Arthritis Diet

. . . less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!

Arthritis Diet:
If you're looking for that magical food that will rid you of arthritis or that might be the culprit in making it worse, you'll find convincing claims — but not a lot of solid scientific research to back them up.

"Good" controlled research trial data is lacking to suggest that any one food or vitamin supplement has a significant impact directly on the pain or progression of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is joint trauma that usually affects single joints in the body such as the knees and hips. The research is more plentiful in the area of rheumatoid arthritis, however, where studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids which are found in cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as olive oil, walnuts and flax, may have a positive impact on the disease because of their potential anti-inflammatory effect.

. . . The anti-inflammatory diet. While widespread research has not proven that natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids can help osteoarthritis, some experts think there is a link between what people eat and inflammation in the body, including joint inflammation.

. . . Omega-3's are good all-around. Omega-3's are recomended for people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Natural sources of omega-3's are better than omega-3 vitamin supplements. That's because fish provides you with nutritional benefits that supplements do not. Those include less saturated fat and high-quality protein. Also, supplements cannot make up for poor dietary habits. Fish oil or omega-3's also come in gel caps, which you can find at your health food or vitamin store.

A study published in Rheumatology International in 2003 showed that people following a typical Western diet with a fish oil supplement did not gain as much benefit as those following a primarily plant-based diet with the supplement.

If you choose the supplement route, take only up to 2,000 milligrams a day to avoid any side effects, ranging from excessive bruising to stroke.

The adequate daily intake is 1,100 milligrams. To put this into perspective, one 3-ounce serving of salmon contains 1,800 milligrams, 1 ounce of walnuts has 2,600 milligrams and 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed has 3,200 milligrams.

. . . Stock up on olive oil. Olive oil is recommended for people with arthritis. High olive oil consumption, she says, is linked in studies to lower incidences of rheumatoid arthritis.

Try one-half to 1 tablespoon a day. Olive oil can be added to vegetables or salads in place of other fats. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2005 found that a diet that’s high in omega-3's and olive oil resulted in more overall health improvements. Mediterranean cultures that eat fish and olive oil regularly have a much lower incidence of arthritis.

Olive oil provides the monounsaturated fatty acid, which then replaces some of the saturated or polyunsaturated fats in the diet. By having more of this monounsaturated fat, it changes how the body responds, or lowers the inflammation levels in the body.

. . . Vegetarian or meat? Avoiding meats and following a predominately vegetarian diet might help some people with arthritis. The theory is that meats, including red meats and poultry skins, are filled with saturated fats, which promote inflammation in the body.

. . . Taking vitamin D and calcium. don't help directly with arthritis, but they help build stronger bones in both men and women, which lessens the chances for a fracture later in life. Injury and trauma to joints can lead to osteoarthritis. Calcium-rich and calcium-fortified foods, as well as supplements, are great sources. Sun exposure helps to get the needed vitamin D.

. . . Cut out omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. Consider cutting out foods with these bad fats that are typically found in prepared foods such as snack chips, crackers and cookies. While they might not directly impact your arthritis, they will affect your heart health and weight — even your chance of diabetes. Increased weight could affect your joint health, and some believe these foods promote inflammation.

. . . What’s good or bad. Whether certain foods affect your arthritis is an individual thing, many experts say. Often, the best way to find out is to eat a certain food that you suspect might affect your arthritis and see how you feel in the morning.

If you're stiffer than usual, try cutting out that food and see if you feel better. There are all sorts of foods that are reputed to cause flairs of pain and stiffness in some people.

Some believe that the nightshade plants promote inflammation, although studies are lacking to suggest which, if any, of these foods results in more inflammation. Nightshades contain a chemical that interferes with an enzyme called cholinesterase, which allows nerves and muscles to relax. The chemical can lead to muscle spasm, aches, pains, tenderness, inflammation and a stiff body. These symptoms may dissipate in a few hours or days if ingestion of the particular offending food is stopped.

If you suffer from arthritis, you should keep a food diary to identify foods that may trigger worsening of symptoms.

. . . Sure thing. People with diabetes would benefit from working to achieve a healthy body weight through diet and exercise.

If you lose a little bit of weight — 15 pounds — you can decrease your pain by as much as 50 percent. That's better than any drug that are out there. Studies shoe that every pound you gain is like 4 pounds across your knees.

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. . . less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!