According to some health experts, several types of diet can make a definite difference in your management of this annoying condition. Like anything else, however, a good look at facts will lead to the best decision.
First let’s talk about some “contenders” whose effectiveness have yet to be proven.
One of the most common and popular “arthritis diet” recommends that potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and most peppers be eliminated from your food groups. While this diet won’t do any real harm, it hasn’t been proven to affect arthritis at all.
Another arthritis diet encourages the reduction of acids in the body by eliminating sugar, coffee, red meat, most grains, nuts, and citrus fruits. Proponents recommend that it be followed for just one month.
Reducing sugar and red meats is an overall good choice for any lifestyle, and some people may feel better because they lose weight on this regimen (which reduces the stress on their joints). However, there is no evidence to support this diet as beneficial. In addition, it also excludes many sources of vitamin C, which is essential in fighting arthritis.
Drinking green tea has been shown to reduce the effects of rheumatoid arthritis in mice, but there are no conclusive results on human studies yet.
Shark cartilage is supposed to relieve arthritis. Animal and lab studies show promise, but there are no human studies to support this yet.
The good news, however, is that there ARE some diet-related changes you can make, that have been shown to work in reducing the pain of arthritis.
- Changing the type of fat you eat can reduce inflammation. The type of fats found in red meat and poultry have actually been shown to increase inflammation, while switching to the type found in cold water fish can help reduce the inflammation.
The best fish in this category contain Omega-3's. These include salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring. Other good choices are trout, fresh tuna, anchovies, swordfish, carp, jack fish and orange roughy.
Using corn, safflower, and sunflower oils also helps.
***Vegetarians can substitute by eating walnuts, flax seeds and oil, soybeans and natural soy products such as tofu and canola oil.
As a dietary supplement, avocado soybean unsaponifiables (components of an oily substance), knows as “ASU”, have been shown in clinical studies to relieve the pain of osteoarthritis, stimulate cartilage repair, and lessen a patient’s need of anti-inflammatory medicines to control pain.
Ginger has been shown to ease pain and inflammation as well as protect the stomach from the gastrointestinal effects of the anti-inflammatory medicines.
Glucosamine helps the body rebuild cartilage, which relieves pain in some patients with osteoarthritis. However, it can take up to two months to see the effects.
**Precaution: If you are allergic to shellfish, check with your doctor before taking Glucosamine, as it is derived from crab, lobster, or shrimp shells. And of course, before taking any supplements talk with your doctor as some can interfere with or worsen side effects from your medications.
The BEST arthritis diet is a good old-fashioned well-balanced diet. Eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and go easy on fats and cholesterol.
A heart healthy diet is especially important to patients with rheumatoid arthritis as studies have shown a link between this disease and heart failure. In addition, vitamin C is good for repairing body tissue while vitamin D helps absorb calcium, build bone mass, and prevents bone loss and Calcium helps strengthen your bones.
Some medications can create vitamin or mineral deficiencies. So, of course, before starting any “arthritis diet”, speak with your healthcare provider to discuss the best supplements for your specific type of arthritis, in combination with your current medications.