- 1 Controlling Inflammation with the Right Diet
- 1.1 How Important Is Diet For Inflammation & Arthritis?
- 1.2 The Problem With Inflammation
- 1.3 What Causes Inflammation?
- 1.4 Preventing Inflammation With An Arthritis Diet
- 1.5 Top Foods and Nutrients That Reduce Inflammation
- 1.6 Sourcing the Nutrients
- 1.7 Video & List: What Foods Should You Avoid With An Arthritis Diet?
- 1.8 Conclusion
- 1.9 References
Controlling Inflammation with the Right Diet
In this article you will learn how you can reduce inflammation of joints with food. There are approximately 4 million people in Australia and New Zealand alone suffering from some form of arthritis. This disease of the musculoskeletal system presents itself in a wide range of form, with over 100 different classifications.
In general, arthritis symptoms include joint inflammation, stiffness, pain, and impaired function. There are a wide range of joints and surrounding tissues that can be affected, eventually leading to joint instability, deformation, and lack of mobility if not properly managed.
Unfortunately, at this stage there is no 100% cure for any type of arthritis, including the prevalent osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Nevertheless, there has been significant research into combination therapies that are making living with arthritis more manageable. In addition to medications, occupational therapy, and natural supplements, more people are subscribing to an arthritis diet consciously eating certain foods in order to reduce inflammation.
How Important Is Diet For Inflammation & Arthritis?
Like many diseases, our diet affects our body’s ability to deal with inflammation & arthritis. There are some foods which exasperate symptoms, while others can help to alleviate symptoms. By paying attention to the types of foods consumed, it’s possible to better manage arthritis.
There are several key dietary recommendations for people with arthritis:
- Maintain a well-balanced diet to support general health. A poor diet will not only negatively affect arthritis symptoms, it may also accelerate the progression of the disease and make the body more susceptible to other health problems.
- Avoid fasting or crash diets that place added strain on the body
- Increase calcium intake to minimise the risk of developing osteoporosis
- Maintain healthy fluid intake, drinking plenty of water.
- Keep bodyweight within a healthy range. Too much weight places extra stress on the joints, especially the hips and knees.
While these are good general guidelines, any arthritis diet should also reduce inflammation, strengthen bones and cartilage, and reduce oxidative stress by elevating antioxidant intake.
The Problem With Inflammation
One of the key considerations in any arthritis diet plan is to avoid foods that promote inflammation. This especially applies to people already diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, lupus, or ankylosing spondylitis.
What Causes Inflammation?
One of the underlying causes of these arthritic diseases is inflammation. When joints become inflamed they attract more inflammatory agents and white blood cells that cause further irritation. This causes the synovium (joint lining) to swell and leak into the surrounding tissues.
This swelling causes the joints to become stiff, restricting movement and causing pain and discomfort. As a result the cartilage and bone can start to breakdown and thin, further aggravating the joints and leading to disease progression.
By gaining greater control over inflammation, it’s possible to reduce swelling. This will naturally reduce pain and discomfort, improving mobility and slowing joint degradation.
Controlling COX-1 & COX-2 with NSAIDs
One of the major underlying causes of joint inflammation are the enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). These enzymes trigger the release of prostaglandins, key hormones that elevate inflammation.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed to block COX-2, acting as inhibitors to inflammation. However, long-term use of these drugs has detrimental side effects.
There is now a large shift towards natural compounds that can help reduce inflammation in combination therapies to treat arthritis.
Preventing Inflammation With An Arthritis Diet
The relationship between diet and arthritis inflammation is a very important consideration in any patient’s diet plan. Food contains different nutrients and other compounds that can impact inflammation both positively and negatively.
Some substances will aggravate inflammation, while others can help to minimise inflammation. Understanding which foods to avoid and which foods to include in your diet for arthritis can make a significant difference.
Top Foods and Nutrients That Reduce Inflammation
Sourcing the Nutrients
There are essentially two ways to source the above nutrients: from high quality, whole foods or from food supplements.
On the one hand, sourcing the nutrients from whole food will guarantee that you will eat a more balanced and complete diet on the whole. On the other hand, however, it is both cost and time-intensive to ensure that all nutrients are supplied every day in sufficient dosages.
Fresh, unprocessed high quality foods need to be purchased from markets to minimize occurrence of preservatives and toxins and help to reduce inflammation. Of course, these pollutants in cheap food can themselves aggravate inflammation.
Food supplements are more efficient and effective at supplying the nutrients. Of course, patients should do their utmost to follow a healthy arthritis-friendly diet in any case.
Video & List: What Foods Should You Avoid With An Arthritis Diet?
Everybody will react differently to various foods and there is no “perfect” arthritis diet. However, many people with arthritis should eat foods that are known to reduce inflammation.
A large number of arthritis-friendly foods have been identified and these should help to reduce inflammation. At the same time it is advisable to consume so-called combination joint supplements to ensure that the micro nutrients are available to the body in effective dosages.
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- “Friso, S. et.al.(2001). Low circulating vitamin B(6) is associated with elevation of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein independently of plasma homocysteine levels. Circulation. Volume 103, Issue 23, (pp. 2788-91).” ↩
- “Huang, et.al. (2010). Vitamin B6 supplementation improves pro-inflammatory responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 64, (pp. 1007-13).” ↩