Arthritis and proper nutrition
What is arthritis?
As we age, a number of things can go wrong with our musculoskeletal system. One of these is arthritis. Arthritis refers to 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, we speak of chronic arthritis.
Nutrition and Arthritis
Make sure your diet contains 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 approximately one gram of omega-3 fatty acids per 3 ½ grams of fish. If you don't like to eat fish, you can also take Omega 3 as a supplement. Enriching your diet with extra fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains can also help reduce inflammation. Studies show that adding fiber to the diet results in lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood; CRP is an indicator of inflammation.
As for vegetables, prefer green vegetables. Cabbage and broccoli, in particular, restore the body's acid balance. The bioactive and biogenic foods are also beneficial. Examples of this are young shoots (eg garden cress) and sprouted grains.
Nutrition with possible negative influences on inflammation.
While some foods appear to ease inflammation, some nutrients have been shown to increase inflammation. One possible 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 your risk of joint inflammation and obesity. Keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand to avoid processed snacks that often contain omega-6 fatty acids. As a result of menopause or steroid treatment, some people with arthritis may need more of certain vitamins and minerals. The most common deficiencies are folic acid, vitamins C, D, B6, B12 and E, calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
The main issue with nutrition 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.