Your Diet, Nutrition, and Arthritis


Arthritis symptoms often come and go without warning so it is hard to attribute the addition or elimination of certain foods to the relief or onset of symptoms. But studies show that adding foods rich in certain nutrients, while eliminating some other foods, can help relieve some symptoms of arthritis. If you have arthritis, you might want to discuss dietary changes with your doctor and you may find that you can control your pain with less drugs and better eating.

Research has shown that a diet that has too many calories can aggravate RA (rheumatoid arthritis), and 5% of sufferers in a different study showed a flare-up of symptoms after drinking milk. In other studies, reducing the intake of fat, red meat and dairy products is shown to help relieve pain. Some other foods that are suspected of aggravating your levels of pain include tomatoes, white potatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, corn, lemons, grapefruit, wheat, rye, eggs, coffee and sugar.

While limiting some of the foods you eat, you may also be able to help relieve arthritis symptoms by eating more of certain foods, or taking supplements. In 1998, Finnish researchers discovered that the lactobacillus helped improve symptoms of RA. In this study, mice which were given lactobacillus were found to be less apt to develop arthritis and their immune systems were better equipped to handle it in those that did..

Another food that seems to have a beneficial effect on arthritis pain is fish oil according to a study done in the 1950’s. Fish oil supplements can be taken but sometimes cause a fishy aftertaste so why not simply add fish high in Omega 3’s to your diet? You want to eat cold water fish that are wild and not farm raised. These fish include mackerel, tuna, salmon, bluefish, mullet, herring and anchovies.

In a study by the University of Manchester, it was found that individuals with high levels of beta-cryptoxanthin were 40% less likely to develop arthritis. Beta-cryptoxanthin can be found in yellow and orange colored fruits and vegetables and is a key nutrient in helping your immune system as well as bone and skin health. Some foods high in this nutrient include winter squash, peppers and pumpkin as well as papayas, tangerines and persimmons.

Another vitamin you might want to make sure you get enough of is vitamin B. Studies have shown that people who have arthritis are deficient in vitamin B. Although, this could be due to the fact that taking aspirin depletes the bodies stores of the vitamin..

The antioxidant vitamin C is an important addition to any diet as they help neutralize free radicals which contribute to tissue damage as well as disease. In fact, findings show that damaged knee cartilage cells can release large amounts of free radicals. According to the study, people who take a lot of vitamin C have much less risk of damage to their knees. The famous scientist Dr. Linus Pauling recommends that you take 18 grams of V-C every day as a preventative measure for arthritis.

Another antioxidant, Vitamin E works in a similar way and German studies have proven that it also helps to reduce pain. Vitamin E can be found in whole grains, corn oil, wheat germ, sunflower seed, and legumes.

A deficiency in Selenium has been shown to cause a particular type of arthritis – Kashin-Bek disease, but this happens mostly where the soil is deficient in selenium. Interestingly enough, sufferers of RA have less selenium in their blood than others. You can add more selenium to your diet with nuts, Fish, whole grains, organ meats, and beans.

Some trials have shown that zinc can help reduce swelling and stiffness. To get more zinc, try eating more cheese, tofu or oysters or ask your doctor about a supplement. There have been conflicting results in studies on zinc.

In addition to what you eat, other non pharmaceutical ways to relive pain from arthritis include exercise, losing weight, hot-packs, and humor.