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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Can Diet Help to Cure Arthritis? Or Can It Make It Worse?

The medical profession mostly rejects the idea that there is any connection between diet and arthritis (with the exception of gout), but many naturopaths and holistic practitioners disagree.

There are many factors to consider with regards to arthritic diets and nutritional healing, and no hard and fast rules can be applied. For example, some people are allergic to certain foods, and these allergies can indeed worsen some types of arthritis.

Eating foods that contain sodium nitrate or tartrazine can worsen the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, while ingesting foods containing a substance called hydrazine can contribute to systemic lupus erythematosus, an arthritic condition connected to lupus, Eating black walnuts can cause flare-ups in people with a rare type of arthritis called Behcet's Disease.

These are just a couple of examples of foods which could negatively impact on people with certain types of arthritis so as you can see the whole topic can get very complicated!

The term arthritis covers over 100 different diseases and conditions. Since it would be impossible to cover all of them in one article such as this, we will look at the most common condition: osteoarthritis and tackle rheumatoid arthritis and gout in future articles.

Osteoarthritis is mainly a disease of wear and tear. However there is one thing to avoid. Don’t take large doses of Vitamin A, since there is some evidence that it contributes to cartilage deterioration. Cartilage deterioration is the main cause of osteoarthritis.

There are holistic healers who will swear that a good diet can alleviate many of the painful symptoms. A diet high in fish is recommended as it contain high levels of Omega 3 which helps reduce inflammation and also has many other health benefits.

However if you live in an area where the sea has a high concentration of mercury, fish oil capsules are a better bet. Buy a known brand name to ensure maximum bio-availibility.

Including vegetables and sufficient low fat protein in the diet ensures optimal health and avoids weight gain which puts a heavy strain on arthritic joints

Some osteoarthritis sufferers benefit from the food supplements glucosamine and chondroitin in relieving symptoms of pain and stiffness. As above buy a reputable brand.

The National Institute of Health is currently studying glucosamine and chondroitin, so more should soon be known about the effectiveness of these products for osteoarthritis. People taking blood-thinners should be careful taking chondroitin as it can increase the blood-thinning and cause excessive bleeding.. Seek medical advice first.

by Wendy Owen


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