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You must have heard of the disease known as arthritis, which is a common medical term. It refers to a group of diseases that lead to inflammation and hence swelling and pain in the joints. There can be multiple reasons for arthritis, and therefore the different types of arthritis are named after them. For e.g
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis and so on
Out of these, psoriatic arthritis is supposed to stem from the inflammations caused in the bones and joints due to a disease is known as psoriasis. This essentially is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that can impact any part of the skin.
So does everyone having psoriasis get psoriatic arthritis? Not really, there is no correlation between having psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Different studies over a period show that roughly 30% of people having psoriasis contract psoriatic arthritis as well. Then, you may wonder, what is the link between the two diseases?
Doctors believe that the common link between the two problems – psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – lies in the inflammatory properties. Psoriasis causes inflammation of the skin, and inflammation of the bones and joints cause psoriatic arthritis. And thus, many different studies across different countries and over different periods of time have concluded that having a diet that helps in controlling the inflammation may help in both cases.
In this article, we will look at some of the food that that can be helpful for the people looking for a Psoriatic Arthritis Diet. We also take a look at some of the food items that when excluded from the diet show positive results for those affected by psoriatic arthritis.
However, it should be borne in mind that none of the food items suggested to be included or excluded in the diet claim to be a replacement of the medical treatment nor can they eliminate psoriatic arthritis. This is just a guide to the dietary changes that can supplement your ongoing treatments and help to a certain extent by reducing the inflammation that causes the maximum pain.
Food items to be included in a Psoriatic Arthritis Diet
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The wonder food, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, is a darling of dietitians and doctors alike to be included in the diet. This becomes extra significant when the raison-d’etre of the disease is inflammation. Some of the major sources of Omega-3 fatty acids that can be included in the diet are
- Fatty Fish
- Flaxseed Oil
- Extra virgin Olive Oil
2. Fresh fruits and vegetables
This is one dietary addition we have all been hearing and ignoring right from our school days. But, if we pause and reflect, this is the soundest advice that we can receive and follow. Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that not only reduce the inflammation in case of psoriatic arthritis but also provide a host of other health benefits. Some of the most common fruits and vegetables that can be had fresh are
- Green vegetables etc.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains are an extremely rich source of dietary fibre that helps in weight management and blood sugar control. Multiple types of research have established a direct link between obesity (excessive weight), insulin resistance (excessive blood sugar) and inflammation. Including whole grains in your diet takes care of all the three problems together, thereby making it a mandatory addition to the meal.
Whole grains are also responsible for managing the cholesterol levels in the body, thereby regulating and controlling the chances of heart disease. Some of the common whole grains that can be included as part of the meal are
- Brown Rice
- Whole Wheat Pasta
This poor herb is more well known for its pungent smell than the host of benefits that it provides, which is a bit unfair. This humble vegetable, readily available in your kitchen, is packed to the seams with phytonutrients to fight any inflammation in the body. It also regulates the cholesterol levels in the blood, thereby avoiding a host of heart-related problems that may occur. This should be an essential part of every diet.
5. Cherries and other Berries
Packed to the brim with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, cherries are the doctor’s new favourites to counter any inflammation-related problems. Also, having them as fresh fruits, supplies with the dietary requirement of fibre, ensuring all the benefits of a fibre rich diet. Some of the common berries that can be had are
- Indian Gooseberry
6. Leafy green vegetables
The importance of these leafy delights cannot be emphasised enough. Apart from providing sufficient anti-inflammatory nutrition, they are also loaded with some macro and micronutrients, which provide a cleaner way to meet the dietary requirements of these nutrients. Some of the best examples of Leafy Green vegetables, that can be included in a psoriatic arthritis diet are
- Swiss Chard
- Beet Greens etc.
7. Tea and Coffee
While enough has been said about the ill impacts of the caffeine and tannin present in coffee and tea respectively, here is good news for those of you who cannot do without the dose of your morning cuppa. You can now go ahead and enjoy that morning elixir since when consumed in small amounts, they contain a host of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances.
This is especially true for green tea, making it a welcome addition in the psoriatic arthritis diet.
Another humble root present in almost all kitchens, ginger is a multipurpose vegetable. It is used for a host of different things including weight loss, hair damage control as well as for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used as part of the recipe, in the tea or as a garnishing. In every form, it is as useful and nourishing as in the other.
Food items to be avoided in a Psoriatic Arthritis Diet
1. Red Meat
Although a rich source of protein, red meat has been known to trigger inflammations in the body, especially in the stomach. Therefore, it is advised by doctors to be avoided as much as possible by the patients in their psoriatic arthritis diet. This can be replaced in the diet by
- Lean and white meet
2. Sugary Foods and Drinks
These are a big no, whether or not you have any disease. The extremely high level of sugar causes a sugar rush and then a sudden drop, which is not good for the overall health. Apart from that, sugar dissolved in any other substance is also known to cause severe inflammation, especially in the stomach. Also, these can cause weight gain as well as insulin resistance.
It is therefore advisable to avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. The sugary drinks and foods can be replaced by
- Natural sweeteners in fruits and vegetables
3. Processed Foods
This is the worst kind of food you can put in your body, arthritis or no arthritis. It does not help that most of these processed foods have very little nutritional value, but are high in chemicals and preservatives. The processed food can trigger allergies as well as cause inflammation, leading to an extremely painful situation for those who have psoriatic arthritis.
To avoid the processed foods, you can replace them with
- Naturally occurring fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and berries
- Plain, simple water!
Alcohol as part of daily diet may give you a high but is extremely bad for your gut health. This may suddenly increase the inflammation in your stomach and other body parts, thereby causing a lot of discomfort to people who are suffering from psoriatic arthritis.
5. Dairy Based Products
Although generally considered good and healthy, some dairy products may trigger reactions and inflammations, especially for people who are lactose intolerant. The doctors advise avoiding dairy-based products if you tend increased inflammation.
There are a lot of alternative options available for dairy-based products, and you may want to give them a try if you are lactose intolerant or have psoriatic arthritis. Some of the available options are
- Soy Milk
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Plant-based yoghurts
While the information included above may hold generally, it is quite possible that some of these things are not working for you. There is no clear checklist of do’s and don’ts for a psoriatic arthritis diet. What has been covered in the article is just a guideline.
You may need to experiment with different combinations from the above list and check what works for you. Start by including one of the items in the list and observe the impact on your condition with that ingredient. You may want to continue in such a manner, till you know exactly what works for you and what doesn’t.
Like with any other diet, the key is to identify what works and how can that become a part of your routine.