1. Whole Fat DairyWhole fat dairy is high in saturated fat, which promotes cholesterol buildup, hinders blood circulation and can instigate inflammatory responses. Some researchers advise that dairy foods should be avoided completely if you have osteoarthritis. Dairy is hard to digest and is one of the common allergens. But if you do not have a milk allergy, you may benefit from the extra calcium, vitamin D and linoleic acid in milk. To stay on the safe side, your best bet is to switch from dairy to soy products. Soy is comparable to milk in terms of the above nutrients. It also contains generous amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and a variety of antioxidants that help fight inflammation.
2. Trans Fat and Saturated FatThere is nothing like trans fat to clog up your arteries, and you should take care to completely eliminate trans fat from your diet. Foods that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil have hidden trans fat. Saturated fat is a little better, but can still raise your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Fried and oily food, red meat, pastries and desserts are all strongly inflammatory and can aggravate your joint problems. Trade your red meat for cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, cod, and halibut. Cold-water fish are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E and pantothenic acid. These nutrients are very effective in dousing inflammatory and suppressing arthritic pain and swelling. Steam, boil and simmering your food are the best cooking methods to preserve the nutritional content without the excess oil.
3. Highly Sweetened FoodsRefined sugar is known for causing inflammations. Highly sweetened foods are also loaded with empty calories and frequent intake of these foods can make you gain weight. Some artificial sweeteners leave remnant chemicals in your body, which can exacerbate your joint issues. Opt for fruits as your sweet treats. Fruits are naturally sweet and are loaded with fiber, antioxidants vitamins and minerals which can help relieve your symptoms without the danger of weight gain.
4. Salty FoodsSodium inhibits your body’s absorption of calcium and deters collagen production. A high sodium diet can lead to the loss of bone mass and reduced joint space. Keeping your daily sodium intake to below 2,000 milligrams is crucial to building healthy bones and cartilages and preventing joint deterioration. Spices like ginger, red chili pepper and cumin are all known herbal remedies for osteoarthritis. Use these herbs to enhance the flavor of your food instead of salt.
Nutritional factors are very important in the successful treatment of these problems. As has been pointed out repeatedly, there are many ideas about which foods or supplements to use for any condition, and I do not want to enter such confused debates at this stage. While staying clear of such controversies, it is appropriate to focus on which foods to avoid as they definitely aggravate arthritic problems. A basic exclusion diet would Include:
- Coffee, wether decaf. or regular. * Red meat of any kind in any form.
- Vinegar and anything based upon vinegar such as pickles. Apple cider vinegar may possibly be an exception.
- Vegetables that contain high levels of plant acids. e.g. Tomatoes and Rhubarb.
- Berries rich in fruit acids such as Gooseberries, Red and Black Currants
- Refined white sugar and products that contain it.
- Refined white flour and its multitude of products.
- Artificial additives, flavorings and preservatives.
- Processed foods. * Red wine, port and sherry.
- Carbonated drinks. * Shell fish
- Any food or beverage that causes the patient specific problems.
Such diets will produce the best results in the earlier, more painful stages of this long drawn out disease. In the extreme of long standing O.A., there is a balance that must be found between nutritional dogma that might not be too effective and eating habits that have a positive psychological effect on the patient.