Nutrition - My Osteoarthritis Diet
This bits vital and cannot be avoided, so I'm not going to beat about the bush here, carrying too much weight increases the pressure on your joints and seems to be one of the major factors that contribute to the advancement of osteoarthritis. In 2011 I weighed just under 17.5 stone (I’m 5 foot 10”) but now weigh 14 stone thanks to my osteoarthritis diet (I hope to shed another stone). Aside from carrying around unnecessary additional weight, research at Washington University School of Medicine in the USA has found that fat tissue itself is a major source of inflammation boosting properties, which in turn help to accelerate the process of osteoarthritis.
In addition to fat tissue, an individual's overall diet and lifestyle (e.g. stress, smoking, drinking, no exercise) may contribute to insulin resistance and metabolic imbalances both of which are connected to degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis. Major contributors are too much sugar, processed and fried foods, which release oxidising free radicals into the system that, in excess, can damage the tissues around joints, causing swelling and pain.
On my osteoarthritis diet I cut out fried foods and the white stuff – refined sugars and carbohydrates, and all processed food. I adopted an osteoarthritis diet that’s low in saturated fats and included generous amounts of inflammation reducing foods that are high in antioxidants and rich in vitamin K, another natural anti-inflammatory.
Nutritional specialists have also often found that osteoarthritis is often caused by food allergies or intolerances, and that a majority of arthritis patients are sensitive to foods from the nightshade family which includes potatoes, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and tobacco.
Alkalising Osteoarthritis Diet
I like food. Eating and drinking are two of my favourite things in life, so I knew I couldn't follow diets such as Atkins, Weight Watchers or Paleo Diet but had to find a way of incorporating changes that I could enjoy and be happy with. Instead I focused on adopting an alkalising osteoarthritis diet which would eliminate the toxic acids from my body and balance my body chemistry.
So I was not avoiding calories or fat but instead eliminating acid forming foods wherever possible, or in other words allergens, processed foods, refined carbohydrate products and stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol - all of which increase acidity. Eliminating or reducing the intake of allergens helps slow or stop the effects of degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis.
Our body is designed to stay alkaline (the body's pH level is between 7.35 and 7.45) and will do whatever it takes to remain so. When we consume acidic foods and drinks, stop exercising and continually have negative emotions our body is overrun with acids and this causes major disruption. You can easily check your body's alkalinity and acidity levels using pH test strips for urine, and saliva.
Disease cannot exist in an alkaline environment and all forms of arthritis are associated with excess acidity. Our immune and repair mechanisms also function their best in an alkaline environment. One book that I found very informative on this subject and inspired me to alkalise was Dr Robert Young's "The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health".
In adopting a new diet I wanted something that would be fit with my busy life and would be easy to follow and more importantly, I would stick to and not get bored. Through research and experimentation I settled on eating an alkalising smoothie for breakfast and lunch, followed by a main meal (where I try an avoid the common allergens or at least limit their use) in the early evening that minimises the use of allergens. This fitted into my lifestyle but you could also simply supplement your normal diet with one or two smoothies between meals each day. I still go out for meals and I have the occasional alcoholic drink but all I do is simply observe the rule of moderation and eat alkaline foods whenever and wherever possible.
For an idea of the type of main meals I eat each day, please have a look at the books "Honestly Healthy: Eat with your body in mind, the alkaline way" by Natasha Corrett and "Alkaline Diet Recipe Book: Real Food Made Alkaline" by Ross Bridgeford. Click here for some alkalising meal ideas.
I also drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water a day to help flush out the toxins and acidity in my system and take some complementary medicines for osteoarthritis.
As I mentioned before, changing your diet takes commitment on lots of levels but in my experience it has not just helped reduced my weight, it has eliminated the inflammation and extreme knee pain I used to live with and the need to undergo surgery.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information on my osteoarthritis diet, any details and advice.