Managing Arthritis: How you eat can improve how you feel!
Your doctor may have talked to you about the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight to minimize the strain on your joints if you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. And if you are already taking multiple medications to deal with the pain, swelling and stiffness you are not alone; however, many people are unaware of the role different types of food can play in helping you manage your arthritis. While research is not yet conclusive, this post will outline what researchers believe to be the benefits that certain vitamins and minerals may offer you and examples of the foods to incorporate in order to include them in your diet. (See Handout: Arthritis)
Omega-3 fatty acids (PUFAs) –
Reduce tender joints
PUFAs reduce inflammation by hindering inflammation-producing chemicals which stimulate pain nerves in the tissues.
Antioxidants : Vitamin E
Reduce amount of aspirin needed for joint pain
Enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of aspirin
decrease free-radical damage to joint linings, which diminish swelling and pain
Antioxidants: Vitamin C
Plays a key role in collagen and connective tissue formation
May help prevent progression of Osteoarthritis
Adequate intake of iron will help prevent anemia which may result from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) medications and chronic inflammation
Calcium and Vitamin D
Some medications for RA (corticosteroids) impair calcium absorption
Bone density is often lower in those with arthritis and can lead to debilitating bone erosion
For more information watch this short video on choosing foods to fight inflammation from Health-Beat.
Guest Blogger: Jesse Lomas
K. L. Rennie et al. (2003) Nutritional management of Rheumatoid arthritis: a review of the evidence. J Hum Nutr Dietet, 16, pp. 97-109
K.J. Melanson. Nutrition Review: Diet, Nutrition, and Osteoarthritis. (2007)American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine 1: 260