Tip of the Week #2: Maintain a Healthy Diet


By LanaPA Published at September 9, 2011 Views 2,215 Comments 1 Likes 7

Eating healthy is important for everyone but for those of us with arthritis, it is a necessity. This is because research has shown that our diets influence the effect that arthritis has in our lives. For example, if you suffer from gout, the best diet for you involves limiting alcohol and purine rich foods. (Purine rich products include things like alcohol, anchovies and sardines, yeast, organ meat, legumes, meat organs, gravies, mushrooms and cauliflower.) Dietary changes can limit the severity and frequency of gout attacks.

Excess Weight
Excess body weight is another factor to consider in the correlation between diet and arthritis. This is because weight puts strain on arthritic joints. Research finds that people who are 20 percent above their normal body weight have more problems with arthritis pain. Extra weight placed on knees, heeds, ankles, feet and the spine increases pain in those joints. This increased pain results in a more sedentary lifestyle and further weight gain is the result. Osteoarthritis sufferers are constantly struggling with this issue. Further, rheumatoid arthritis patients are warned about increased appetite, fluid retention and unavoidable weight gain as a result of the medications they take.

Food Allergies
Some foods are allergens that trigger arthritis flares. Although no specific research points to food allergies as being the cause of arthritis, some foods do cause a triggering effect for arthritis patients. These foods include: caffeine, dairy, nightshade vegetables, sugar, additives and preservatives, chocolate, red meats and salt. If you want to test whether a certain food or group of foods is one you may be allergic too, consider eliminating that food from your diet for the short term and then reintroduce it into your diet. If symptoms return, then that is a food you should remove from your diet entirely.

Eating Healthier
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the following:
1. Eating a variety of foods from all the four basic food groups (breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy) to obtain the needed 40 plus essential nutrients required for a healthy diet.
2. Maintaining a healthy weight which means losing weight to limit strain on joints.
3. Eating the right amounts of starch and fiber. Starches such as rice, beans, pasta and potatoes give our bodies energy but should be eaten in moderation. Fiber helps with the process of elimination.
4. Avoid too much fat especially saturated and high in high cholesterol foods. As we all know increased fat results in weight gain and obesity.
5. Avoid too much sugar and too much salt. Sugar is merely empty calories without nutrition and the only result is weight gain. Excess salt is a factor leading to high blood pressure and water retention.
6. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol depletes the body of vitamins and minerals and is high in calories. Further, it can interact badly with arthritis medications.

Here’s the bottom line
A well balanced diet that includes nutritious and healthy foods is important for your overall health. For those of us with arthritis, it is important to maintain a healthy weight and to avoid foods that increase symptoms and cause inflammation.

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