What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is the name given to those diseases or disorders that affect the body’s joints. Around 200 rheumatic diseases come under the term arthritis. The most common types include osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), fibromyalgia, and gout. Arthritis is a health condition that affects the joints, bones, and muscles. It can also cause many problems with the general state of one’s health. Over 50 million Americans are diagnosed with arthritis or some other disease that is caused by arthritis. Arthritis can cause extreme pain in the joints. Joints affected are located in the ankles, elbows, feet, toes, hips, knees, shoulders, back, hands, and fingers. Because there is no particular treatment for arthritis, people diagnosed with the condition should treat their body with care. Exercise with a therapist and rest often.
Arthritis and Diet
Diet plays a crucial role in arthritis disorders. There is no food that can magically cure arthritis. However, adding and avoiding certain food items from your daily menu can deliver some positive results. For example, people with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis seem to benefit from an increased intake of omega-3 fats, found in oily fish such as sardines and salmon, while gout sufferers may benefit from avoiding foods that are high in purines, including offal, shellfish, and beer. Always seek the advice of your doctor or dietitian before changing your diet.
What to Avoid?
Arthritis cannot be prevented if the affected person has a family history of the disease. Once a patient is diagnosed with arthritis, it may be necessary to make some changes to their lifestyle. One of the more important changes that will need to be made is to the patient’s diet. There are many foods that can assist in the prevention of arthritis or help cope with the disease. However, there are certain foods that should be avoided, these foods include:
Fried and Processed Food
Fried and processed food such as fried meat, frozen meals, and processed meat should be avoided. Instead, add more fruit and vegetable to your menu. Cutting out processed foods from your menu is found to reduce inflammation and restore the natural defense mechanism of the body.
Every type of sugar should be avoided. Reduce the intake of white flour products and baking soda to reduce pain in the joints caused by arthritis. Sugar is a high glycemic substance which can worsen inflammation.
Dairy products may also increase pain and irritation to the tissue around the joints. Get your daily proteins from spinach, nuts, beans, and quinoa. Besides fat content, the diary protein in some people is found to irritate the tissue around the joints. Avoiding dairy products can result in quick improvement within few weeks.
Alcohol is a high-risk factor for gout. Alcohol also may interfere with the effectiveness of some pain medications, potentially increasing the pain that is experienced.
Cigarettes are a high-risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers believe that smoking stimulates faulty immune functioning if you already have certain genetic factors that make you more likely to develop RA.
What to Follow?
There is no fully established diet plans for patients with arthritis, but there are some diet tips that can be used to ease the symptoms. These tips include:
- Reducing the intake of fatty foods.
- Eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Introducing low-fat cheese or yogurt into your daily diet.
- A daily intake of calcium that is nearly 1.000 milligrams.
- Consuming foods with iron prevents anemia that is common with arthritis.
- Eating more natural foods and avoiding conserved foods. Conserved foods contain a lot of salt and preservatives that can make the symptoms of arthritis worse.
The diet that can prevent arthritis includes:
- A lot of Mediterranean food (olives, olive oil, whole grain pasta, tomatoes, and fish).
- Raw cherry juice has been known to reduce inflammation.
- Spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, Himalayan salt and so on.
- Omega-3 supplements (powdered or capsule).
The patient should add more natural fibers to the daily menu. It is recommended to eat brown rice instead of white rice, since white rice lacks beneficial fibers. Beans like lentils, black beans, and lima beans are also a great source of natural fibers. Any bread and pasta that is eaten should be made of whole grain flour. Different nuts that are high in fiber include almonds, walnuts, and pecans. The daily dose of nuts is 1.5 ounces. Combine fish, baked potatoes, and dark green vegetable for a well-balanced lunch. Eat fish two to three times a week. You can eat fruits and vegetables as much as you like. The best way to eat fruits and vegetables is raw. Eating fruits and veggies raw helps you absorb all of the vitamins and minerals they have to offer in their natural form. Also, you should take 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil daily. You can drink the dose in the morning or use the olive oil in a salad made of dark green vegetables and seeds.
You should avoid nightshade vegetables such as eggplants and red bell peppers. Nightshade vegetables contain solanin, which can worsen the symptoms of arthritis.
What to Include on Your Menu?
Let’s repeat what should be on your menu if you are diagnosed with arthritis:
- Omega-3 rich fish, 2 to 3 times a week, if you are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. If you don’t like the fish, you can include soy products on your menu instead.
- Use olive oil, avocado oil, or walnut oil.
- Cherries and other similar red and purple fruits are recommended if you are diagnosed with gout.
- Eat low-fat dairy products and combine them with leafy vegetable.
- Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium. Eat broccoli often if you have osteoarthritis.
- Green tea is recommended for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are rich in vitamin C and should be included in your menu if you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
- Eat whole grain bread and pasta.
- Eat beans as a source of protein, fiber, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and zinc.