There is really no miracle diet or special diet that can provide a cure for arthritis. However, there are specific conditions that may be helpful or beneficial for patients who are suffering from arthritis by including or avoiding specific food items or supplements in their diet. Of course, it is best for patients to adopt a well-balanced and healthy diet in order to effectively manage their medical condition.
There are specific conditions that respond well to dietary changes. For instance, individuals who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis will benefit substantially from an increased intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is derived from salmon and sardines. On the other hand, individuals who are suffering from gout attacks stand to benefit from their healthy practice of avoiding food items that are high in purine as well as shellfish.
Persons with arthritis are advised to observe the following:
Follow a well-balanced diet in order to maintain good health and ideal body weight;
Stay away from fasting and crash diet programs;
Increase intake of dietary calcium to lower the risk of osteoporosis;
Increase intake of non-alcoholic fluids;
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Arthritis
Food items that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to be effective in reducing the inflammation as a result of various types of arthritis. While the beneficial effects may be considered modest compared to the results derived from the use of certain medications, their relevance and value are anchored on the fact that such benefits are obtained without any side effects.
The ideal sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include the following:
Sardines and salmon
Linseeds and flaxseed
Omega-3 fortified food items such as eggs and margarines
Certain fish oil supplements
Fish oils are different from fish liver oils like halibut liver oil and cod liver oil. Fish liver oils are high in Vitamin A, and this may have adverse effects on persons who are suffering from arthritis. It is important that you consult with your doctor or dietitian before you include oil supplements in your arthritis diet.
Other Arthritis Diet Supplements
There are claims that chondroitin and glucosamine supplements provide beneficial effects when consumed by individuals who are suffering from arthritis. However, there is not enough evidence to support such claims. There are studies which show that chondroitin and glucosamine, whether these are consumed in combination or separately, provide relief from the pain associated to arthritis. However, material evidences are not sufficient enough to make a definitive conclusion about the efficacy of such supplements when used in arthritis diets.
In addition to this, there are reported cases of interaction of chondroitin and glucosamine with some medications such as warfarin. Thus, it is extremely important that patients seek the advice of their doctors before they start taking these supplements.
Obesity and Arthritis
An ideal arthritis diet must address issues pertaining to healthy body weight of the patient. Individuals who are obese face greater risk of developing arthritis mainly because of the stress on the joints by their extra load. Thus, the overweight condition would tend to exacerbate the symptoms of the disease, especially in cases where the affected joints are those of the spine, knees and hips. This goes to show that there is a clear link between being overweight and the predisposition of an individual to such chronic disease.
Dietary Cures are not Conclusive
Evidences of cures through arthritis diets are not conclusive, although it would be appropriate for patients to avoid certain food items and supplements which tend to exacerbate their medical condition. In the same manner, there are no conclusive evidences that would show that acidic and “nightshade” food items trigger gout attacks and exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis. However, a good number of individuals have reported to have benefited by excluding nightshade foods.
However studies have shown that natural arthritis treatment options complimented with appropriate diet provide long lasting relief from the pain, swelling and stiffness that are associated with osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis.