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How Your Diet Can Help Relieve Arthritis Pain

Aug 17, 2007
Everyone needs to eat a well-balanced diet. But it's even more important for those suffering with the pain and swelling of arthritic joints.

A good diet includes foods from each of the five basic food groups:

-Breads and cereals.
-Fruits.
-Vegetables.
-Poultry, fish, lean meats, or dried beans.
-Low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt.

Arthritis can make it difficult to eat a good variety of foods. Fatigue and pain can sap your appetite, while swollen joints and loss of movement may cause you to avoid foods that require more time and effort to prepare. Certain medications may also affect what you can eat.

Let's begin by listing some foods arthritis sufferers should avoid.

The most common food allergy culprits for arthritis patients include:
-Sugar.
-Caffeine.
-Citrus.
-Salt.
-Red meat.
-Dairy products.
-Additives.
-Soft drinks.
-Corn.
-Flour.

If you eat any of these foods, and notice an increase in symptoms, the odds are you have a slight allergy to the food and should stop eating it to alleviate symptoms.

Many scientists believe that the increase in our increase in sugar consumption and the widespread use of soda pop can be linked to an increase of arthritis. Whether this is true or not is still under debate, but most physician's agree that limiting both sugar and soda may help reduce symptoms in many patients.

Preparing Food:
Preparing healthy meals can become a daily struggle for an arthritis patient, especially during a flare-up. Try these tips to make cooking easier:

-Use convenience foods on particularly difficult days.
-Buy prepackages fruits and vegetables that are already diced and cut
-Cook double portions when you are feeling well, and freeze one for days when cooking is a struggle

Mixing Food and Medicine:
Some arthritis medications can affect the amount of certain nutrients in your diet. For example, corticosteroids can cause your body to lose potassium and retain sodium; antacids may contain high levels of sodium and magnesium. This can be especially dangerous is you have kidney problem; Colchicines used for gout can affect how well vitamin B-12 is absorbed; and Penicillamine used for rheumatoid arthritis lowers levels of copper. For most people, eating a variety of foods will help keep up the levels of these nutrients. That's why eating right is so important to keep new symptoms at bay.

Foods That Aggravate Arthritis:
There have been no foods scientifically linked to arthritis or its symptoms, but many sufferers insist that too much coffee, tea or caffeine can aggravate symptoms, as can excess sodium in the diet. There is a rare form of arthritis called Sprue, which is caused by a wheat allergy, and when those products are eliminated form the diet, the arthritis symptoms disappear.

Basically, research seems to point to a well-balanced nutritional diet as a great supplement to any arthritis treatment. If a patient finds a food to be aggravating to their condition, they should discontinue its use.
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