Diet for Arthritis

Arthritis, more often from men than women, is another question I get on a daily basis. Without getting into primary vs. secondary or rheumatoid arthritis vs. osteoarthritis, generally speaking, arthritis impairs the quality of life in both younger and older adults by promoting inactivity and disability. Things like walking, working, bathing- the normal movements in life that when inhibited can lead to other diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.

Arthritis also promotes the long-term use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs that all have side effects. It also contributes to stress, anxiety, and depression, which are risk factors for worse conditions.

Again, the topic of disease nutrition support or the autoimmune diet comes into play. The most common recommendation you’ll hear is the classic supplement trio of:

  • Glucosamine (1,500 mg)
  • Chondroitin (1,200 mg)
  • MSM (3,000-5,000 mg)

I like to add a few things to that list like turmeric (curcumin), omega-3’s, hydration and exercise:

  • Strength training to support joint structure
  • Light aerobic activity to promote cardiovascular health and relaxation
  • Stretching to promote flexibility and range of motion

The list of things to avoid might be even more important. I know the topic of nightshade vegetables is contentious in disease nutrition support but despite the lack of evidence in research, the proof is in the pudding. In the clinic I see removing nightshades from the diet work more often than not.

Some researchers believe it may be the alkaloids in nightshades causing calcium loss from bones and adding to excess calcium deposits in soft tissue. It could be something else entirely but after seeing more than 100 arthritis cases report a reduction of symptoms after removing nightshades for a few weeks, the more I believe it’s worth a try. Nightshades include:

  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Paprika
  • Goji berries
  • Tobacco

Adding to this list- I would avoid anything that contributes to lipid peroxidation (oxidation of fatty membranes.) Keeping antioxidant intake high and removing cooked or oxidized fats like corn oil and canola oil.