The term arthritis refers to a variety of conditions that affect and damage different joints in the body. There is a relationship between diet and arthritis. A person's diet can influence their arthritis by either exaggerating or alleviating their symptoms.
Arthritis and diet
Increase your intake of oily fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines and cod liver oil supplements. Foods rich in Vitamin C help. These include peaches, oranges, kiwifruit, gooseberry, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe and strawberries.
Vitamin E is important. Studies show that young to middle aged women in the United States take less than 90% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin E. It can be taken in the form of vegetable oils, unsalted nuts, oil seeds, legumes and grains such as corn, wheat, rice, barley grass and oats and wheat germ oil.
Anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric and ginger are beneficial. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Studies report that a vegetarian diet is a better choice.
Nightshade vegetables such as potatoes, capsicums, eggplant, and tomatoes may aggravate your symptoms as do foods high in saturated fat such as milk and dairy products, baked food, red meats such as beef, pork and lamb. Tropical oils such as coconut oil, palm kernel oil and palm oil are not recommended for those suffering from arthritis.
Low fiber diets are usually associated with arthritis. Increase your intake of fiber rich food such as red kidney beans, lentil soup, bran flakes, apple, brown rice and whole grain bread.
Arthritis patients usually suffer from acidity which leads to greater inflammation. If this is a problem, reduce your intake of acid forming foods such as vinegar, alcohol, sugar, coffee, meat and dairy products.
Whole unprocessed foods help fight against free radicals, repair the bone and muscles and have a variety of other health benefits including helping decrease inflammation. On the contrary, commercially processed foods such as corn fed meat, dairy products and shellfish indirectly increase acidity.
Rheumatoid arthritis diet
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory, auto immune disease that affects the joints. People with rheumatoid arthritis must firstly avoid foods that cause inflammation and allergy.
Food items with 'good' fat help decrease inflammation and help people with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Foods rich in antioxidants such as Brussels sprouts, cranberries, blueberries, broccoli, peppers, oranges, spinach and strawberries reduce inflammation. Drink a few cups of green tea every day; its effectiveness in preventing the onset of arthritis is also being studied.
Eat food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as eggs, salmon, mackerel, and herring, canola and flaxseed oil. People with rheumatoid arthritis may have low levels of Vitamin E. Combat this with adequate intake of kiwifruit, whole grains, collard greens, dark leafy lettuces and nuts such as almonds and sunflower seeds.
People with rheumatoid Arthritis especially need plenty of calcium. Milk and other diary products are rich sources. However those who are allergic to dairy products can opt for tofu, soy, cereals and calcium fortified juices.
Protein is essential for strong muscles and a strong immune system. Chicken, fish, eggs, beans and lean red meat are good sources.
Although diet is important, it is not the only solution. Diet must be coupled with exercise at least four or five times a week for marked improvement and increased mobility. It can also help prevent other illnesses which accompany rheumatoid arthritis such as diabetes and heart disease. However, you must avoid exercising those joints that are actively inflamed.
Food rich in Vitamin E such as corn, beef, egg yolk, nuts, wheat germ and sunflower oil are recommended as they help restore damaged tissues due to smoking or stress.
Osteoarthritis patients may be allergic to fish and other meat products. Hence it is essential to find alternate products that provide adequate nutrients.
Green vegetables, seaweed, soy products, carrots, avocado, barley, wheat, sprouts, brown rice, pecans, millet and oat are ideal for those allergic to meat or those who opt for a vegetarian diet.
Avoid foods high in salt such as salted snacks and nuts, sauces and pickles. Coffee, alcohol, sugar, saturated food, margarine, plums and cranberries are better avoided.
Vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits, melon, kiwi fruit, pineapple, strawberries, oranges and blueberries are essential dietary components.
Silicon helps strengthen bones. Foods rich in silicon include whole grain cereals, apples, oranges, cherries, raisins, almonds, raw cabbage, onions, eggplants and pumpkin.
Intake of copper and zinc is also important to reduce inflammation of the cartilage of joints. It is available in oysters, crabs, almond, mushrooms, lamb, pork, egg yolk, beef, liver and pumpkin seeds.
Dairy products, processed foods with preservatives and excess salt and acidity causing food should be avoided. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils and refined foods are better avoided. Ginger and turmeric are good for relieving osteoarthritis symptoms.
People who are obese must try to attain the right weight to prevent the occurrence of osteoarthritis. Maintaining an ideal body weight is important for controlling and even preventing osteoarthritis. Healthy eating can help achieve this. Hence dietary modifications and exercise after consulting a dietician and a physiotherapist is recommended.