Living With Knee Arthritis
Arthritis is a general term describing over 100 different
conditions that cause pain, stiffness and (often) inflammation
in one or more joints. Everyone with arthritis can benefit from
eating a healthy well balanced diet.
There is no special
diet or 'miracle food' that cures arthritis, but some conditions
may be helped by avoiding or including certain foods. For
example, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis seem to respond
to an increased dietary intake of fish oils, while gout benefits
from avoidance of alcohol and offal meats.
the advice of your doctor or dietitian before changing your diet
in an attempt to treat arthritis. You may be restricting your
food intake unnecessarily, or overdosing on products (such as
mineral supplements) that may have no impact on your condition
General dietary recommendations for a person with
arthritis include: eat a well balanced diet, avoid crash dieting
or fasting, increase dietary calcium to reduce the risk of
osteoporosis in later life, drink plenty of non-alcoholic
fluids, keep your weight within the normal range, by reducing
the amount of dietary fats you consume.
Uric acid is a
waste product that is normally excreted from the body in urine.
Gout is a type of arthritis characterised by the build-up of
uric acid in the joints (such as the big toe), which causes
inflammation and pain.
Some of the dietary
recommendations that may help to ease the symptoms of gout
include: restrict or avoid alcohol, restrict or avoid offal
meats, such as liver, kidneys and brains, restrict or avoid
shellfish and anchovies, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids,
make sure you don't overeat on a regular basis, be sure to take
your time when eating.
Fish oils that contain omega-3
fatty acids have been found, in various studies, to help reduce
the inflammation associated with some sorts of arthritis. These
forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis and
osteoarthritis, are characterised by inflammation.
fish oil seems to work by reducing the number of inflammatory
'messenger' molecules made by the body's immune system. There
may be additional benefits to eating fish once or twice every
week - researchers from around the world have discovered that
the regular consumption of fish can reduce the risk of diseases
ranging from childhood asthma to prostate cancer.
overweight does affect people with arthritis. Joints affected by
arthritis are already under strain. If you are overweight or
obese, the extra load on your joints may be exacerbating your
symptoms, especially if your affected joints include those of
the hip, knee or spine. There is also a clear link between being
overweight and an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.
To lose excess weight, you must be active, but this can be
difficult for people with arthritis due to pain or stiffness.
See your doctor, dietitian or health professional for
information and advice. Weight reduction strategies may include:
switch to a diet that is high in nutrition, while low in
kilojoules, experiment with different sorts of activities - for
example, it may be possible to enjoy swimming or some kinds of
low impact exercises, limit your exercise activities to
unaffected joints - for example, if your hands are affected, you
may be able to comfortably ride on a stationary bicycle.
There is no substantial scientific evidence that would support a
person with arthritis avoiding particular foods, unless that
person has specifically shown intolerance to them (the exception
is gout). However, as research reveals more connections between
diet and health, it is possible that stronger connections
between particular foods and arthritis may emerge.
some foods - such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers -
there is much anecdotal evidence (stories about individuals),
but again there is no strong scientific evidence.
think a particular food may aggravate your arthritis, it can be
useful to keep a food diary.
After a month, you may have
some idea about which food could be provoking symptoms. You
could then try eliminating that food from your diet for two
weeks to see what happens. Don't cut out a whole food category,
and make sure you are getting the vitamins and minerals that
this food provides from other sources. It is important to let
your doctor know that you are doing this.
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