Thursday, May 30, 2013

Diet for Arthritis Sufferers

Today I'd like to share a guest post from Healthline. Enjoy!

Arthritis is a painful condition that affects the skeletal system. Many people do not know that the word arthritis is used to cover over a hundred different conditions. The most common form of arthritis is called osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis usually affects the elderly.

According to the University of Washington Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Seattle, eating a healthy diet made up of foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin C can help ease the pain caused by arthritis. Below are some suggestions for helpful foods:
Photo courtesy of Healthline

Osteoarthritis Arthritis

• Fresh and canned fish (high in omega 3 fatty acids)
• 5 fruits a day (citrus fruits are best because they are high in vitamin C)
• 5 vegetables a day (green vegetables, sweet potato, summer squash)
• Brown rice
• Spices (cumin, ginger, garlic, and clove oil)
• Water

Food to Avoid

• Red meat
• Dairy
• Corn
• Potatoes
• Eggs
• Wheat products
• Coffee

Often people who suffer from arthritis will switch to a vegetarian diet.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is classified as an autoimmune disease. It can affect people of all ages, even children. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that has “flare-ups”. This means that the sufferer can be fine (symptomless) for weeks or months and then suddenly the symptoms will flare-up. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors can prescribe medications to help with the pain and occasionally surgery is recommended if the sufferer has a particularly painful or damaged joint.

Other treatments include a healthy diet and exercise. Some doctors suggest that the Mediterranean diet can be beneficial for some people.

Mediterranean Diet

The main foods you should eat on a Mediterranean diet include a very small portion of meats (not including fish – fish is considered a good meat), lots of fruits and vegetables, using olive oil only, and using spices in place of salt. Salt causes inflammation and with any type of arthritis, the last thing you want is even more inflammation.  Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (see list above) is also beneficial. In addition, to eating (unsalted) nuts and grains, drink plenty of water.

Exercise is also recommended and as the saying goes – “A body in motion stays in motion.”

Researchers and doctors are not sure why certain foods are beneficial for arthritis while other foods can cause more pain. In one of the largest studies which had 800 participants, researchers separated the participants into groups and had each group try a different, popular and similar diet for 12 weeks. The result was that the group who tried the Mediterranean diet reported that they had roughly 15% less pain than they did before starting the diet. The other groups reported that they had no pain relief at all from the diet they tried.

Adding supplements such as Vitamin A and C, fish oil, and Omega 3 can also be beneficial in relieving pain for some arthritis sufferers. Once you find foods that do not aggravate your arthritis and possibly improve the pain, you should try to eat them several times a week. Before starting, any supplements be sure to contact your doctor.

Tammy Mahan has been writing medical/health articles for several years. Writing for allows her to share the knowledge she has acquired over the years.  

*Note: This an unpaid guest post.

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