NUTRITIONAL MANAGEMENT FOR ARTHRITIS (Modern Approach)
As such there is no “arthritis” diet. The impact of various nutrients on this specific condition is not clear yet. However some general dietary guidelines can be formulated for enabling the patients to lead a better life.
- Body weight
Obesity is one of the greatest risk factors for osteoarthritis. Excess body weight affects arthritis by putting an extra burden on already fatigued joints. So, try to avoid excess calories and maintain your ideal weight. Make your meals as healthy as possible. (Calorie Calculator). Eat a well balanced diet, comprises of various food groups.
In rheumatoid arthritis if articular involvement is clearly traceable then you have to modify your dietary pattern accordingly (as prescribed by the dietitian). Patients with chronic RA are considered to be at nutritional risk (prone to malnutrition) due to the cytokines production and rise in metabolic rate. In such cases, some enteral and parenteral supplementation (support) can be required.
Dietary lipids are an important consideration for patients of arthritis. You just have to change the type of fat you are consuming, rather than eliminating fat from your diet. Broadly there are 3 types of fats. They are
- Saturated fats
- Monounsaturated fats (MUFA)
- Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA)
Try to avoid saturated fats like full fat dairy products, meats and poultry as they can lead to obesity, which is a potential risk factor for strokes and some other diseases.
Where as MUFA and PUFA (specially omega-3 fatty acids) are quiet beneficial in such cases.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Some clinical studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory quality and it can reduce joint tenderness and morning stiffness in the arthritis sufferers. So, try to include fishes like salmon, mackerel, and herring in your diet. Be cautious regarding the usage of fish oil supplements as they can interfere with blood clotting and may even increase the risk for stroke (especially when consumed in combination with aspirin or any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s).
Antioxidants and vitamin C
It has been observed that high intake of antioxidants specially vitamin C reduces the progression of osteoarthritis. However, antioxidants cannot prevent the onset of disease. Other anti oxidants, which can be useful in this disease, are thiamine, vitamin B6, niacin and folate.
Ca and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D intake should be adequate. The intake should be properly matched with the Recommended Dietary intake values. Some rich sources of them are milk and milk based products, leafy green vegetables, mackerel and other oily fishes.