Around 10 million people in the UK and 50 million in the US suffer from arthritis

Arthritis is a painful condition that causes swelling of the joints, such as fingers, knees, wrists and ankles. Most people tend to associate the condition with old age but arthritis is not discriminatory and can affect anyone of any age, even children.

Arthritis and Food

Whilst there has always been some anecdotal evidence to suggest that certain foods may trigger arthritis, there have now been studies which look at arthritis and diet and suggest that for some people, diet might play a factor in their arthritis symptoms.

Foods to Avoid

Sufferers of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, say they notice a link between their diet and the flare-ups that they often experience. The most common foods related to these flare-ups are:

– Acidic Fruit. Citrus such as lemons, oranges and grapefruits.
– Dairy Products.
– Nightshade Vegetables such as potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and aubergines.

Nightshade vegetables are high in alkaloids which has been known to affect joint and nerve-muscle function in humans and animals. People who are sensitive to such alkaloids may experience a re-occurrence of their arthritic symptoms when eating these foods.

Calcium can also be problematic as large amounts may not be broken down properly and can accumulate around already painful joints whilst citrus fruit is thought to aggravate painful symptoms.

Arthritis Food Therapy

Omega-3 is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and so eating a diet rich in omega-3 can be beneficial for arthritis sufferers. Foods high in omega-3 include:

– Oily Fish. Sardines, mackerel and salmon.
– Nuts and Seeds. Linseed and flaxseed are good sources.
– Bio-Live Products. Certain yoghurts and margarines have been fortified with omega-3.
– Cereals. Wholemeal cereals not only have added omega-3 but also contain nuts and seeds.

Omega-6 fatty acids can also help reduce inflammation and these fatty acids can be found in their natural form in sunflower and corn oils which you can use for frying and cooking.

Taking supplements

Changing their diet is not always possible for some people, so for convenience you can take Omega-3 supplements which will also include Vitamin E; an essential antioxidant for the free radicals which may be produced by omega-3 fatty acids. Most cereals are also fortified with Vitamin E which, in its natural state, is produced by foods such as almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado and spinach.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating a good, balanced diet are all factors which can help improve symptoms of arthritis.