Arthritis and the right food
What is arthritis?
As we age, a number of things can go wrong with our locomotor system. One of them is arthritis. Arthritis refers to an inflammation of one or more joints. The inflammation causes pain at night and a certain stiffness when getting up. The joints are swollen, stiff, deformed and painful. If the condition lasts longer than three months, it is called chronic arthritis.
Nutrition and Arthritis
Make sure your diet includes cold water fish such as herring, mackerel, trout, salmon and tuna. Studies have shown that fish oil can lubricate joints and relieve morning stiffness. One serving of fish provides about one gram of omega-3 fatty acids. If you don't like eating fish, you can also take Omega 3 as a supplement. Fortifying your diet with extra fibre from fruits, vegetables and whole grains can also help reduce inflammation. Studies show that adding fibre to the diet results in lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood; CRP is an indicator of inflammation.
As far as vegetables are concerned, prefer green vegetables. Cabbage and broccoli in particular restore the body's acid balance. Also beneficial are the bioactive and biogenic foods. Examples are young shoots (e.g. cress) and sprouted grains.
Foods with possible negative influences on inflammation.
While some foods seem to relieve inflammation, it has been found that there are also foods which can increase inflammation. One potential culprit that can boost inflammation is omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in corn, sunflower, safflower and soybean oils and many snack and fried foods. Consuming more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 increases the risk of arthritis and obesity. Keep fresh fruit and vegetables on hand to avoid processed snacks that often contain omega-6 fatty acids. Due to menopause or steroid treatment, some people with arthritis may need more certain vitamins and minerals. The most common deficiencies are folic acid, vitamins C, D, B6, B12 and E, calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
What matters most about diet and arthritis is maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. One way to achieve this is to consider following a Mediterranean diet, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.