Arthritis

We all get a bit slower as we age but aching knees, hips and ankles aren’t necessarily a normal part of aging. It could be arthritis and there may be something you can do about it. Arthritis is essentially the inflammation of joints and causes joint pain and stiffness which usually worsens with age.  

In the past, people with arthritis were told that changing their diet would not help them. Despite this, many arthritis patients have found that certain foods can help while others make their symptoms worse.

 

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis in the UK and often develops in people who are over 50. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease where articular cartilage gradually becomes thinner as its renewal does not keep pace with its breakdown. Eventually the bony articular surfaces come into contact and the bones begin to degenerate. Osteoarthritis can develop after an injury to a joint; this can happen months or even years after the injury. The most frequently affected joints are in the hands, knees, feet, hips and spine.

Arthritis Care suggests a diet high in fruit, vegetables, starch (wholemeal bread, brown rice and wholegrain pasta) and fibre and low in fatty foods, salt and added sugars can help.

A type of fat called omega-3 can help some people with arthritis. Oily fish contain omega-3s but they also contain toxic chemicals that harm health. This is why oily fish carries a government health warning telling people to limit the amount they eat! Healthy sources of omega-3s include flaxseed (linseed), hempseed and rapeseed oils and walnuts. For an extra boost, you can take omega-3 algal supplements which are suitable for vegans (look online for these).

If you are overweight, losing weight can really help you cope with arthritis. Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems. Cutting down on sugar and unhealthy fats in meat, butter, cheese, cakes, pies and biscuits and taking regular (even gentle) exercise will help. Find out how to lose weight using the 5:2 Vegan Style diet.

A low-fat vegan diet can be a powerful and positive, drug-free way of limiting the painful symptoms caused by arthritis. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, pulses (peas, beans and lentils), wholegrain foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and wholemeal pasta, nuts and seeds. This type of diet may help even if strong drugs are being taken to treat arthritis. Find out what you need to eat each day here.

Find out more about arthritis here and here.

 

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition characterised by hot painful swelling in the joints. In many diseases inflammation can help towards healing but in rheumatoid arthritis it tends to cause damage. For some people the pain and discomfort caused by this condition has a serious impact on their lives. Rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be an autoimmune disease, caused by a fault in the immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues. This condition usually starts in the wrists, hands and feet but can spread to other joints in the body.

People who eat lots of red meat are more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis than those who limit or avoid it. Cow’s milk and dairy products can also aggravate symptoms. On the other hand, a wholesome vegan diet low in fat can help reduce symptoms – possibly because of the healthier types of fat it contains plus the anti-inflammatory phytochemicals found in some vegetables. Some people also have excellent results with a gluten-free vegan or raw diet.

Arthritis Care suggests a diet high in fruit, vegetables, starch (wholemeal bread, brown rice and wholegrain pasta) and fibre and low in fatty foods, salt and added sugars can help.

A type of fat called omega-3 can help some people with arthritis. Oily fish contain omega-3s but they also contain toxic chemicals that harm health. This is why oily fish carries a government health warning telling people to limit the amount they eat! Healthy sources of omega-3s include flaxseed (linseed), hempseed and rapeseed oils and walnuts. For an extra boost, you can take omega-3 algal supplements which are suitable for vegans (look online for these).

If you are overweight, losing weight can really help you cope with arthritis. Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems. Cutting down on sugar and unhealthy fats in meat, butter, cheese, cakes, pies and biscuits and taking regular (even gentle) exercise will help. Find out how to lose weight using the 5:2 Vegan Style diet.

A low-fat vegan diet can be a powerful and positive, drug-free way of limiting the painful symptoms caused by arthritis. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, pulses (peas, beans and lentils), wholegrain foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and wholemeal pasta, nuts and seeds. This type of diet may help even if strong drugs are being taken to treat arthritis. Find out what you need to eat each day here.

Find out more about arthritis here and here.

 

 

Does a vegan diet alleviate the agony of rheumatoid arthritis? And even more controversially, does an animal-based diet promote this painful disease? Juliet Gellatley BSc, Dip CNM, founder of Viva! and nutritional therapist investigates and shares a fascinating case study.