ cartilage. This form of arthritis is most effected by your diet. The Connection between Arthritis and Fat These days, it’s hard to find an illness that is not made worse by a diet high in saturated fat. Arthritis makes no exception. A diet low in saturated fats help to reduce the production of prostaglandins, hormone like substances that contribute to inflammation. Also, a low-fat diet may disturb communications sent by the immune system, causing interruption of your body’s response to inflammation and helping to heal the joints. Some doctors recommend to limit dietary fat to no more than 25% of total calories, which no more than 7% of these calories coming from saturated fats. There is a simple way to reduce your saturated fat intake – just don’t add them to foods. When you eat a sandwich, for example, use low-fat mayonnaise, instead of the normal form. By using low-fat or fat-free butter, sour cream and cheese you can also lower your intake of saturated fats. You don’t have to cut them out of your diet completely, just cutting back can make a difference. Eating a largely vegetarian diet can also help to reduce the amount.
However, you can still get healing benefits from fish oil by eating fish two or three times a week. Canned fish like salmon, herring, and chunk light tuna are also high in omega-3.
Nutritional Triggers When we consider the fact that it has been shown that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a faulty immune system and our immune system is affected by what we eat, it’s logic that for some people, diet can make a difference in how they feel. “Diet is critical in the treatment of this form of arthritis”, according to Joel Fuhrman, MD, a specialist in nutritional medicine at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, New jersey, and author of Eat to Live. ”In populations that consume natural diets of mostly unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and grains, autoimmune diseases are almost non existent.” For people with rheumatoid arthritis, DR. Fuhrman recommends a vegan diet – which means no meat or other animal products - that also minimizes the use of wheat, salt and oils. Instead, you should eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and salads. Dr. Fuhrman also suggests including plenty of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage.
In a study at the University of Oslo, Norway, 27 people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis followed a vegetarian diet for 1 year. After 3 to 5 months, they could eat dairy products if they wished. They also avoided gluten (a protein found in wheat), refined sugar,salt, alcohol, and caffeine. After a month, their joints were less swollen and tender, and they had less problems with morning stiffness and a stronger grip than people who followed their usual diets. But more may be involved in an arthritis treating diet than just getting more fruits and vegetables. Some people are sensitive to certain foods – like wheat, dairy products, corn, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and eggs – which can switch on the body’s inflammatory response. Normally, food sensitives are rarely involved in arthritis flare-ups, says Dr. Pisetsky. Because the difficulty in determine which foods can worsen the pain of arthritis, he recommend keeping a dairy in order to keep track of what you were eating at the time that things went worse. This way you have an idea of what to avoid in the future.
Help for Wear and Tear Doctors have been thinking for years that arthritis was a “natural” result of wear and tear on the joints. However, according to a recent preliminary study, what you eat can certainly make a difference in the arthritis condition. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine studied the eating habits of people who suffered from osteoarthritis of the knee. They found that those getting the most vitamin C – more than 200 gr/day- were three times less likely to get the disease worsening than those who got the least vitamin C. ( less than 120 mg/day. Because vitamin C is an antioxidant, it may help to protect the joints from the damaging effect of free radicals, that can cause joint inflammation. “Vitamin C could also help to generate collagen, which support the ability of your body to repair the damage to the cartilage.s” according to study leader Timothy McAlindon, MD, MPH, who is now an associate professor of medicine at Tufs University School of Medicine in Boston. Dr. McAlindon recommends that people gets at least 120 mg vitamin C per day in their diets, twice the Daily Value. “That’s the amount in a couple of oranges,” he says. Other fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C include: cantaloupe, broccoli,strawberries, peppers, and cranberry juice. Apart from what you eat, osteoarthritis is also effected by your weight. There is good evidence that people who are overweight increase their risk for developing osteoarthritis, in weight-bearing joints like the knee. Research also suggests that overweight people are at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis in non-weight-bearing joints, such as those in the hands. “Losing weight leads to less pain and improved mobility,” he says.
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arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, cartilage, omega-3, vitamin-C,