Doctors and researchers have been exploring nutrition and diet as a means of relieving the symptoms of arthritis. While the results of most studies remain inconclusive and long-term research still needs to be done, it cannot be denied that proper diet has good effects on arthritis. If you are an arthritis sufferer, you may have found relief from aches and pains because of dietary modifications. Here are six diets that have been found to be beneficial to arthritis.
1. Weight Reduction Diet
If you have arthritis and are overweight, this diet is good for you. It does not require the strict exclusion of foods, but rather the reduction of the daily caloric intake while still maintaining a healthy balanced diet. The rationale behind this diet is to reduce the pressure upon the damaged weight-bearing joints of the body by the extra weight.
2. Basic Elimination Diet/Food Challenge Diet
This type of diet involves the short-term exclusion of a specific food group to see if any symptoms of arthritis would or would not be relieved. A very good example of this is the uric acid-free diet for gouty arthritis. The most basic elimination diet recommended by doctors involves removing foods that induce flare-ups of joint pains and inflammation, such as milk, margarine and other dairy products, flour, wheat and bran products, sugar, salt, coffee, chocolate and other caffeinated beverages and foods, white potatoes and red peppers. As a substitute for red meat, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, such as sardines, tuna, salmon, trout and herring, are introduced into the diet. A higher intake of fruits and vegetables, specifically apples, peaches, blackberries, mangoes, strawberries, kiwifruits, cantaloupes, cabbage, squash, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, is particularly encouraged.
3. Vegan or Vegetarian Diet
This type of diet entails a reduction in meat intake or–as in the case of vegan–totally switching to consumption of fruits, vegetables and plant-based meat substitutes. Studies on rheumatoid arthritis patients on either of these diets showed a marked reduction in arthritic flare-ups, with continued improvement observed over a period of one to two years.
4. Dong Diet
This type of diet was developed in 1975 by a Chinese doctor. It involves the exclusion of red meat, dairy products, alcohol, fruits, certain herbs, and foods that contain preservatives and other additives.
5. Nightshade Elimination Diet
This type of diet was developed during the 1960s by a horticulturist. It involves the elimination of fruits and vegetables belonging to the nightshade family Solanaceae, such as tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, eggplants and other herbs, which cause flare-ups of joint pains.
6. Ayurvedic Diet
A type of complementary and alternative medical diet, the ayurvedic diet aims to correct an energy imbalance within the body that is causing an increase in the production of toxic byproducts during digestion. This is accomplished through the "burning" of these toxins with the addition of hot spices, such as turmeric, cayenne pepper and ginger, to the diet.