Special for CSMS Magazine If you have arthritis and think drugs are your only hope, think again. When scrupulously followed, surprisingly simple diet plan has reduced arthritis symptoms for people all over the world. At least 15 major clinical studies have shown that this dietary approach works effectively. The study’s subjects—most of whom had arthritis for many years—reduced their uses of common arthritis medications. That means many, if not most, could stop taking them completely…and all of the subjects could get along with less. That’s pretty spectacular because NSAIDs have potentially severe side effects that get more serious over time. For example, they raise blood pressure and increase the risk of the ulcers by about 15%. With long-term use, they can cause harm. If you go on this diet, your arthritis discomfort should begin to abate within a couple of weeks. It is important to note that it will be three months before the diet has its full impact.REBALANCING YOUR BODY’S CHEMICALS Your goal is to create a better balance between two prostaglandins (hormone-like substances that your body cells make) so that you favor the one that increases it. The best way to decrease the harmful prostaglandin is with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an omega—3 fatty acid found almost exclusively in the oils of fish and sea animals. Fish is good for you. It provides the most protein for the least number of calories and possesses the most healthful form of fat. Most fast-food and frozen cooked fish contain ingredients that counteract the healthful effect by burying it beneath unhealthful deep-fried breading. In restaurants, order baked, poached or broiled fish. Lemon juice is a tasty butter substitute.Consume all the omega-3 oils you can In addition to their inflammation-reducing properties, they also inhibit the development of arterial plaque that leads to heart disease and stroke.
- Fish…especially deep-sea cold water fish. Excellent: salmon, herring, mackerel. Good: Bluefish, smelt, tuna and whitefish. If fresh fish are unavailable, eat frozen, canned or farmed fish (catfish, farm-raised rainbow trout, perch, cod and pike).
- Fish oil supplements…sold in health food stores and drugstores.
- Flaxseed oil…sold at health food stores and grocery stores. This powerhouse oil, which your body converts to EPA, is tasteless, golden yellow and easily added to foods such as hot or cold cereal, salad dressing, tuna salad or juice. One tablespoon or three capsules of flaxseed oil is equivalent to one gram EPA capsule.
The goal is to get at least three grams of EPA every day (five is better) in protein-rich fish and in capsules as food supplements.
- Eat like a vegetarian—but without limiting the amount of fish.
- Chicken (skin removed) is acceptable in moderation.
- Venison and rabbit are OK, but avoid all other meat. If you must indulge—eat low-fat red meat no more than once a month.
- Cut back on milk and eggs except for skim milk and egg whites.
- Seek low-fat protein from vegetable products such as tofu.
A salmon a day: If you eat just one meal of salmon each day and no meat or animal products, you’ll feel better.Finally, be aware that the nightshade plants—tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and red and green peppers—cause inflammation for many, but not all, people with arthritis. To find out whether nightshades affect you, note in a food diary whenever you eat nightshade, then don’t eat it for three or four days. If you get a reaction in within eight hours, try the food again. Same result? Avoid that food indefinitely.Also see Blueberry Meringue TartsHave you tried grilled turkey burgers with avocado mayonnaise?Note: Arlene Deush is dietitian who lives and works is Jacksonville, Florida. She wrote this piece exclusively for CSMS Magazine.