Addressing and improving your diet, reducing allergic reactions and supplementing important anti-inflammatory nutrients, can offer one of the most effective treatments for improving arthritis and its pain.
One of the most common causes of Inflammation in the body is that you are suffering from an allergy. When suffering from any inflammation based medical condition, seeking effective allergy testing can be an important step to identifying and addressing a changeable factor that could be contributing to your inflammation. Studies show that there are significant associations between allergic diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis and arthritis, particularly RA, supporting a theory that they share a similar underlying pathway of related inflammatory responses (1).
Food allergies are also found to be linked to the development of arthritis (2). The most common food allergies are wheat, gluten, lactose, eggs, soy and nut products. Alternatively to testing, it can be useful to conduct a food elimination experiment on yourself, eliminating these food products in a series of 3 week intervals and recording any noticeable improvements before removing any negative effecting foods accordingly.
Increasing your omega-3 intake is an important dietary step as the omegas reduce pain and inflammation by counteracting with the inflammatory chemicals in the body. There is a body of research showing it’s benefits in reducing inflammation in arthritis sufferers as well as joint stiffness. It has also been found that increasing your intake of omega-3 oils is so effective, arthritis sufferers could reduce their painkiller drug use (3). The Institute of Optimum Nutrition recommends 1000mg of the omega nutrient EPA a day plus eating oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines 3 times a week and omega-3 rich seeds most days
Other food extracts are thought to be particularly useful in reducing inflammation. Olive extract is found to be a natural painkiller, as are polyphenols found in olives, red grapes, red onions and green tea. Turmeric, the bright yellow spice found traditionally in Indian cuisine, contains the active compound curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory, with studies showing it can work as effectively as anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects. It has also been shown to prevent RA flares and prevent RA degeneration (4).The Institute of Optimum Nutrition recommends 1 teaspoon a day to be effective.
Vitamin D is the final important nutritional component in managing arthritis. The richest dietary source is oily fish, with 10-15mg recommended as a supplement. To gain vitamin D naturally, it is suggested you need 35% skin surface area to be directly in the suns rays for approximately 13 minutes of UK midday sun (5). People with darker skin (6) or exposing during the morning or afternoon sun (7), may need longer (8). This is best without sun protection cream as it has been found it can block up to 98% of vitamin D production (9).
It is recommended that sufferers reduce their meat and milk intake as these are found to increase inflammatory mediators within the body. Overall, a diet rich in coloured fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, olives, turmeric, red onions, green tea and oily fish, is highly endorsed as a good foundation.
We recommend that it is best practise to work with a qualified nutritionist or dietician on dietary changes.