Eating to reduce arthritic symptoms

How to Lower Inflammation in the Joints?

In orthodox medicine, inflammation of the joints is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as Diclofenac (Voltaren) and ibuprofen (Nurofen). Although there is no single food or group of foods that can cure arthritis, the inflammatory response of the body can be lowered naturally by a change in diet.

Which Foods Provoke Arthritis?

Acid-forming foods provoke inflammation in the joints because the acids they produce irritates the condition. The most obvious example of this is the uric acid produced by the consumption of too much red meat and alcohol and how this can aggravate gout. Interestingly, it is believed by some that particular foods act as allergens that can trigger arthritis. Although no specific food has been implicated as a cause of arthritis it is known that foods can alter the function of the immune system.

Acid-forming food and drink and suspected ‘allergens’ include:

  • Red meat
  • Dairy produce such as cows milk and cheese
  • Alcohol, coffee and fizzy drinks such as cola
  • Too much chocolate
  • Burned, barbecued, roasted and fried food, particularly those cooked in hot and burned fat
  • Highly-processed food and junk food
  • Nightshade vegetables (potatoes –not sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers e.g. paprika and Tabasco sauce)
  • Additives and preservatives
  • Too much sugar or salt

Food and Drink that will alleviate the Symptoms of Arthritis

Alkaline-forming food will gradually lower the inflammatory response of the body by leaving an alkaline residue in the body after being metabolised. These include:

  • Mineral water, green tea and soya smoothies
  • Most fruit and vegetables (oranges, berries, kiwi fruit, apples, cherries, prunes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, pineapple, beans, red grapes and sweet potatoes). Raw is more alkaline than cooked.
  • Herbs and spices (turmeric, ginger, garlic, devils claw, cayenne pepper, cloves, parsley, licorice root)
  • Soya produce
  • Raw oils, such as flaxseed
  • Almonds
  • Wheat alternatives such as spelt and buckwheat

Which Acid-forming Foods are Healthy?

One needs to cut out most acid-forming food, not all, for the body cannot function properly on an entirely alkaline diet. Cutting out unhealthy acid-forming food and replacing them with a healthier substitute is a wise move and will not irritate the joints as much as the unhealthy option. Introduce slowly and monitor the body’s response if the condition is chronic. Healthy acid-forming foods include:

  • Nuts, raw not roasted (almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts) and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds)
  • Oats
  • Chicken, turkey and fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, herring, trout, shellfish)
  • Eggs
  • Pulses and lentils
  • Wheat-free bread and cereals
  • Wild rice

Finally, excess body weight influences arthritis by putting extra strain on already burdened joints. It has been found that people who are 20% or more over normal body weight have more problems with their arthritis. Seemingly the weight bearing joints are most affected by carrying the extra weight. The extra load placed on the weight bearing joints (specifically the legs, feet, and spine) can increase the pain in those joints.

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