The Well-Balanced Diet for ArthritisIf you have arthritis, it is important that you eat a well-balanced diet and control your weight. A well-balanced diet can help you feel better and can be a positive step in dealing with arthritis. It can also help decrease your chances of developing heart disease or certain types of cancer.
Controlling your weight can help minimize stress on the weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hips, and the joints of the feet. It can also minimize your risk of developing other health problems.
Some suggestions for eating a well-balanced diet and controlling your weight include:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. This diet should include foods such as:
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Limit foods with saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars.
- Get regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
- Limit your intake of alcohol.
(Click Arthritis and Exercise for more suggestions on ways to stay active with arthritis. Click BMI Calculator to see if your weight is within a healthy range.)
Preventing Osteoporosis as Part of an Arthritis DietPeople who are taking glucocorticoids for arthritis or who have an inflammatory type of arthritis -- such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus -- are at an increased risk of osteoporosis (bone thinning). Diet, along with other strategies, can play a role in preventing osteoporosis. Some recommendations for optimizing bone health include:
- A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. In most cases, 1000 milligrams of calcium per day is recommended.
- Weight-bearing exercises. Young people who exercise regularly achieve greater peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) than those who do not.
- A healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol intake. Smoking and alcohol are linked to bone loss.
- Bone density testing and medication. Your doctor may also recommend these if you are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis.
(Click Arthritis and Osteoporosis for more information.)