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Arthritis Management Through Diet

The term 'arthritis' refers to the chronic inflammation of joints throughout the body. Arthritis is one of the most rapidly growing chronic conditions in North America. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is also known as wear and tear arthritis and degenerative joint disease. This form of arthritis classically affects the knee joint, the hips and other weight bearing joints. Other forms include rheumatoid arthritis and gouty arthritis.

New treatments for arthritis are constantly researched. The most common arthritis medications are non-steroid or steroid anti-inflammatory drugs which, although effective, have serious side-effects. They can have unpleasant side effects: cause weight gain, acne, osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, cataracts and infections. The side effects of steroids impact on almost every system of the body, and the more steroids you take, the more side effects you are likely to experience.

The newest findings link arthritis not only to poor diet and obesity, but also to the overall state of the immune system. Quite recently, researchers have found a protein in the immune system that malfunctioned in patients who have arthritis or other inflammatory diseases. Doctors believe they can block this protein to reduce the need for steroids.

As the general population ages, the number of people with arthritis is growing. Today arthritis medications are aimed at baby-boomers who have spent more years living with obesity than the previous generation. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have found that there are more cases of obesity-related arthritis among baby boomers compared to the previous generation.

What we eat often plays a large role in setting the stage for the start of arthritis. There are a few changes anyone can make to their diet to successfully offset arthritis even without using arthritis medications.

The typical North American diet contains an overwhelming amount of cooked, processed and other acid forming foods. A healthy diet should be 70% alkaline and 30% acidic. Unfortunately, the average North American diet has reversed this ratio.

Instead of eating cooked foods that are acid forming, a diet of mostly raw, fresh vegetables, fruits and reducing the consumption of meats are an excellent way to help reduce inflammation throughout the body.

To ease your arthritis symptoms without succumbing to arthritis medications, avoid foods that form acid in your body. These foods include bread, coffee, corn, honey, oatmeal, peanuts, rice, soy, pasta and wheat. When treating arthritis, stay away from saturated fats, such as butter, cream, and margarine.

Antioxidants in brightly colored fruits and vegetables offer substantial protection against arthritis. By eating more yellow and orange fruits and vegetables you will consume antioxidants called carotenoids, which can lower your chances of developing inflammatory arthritis. Some dietitians suggest that night-shade vegetables are unsuitable for arthritis patients, which means you should think twice about eating peppers, (red, green and yellow), potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants.

Build your arthritis diet around such alkaline-forming products as most berries, bananas, dates, figs, prunes, raisins, almonds, asparagus, avocado, fresh beans, beets, carrots, grapes, plums, spinach, apricots, broccoli, all kind of cabbage, cantaloupe, celery, cherries, chestnuts, chicory, coconut milk, fresh sweet corn and cucumbers. Focusing on vegetables instead of proteins will ease many other symptoms and help you reduce weight too.

Proper hydration is a must. Drink half your weight in ounces 'that would be 75 oz of water for a person weighing 150 pounds. If you must drink alcohol, coffee or soda, drink an extra 16 oz of water for every alcoholic drink and cup of coffee or soda you consume in addition to the water you would normally drink.

Arthritis is a condition that takes years to develop. In many cases, arthritis can be avoided or effectively managed through the use of alternative methods that include proper nutrition, hydration and specific nutritional supplements that can reduce the damage done to aging joints.


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