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Diet for Arthritis

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What is Role of Diet for Arthritis:

People have suspected that foods are an important factor in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Many notice an improvement in their condition when they avoid dairy products, citrus fruits, tomatoes, eggplant, and certain other foods. It seemed that dairy products were to blame for her arthritis, for when they eliminated them from their diet, the arthritis disappeared completely.

It is revealed that the foods most commonly believed to worsen the condition were red meat, sugar, fats, salt, caffeine, and nightshade plants (e.g. tomatoes, eggplant). Once the offending food is eliminated completely, improvement usually comes within a few weeks. Dairy foods are probably one of the principle offenders, and the problem is the dairy protein, rather than the fat, so skim products are as much a problem as whole milk.

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An increasing volume of research shows that certain dietary changes do in fact help. For example, polyunsaturated oils and omega-3 supplements have a mild beneficial effect, and researchers have found that vegan diet for Arthritis are beneficial. One 2002 study looked at the influence of a very low fat vegan diet for arthritis on subjects with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. After only four weeks on the diet, almost all measures of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms decreased significantly.

The journal Rheumatology published a study that found a gluten-free vegan diet improved the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. An uncooked vegan diet, rich in antioxidants and fiber was shown in another study to decrease joint stiffness and pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Some research studies have looked at fasting followed by a vegetarian or vegan diet. A review of multiple research studies concluded that this dietary treatment might be useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Vegetarian Diet for Arthritis:

vegan-diet for ArthritisVegan diets dramatically reduce the overall amount of fat in the diet, and alter the composition of fats. This, in turn, can affect the immune processes that influence arthritis. The omega-3 fatty acids in vegetables may be a key factor, along with the near absence of saturated fat. The fact that patients also lose weight on a vegan diet contributes to the improvement. In addition, vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which can neutralize free radicals. Oxygen free radicals attack many parts of the body, contribute to heart disease and cancer, and intensify the aging processes generally, including of the joints.

Iron acts as a catalyst, encouraging the production of these dangerous molecules. Vitamins C and E, which are plentiful in a diet made of vegetables and grains, help neutralize free radicals. Meats supply an overload of iron, no vitamin C, and very little vitamin E, whereas vegetables contain more controlled amounts of iron, and generous quantities of antioxidant vitamins. As well as being helpful in preventing arthritis, antioxidants may also have a role in reducing its symptoms.

Some arthritis treatments, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, work at least in part by neutralizing free radicals. For the most part, however, vitamins and other antioxidants will be of more use in preventing damage before it occurs, rather than in treating an inflamed joint. A diet for Arthritis drawn from fruits, vegetables, grains and beans therefore appears to be helpful in preventing and, in some cases, ameliorating arthritis.

Diet for Arthritis- The Four-Week Anti-Arthritis Diet:

(adapted from Foods That Fight Pain, by Neal Barnard, M.D.)

For four weeks, include generous amounts of foods from the pain-safe list in your routine. At the same time, scrupulously avoid the major triggers. It is important to avoid these foods completely, as even a small amount can cause symptoms.

Foods that are not on either list can be consumed, so long as you are emphasizing the arthritis-safe foods and scrupulously avoiding the major triggers. You may well experience benefits earlier than four weeks, but for some people it can take this long for chronically inflamed joints to cool down.

Diet for Arthritis- Pain-Safe Foods:

Pain-safe foods virtually never contribute to arthritis or other painful conditions. These include:

  • Brown rice
  • Cooked or dried fruits: cherries, cranberries, pears, prunes (but not citrus fruits, bananas, peaches or tomatoes)
  • Cooked green, yellow, and orange vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, chard, collards, lettuce, spinach, string beans, summer or winter squash, sweet potatoes, tapioca, and taro (poi)
  • Water: plain water or carbonated forms, such as Perrier are fine. Other beverages—even herbal teas—can be triggers.
  • Condiments: modest amounts of salt, maple syrup and vanilla extract are usually well tolerated.

After four weeks, if your symptoms have improved or disappeared, the next step is to nail down which one or more of the trigger foods has been causing your problem. Simply reintroduce the foods you have eliminated back into your diet one at a time, every two days.

Have a generous amount of each newly reintroduced food and see whether your joints flare up again. If so, eliminate the food that seems to have caused the problem, and let your joints cool down again. Then continue to reintroduce the other foods. Wait at least two weeks before trying a problem food a second time. Many people have more than one food trigger.

It is not recommended to bring meats, dairy products or eggs back into your diet. Not only are they major triggers, but they also encourage hormone imbalances that may contribute to joint pain and also lead to many other health problems.

Avoid Major Arthritis Triggers:

  1. Dairy products*
  2. Corn
  3. Meats**
  4. Wheat, oats, rye
  5. Eggs
  6. Citrus fruits
  7. Potatoes
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Nuts
  10. Coffee

*All dairy products should be avoided: skim or whole cow’s milk, goat’s milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. **All meats should be avoided: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.

Refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthritis for more information on Diet for Arthritis.
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