Most, doctors specializing in the treatment of arthritis, joint pain, and autoimmune diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system never even consider diet as an important factor in the development of these conditions.
I was formally trained in rheumatology at the VA hospital in Houston, TX, and I can say that diet and nutritional recommendations to patients were discouraged and in most cases frowned upon by our attending physicians. It was actually this experience that prompted me to dig deeper into the connection between autoimmune disease and food.
Over the past 10 years, I have treated thousands of patients with arthritic conditions. The most single effective therapies have always been diet and exercise. The paradox with exercise… It is harder to stick to if it flares up the arthritis. The problem with food…everyone reacts uniquely based on their own unique chemistry. But it only makes sense that if drugs can target inflammation as a treatment, why can’t food. After all, isn’t food a drug of sorts?
I have found that medical research greatly supports this connection, but more importantly, I have found that patients get better after eliminating inflammatory foods from their diets. As a matter of fact, one of the quickest ways for these patients to feel better is to perform a fast or a liquid diet. What foods should we avoid to help recover from arthritis? Depends on the person. Everyone is unique.
The Problem With Pain Medications
Drugs only mask inflammation, they do not correct the source. Many pain meds also cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This side effect can prevent long term healing. For example, NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can cause folic acid and vitamin C deficiency. Both of these vitamins are crucial for the body to be able to repair damaged cartilage, joints, tendons, and ligaments. See the diagram below:
Fox News recently interviewed me on this very complex topic. You can watch the interview below. If you think that the information will benefit someone (including your doctor), please share it.
Forms of Arthritis That Benefit With Diet Changes:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- reactive arthritis
Common Foods Associated With Joint Pain
In my clinical experience the following short list of foods commonly contribute to arthritis. The list is not comprehensive.
- Grain (all grains including wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, rice, millet, sorghum, etc)
- Nightshades (potato, eggplant, tomato, peppers, tobacco)
- Hydrogenated Fats (hardly a food, but added to a lot of processed food items)
- Sugar (in all processed forms)
- Coffee and Tea
Foods That May Help Reduce Inflammation
- There are many, but I have comprised a list of some generally very helpful anti-inflammatory foods here…
- Fatty Fish or a high quality omega 3 supplement. The dose needs to be 4-6 grams per day.
Always looking out for you,
Dr. Osborne – AKA The Gluten Free Warrior