Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
People suffering with osteoarthritis should avoid or cut down on highly refined and processed foods, sugar, salt and saturated animal fats. A healthier diet would be to include wholegrain cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables. By eating a more healthy diet sufferers can boost their immune system and provide them with extra energy they need to fight the disease.
Through scientific research, it has been shown that fish oils are beneficial to people suffering from arthritis. Oily fish such as salmon, mullet, sardines and trout provide the omega-3 fatty acids that can have an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation is the natural body's reaction to arthritis resulting in pain, swelling, redness and heat. For people who cannot eat fish, fish oil capsules or liquid taken in the prescribed dose can help in managing the disease.
Seafood provides omega-3 fats which help to regulate the body producing inflammatory chemicals known as eicosanoids. As well as seafood, canola oil, soy oil, flaxseed and walnut also provide omega-3 fats which help to suppress the inflammatory chemicals.
Some studies have found that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have benefited from a vegetarian diet. Celery and ginger contain an anti-inflammatory agent and celery and bananas are a good source of potassium. Green vegetables should be included in the diet as they are a good source of beta carotene, calcium, iron, folate and vitamins.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that is effective in breaking down protein. Researchers have been looking into the medicinal properties of bromelain since the mid 1950's. It has been used in treating the inflammatory symptoms of both Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis and it thought to aid in tissue repair.
Healthy eating habits essential for our total wellbeing, but when diseases such as arthritis are evident, what you eat can be extremely important for your immune system, blood circulation, weight control and of course nutrition. The following dietary guidelines may help with choosing foods that assist the body to repair itself.
o Maintain an ideal weight by eating a variety of foods. Include foods from the 4 basic food groups (fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, breads and cereals) to ensure the intake of the more than forty essential nutrients to maintain good health.
o Include adequate amounts of starch and fiber. Starches such as potatoes, rice, bread, beans and pasta provide the body with energy. Fiber, the undigested portion of the plants we eat, adds bulk and helps with the elimination process.
In some cases of rheumatoid arthritis, it is thought that food intolerance and allergies may contribute to the disease. It can be extremely difficult discovering what, if any, food could be the culprit and an exclusion diet may be the best way to identify the allergy source. For anyone considering following this type of diet, they should first consult their medical professional or qualified dietician.
A number of foods that are believed to exacerbate arthritis or are associated with arthritis "flare ups" are -
o Red Meat
o Dairy products
o Processed foods
o Vegetables of the nightshade group (tomatoes, peppers, etc.)
o Preservatives and additives
As with many allergy triggers the effects are not always consistent with everyone, what triggers a flare up or allergy on one person may have no affect on another.
o Avoid too much sugar. Sugar provides calories but little nutrition and too much will contribute to excess weight gain.
o Avoid too much sodium. Excess salt can contribute to water retention and also lead to high blood pressure.
o Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can deplete the body of vitamins and minerals besides being high in calories. It also potentially can interact with medications for arthritis and in some cases can be extremely harmful when mixed with prescribed and non prescribed medications.
The overall aim is to reduce the causes of arthritis pain and discomfort by ensuring the foods you eat are right for your condition and are not harming your body further.