How everyday foods can impact arthritis

Foods that contain natural anti-inflammatories may help ease the suffering of arthritis patients. These foods block prostaglandin E-2, which causes inflammation, using foods that convert into helpful prostaglandin E-1 or E-3. Foods that contain gamma-linolenic acids (GLA) produce prostaglandin E1, while alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) produce prostaglandin E-3. Foods containing GLAs and ALAs naturally boost the nutrition of arthritis patients and, when consumed consistently, may decrease painful swelling.

Studies have proven that olive oil, lard, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and cottonseed oil have no impact on inflammation. However, arthritis nutrition studies have found that foods containing the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, such as flax, canola oil, wheat germ, vegetables, beans and fruits, help in reducing inflammation. The same anti-inflammatory effect occurred with foods containing GLA, specifically borage oil, evening primrose, blackcurrant oil and hemp oil.

Nutrition for arthritis patients is key to staving off malnutrition and remaining comfortable and mobile. Plant foods rich in ALA, such as leafy greens, beans and peas may help in adding fiber to the patient’s diet while naturally working to decrease the amount of swelling in the joints. It’s vital, also, to avoid foods that trigger symptoms. Such foods include dairy products, corn, meats, wheat, oats, rye, eggs, citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts and coffee. Foods that are usually safe for arthritis patients are brown rice; cooked or dried fruits (not citrus); cooked yellow, green and orange vegetables; water and condiments in small doses.

It’s important that the patient works with a doctor or nutritionist to come up with a diet that will work to decrease the symptoms of the arthritis while also enriching the nutrition arthritis patients need. While it may take up to six months to see the full effect of the diet change, many patients see small changes immediately due to improvement in their overall health.