Nutritional Tips to handle Arthritis:
Surprisingly Arthritis beats Heart Disease and Cancer being the number one ailment that affects and reduces the quality of life of people over the age of 65 years. Not only does this cause pain but it also lowers the mobility affecting the independence of the seniors. Arthritis is a disease which is characterised by joint pain which can range from mild to severe. It involves swelling, stiffness and decreased amount of movement and mobility. It often progresses to chronic pain, inability to do daily activities, and difficulty in walking, climbing. There are several types of Arthritis and treatment depends on the cause. We can include the following functional foods in our daily diet to help manage the symptoms. Though no food can cure this condition yet changes in the dietary intake can help manage the symptoms to a great extent.
Functional Foods to handle Arthritis:
- Anti – Inflammatory Foods – Taking Omega 3 fatty acids, fish and fish oil supplements, a variety of seeds like Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and nuts like walnut, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds.
- High Sulphur foods which contain MSM that reduces joint inflammation and helps to rebuild tissues. These include – onions, garlic, asparagus, broccoli and cabbage.
- Bone Broth – It contains a large amount of Collagen which has amino acids proline and glycine which again have a synergistic effect on rebuilding tissues.
- Fruits and Vegetables which have a rich amount of vitamins, minerals, digestives enzymes and anti-inflammatory compounds. The best in this category would be papaya and pineapple. Choose fruits with anthocyanins which have an anti-inflammatory effect like cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Citrus fruits like orange. sweet lime and grapefruit help prevent inflammation and maintain healthy joints.
- Whole grains with fibre like brown rice reduce the C- reactive protein in the blood which is a marker for inflammation.
- Choose extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on salads, opt for avocado and walnut oil too.
- Calcium sources like curd, buttermilk, sesame seeds, ragi, dark green leafy vegetables. Also, keep your vitamin D counts monitored.
- Polyphenols found in unsweetened dark cocoa and green tea.
- Like whole grains, beans too lower the C-reactive protein helping fight inflammation, kidney beans, red beans, pinto beans combined into a salad all help towards reducing inflammation.
Foods to avoid when you have Arthritis
- Excess Sugar as it causes inflammation. This includes cakes, cookies, white bread, biscuits and other bakery products.
- Hydrogenated oils – soybean, cottonseed, canola oil which have Omega 6 fats and excess consumption of these, in turn, is PRO-inflammatory.
- Gluten which is found in wheat, rye, barley oats.
- Red meat as it increases the level of Saturated fats which in turn increases inflammation.
- Processed food, margarine and such foods which raise Trans fats which in turn increase inflammation.
- High-Fat Dairy.
Till a few years ago it was believed that nightshade vegetables like brinjal, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers aggravated pain in people with Arthritis but there has been no scientific evidence to support this claim.
People who have Arthritis also have a tendency to develop heart-related issues so a diet which has less amount of saturated fats and more fruits, vegetables and fibre is always recommended.
This article has been written by Sonam Rayani who is a Nutrition and Diet Consultant since 10 years. She has founded her Nutrition Consultancy Firm called “Jatropha Wellness” which aims to prescribe well-balanced nutrition plans to people and aim for improvement in overall health. She has recently upgraded her skills and has studied Translational Nutrigenetics from ION where one can study the effects that food has on genes and therefore aim to design personalised nutrition plans. Socially, she is the founder of the True Love Project that aims to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots.