New Year is the time many of us make resolutions to eat more healthily and manage our arthritis better, but so often these good intentions are too complicated to really fit in with our lives and fall by the wayside by February. There are lots of ways diet can help your arthritis, but if you are looking for some simple steps that you can keep up all year, then these are my top three resolutions for you!
1.Make fruit and vegetables the core of your diet. Studies suggest that those with RA who eat a vegetarian diet experience less pain and joint swelling. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can also help maintain a healthy weight, which is vital if you have OA, and will boost the antioxidants will help fight the inflammation. Unfortunately, research shows that people with all types of arthritis consistently consume less fruit and veg than healthy people - it's not clear whether this is part of the cause of the illness or probably more likely due to how difficult arthritis makes shopping and cooking, but either way we all need to eat more!
Try to eat one portion of fruit at breakfast, two portions of veggies at lunch and dinner and have fruit for snacks or dessert. The NHS Choices website has some useful information on what counts and serving sizes
2.Try a omega 3 fish oil supplement. Omega 3 fatty acids are pretty much the only supplement with good evidence for fighting the inflammation of arthritis. They also have a whole host of added benefits for your heart, brain and wellbeing so are worth a go. You should aim for a supplement rich in EPA and DHA and avoid cod liver oil. Take three 1000mg capsules a day and you should expect to feel benefits after about 6-8 weeks. For more info, take a look at this post.
3.Eat low-fat dairy. People with arthritis often consume low levels of calcium and are deficient in vitamin D, both of which are crucial for maintaining healthy bones. Moreover, low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a range of autoimmune disease. Make an effort to have two or three servings a day of low-fat milk, plain yoghurt, low-fat cheese and fortified soya,rice,oat or almond milks. Sadly, the full fat versions are high in unhealthy saturated fats which can exacerbate inflammation so are best avoided. There are more details about calcium here.