The Food You Eat Affects Your Arthritis
(NC)—Research has shown that healthy eating habits play a vital role in managing arthritis symptoms. For example, if you are overweight and have arthritis, one of the most important things you can do to help yourself is to look at a change in diet to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. For others, healthy eating may give you the energy to complete your daily activities.
The most important link between your diet and arthritis is your weight. Being overweight puts an extra burden on your weight-bearing joints (back, hips, knees, ankles and feet) when they are already damaged or under strain. The Arthritis Society offers the following tips for cutting down on excess calories:
Reduce fat intake. A healthy diet should include a small amount of unsaturated fats and limit the amount of saturated and trans fat. Fill up on vegetables, fruits and whole grain bread and cereals that are naturally lower in fats. Eat fish and skinless poultry more often. Bake, broil and grill instead of frying foods. Use oils and soft-tub margarines sparingly.
Reduce sugar intake. Sugar contains ’empty’ calories and has no other food value so it can be cut back without losing any nutrients. There is little nutritional difference between white table sugar and brown sugar, honey, syrup, cane sugar, raw sugar or any other type of sugar – so beware. Limit or avoid adding sugar to drinks and cereals. Although artificial sweeteners contain few calories, it is better to get used to food being less sweet.
Eat more vegetables and fruit. Vegetables and fruit should make up the largest component of your diet. Besides being a great source of energy for your body, vegetables and fruit are a great way to boost your fibre intake, which will help you with weight management. Eat at least one dark green (broccoli, romaine lettuce, and spinach) and one orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash) vegetable each day. Choose vegetables and fruits prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
More information on managing arthritis can be found online at www.arthritis.ca.