The best nutrition for arthritis is to first drink enough water daily to stay hydrated. Some foods can also provide relief from arthritis pain, but to fully understand the benefits, it helps to understand the underlying causes.
Even though the causes of arthritis are complex, the primary causes are threefold, according to Dr. John McDougall.
In general, joints become inflamed because of (1) bacterial infection, (2) injury or trauma from sprains, strains or tears, or (3) the accumulation of uric acid crystals.
The dietary causes for join inflammation are largely associated with the intestines and immune system.
I also believe that chronic or severe dehydration is an underlying factor for arthritis pain and a precursor to problems with the intestines and immune system.
The cartilage surfaces of bones in a joint contain a lot of water. This water is utilized in the cartilage, providing the lubrication needed for two opposing surfaces of bone to freely glide over one another during joint movement.
Thus, initially, arthritis pain is an indicator of water deficiency in the joint cartilage surfaces. For some arthritis pain, another contributing factor may be a salt shortage. See Water and Salt for more information.
Various clinical studies have shown that many people with inflammatory arthritis also have intestinal permeability, often called “leaky gut.” Intestinal permeability has many causes but I believe dehydration may be the initial cause.
A diet that is high in animal protein, dairy and gluten can further exacerbate intestinal permeability. Intermittent fasting has proven to be highly effective at decreasing intestinal permeability and decreasing joint pain.
Intestinal permeability can lead to the formation of large groups of foreign proteins and antibodies in the blood stream from foods and bacteria.
A plant-based, gluten-free diet allows the immune system to remove these foreign proteins (also called antigens) and antibodies from the lymph and circulatory systems.
The best nutrition for arthritis relief comes water nutrition as well as plant-based diets that contain no dairy or animal protein.
Numerous clinical studies have shown that vegan diets are the most effective for providing arthritis relief. Vegan diets reduce the amount of unhealthy fats in the diet, which significantly supports immune processes involved with arthritis.
The wide range of antioxidants and phytonutrients found in vegetables and fruits are a key factor.
According to Dr. Neal Barnard and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, certain foods rarely ever contribute to joint pain or arthritis. He suggests eating a generous amount of the following foods for arthritis relief or any other type of joint pain; cooked or dried fruits; green, yellow and orange vegetables (such as spinach, chard, kale, green beans, asparagus, artichokes, winter squash, yellow squash, sweet potatoes) and small amounts of salt, vanilla extract and maple syrup.
The only beverage he recommends is water.
All dairy products should be avoided since they tend to cause the most severe reactions for people with arthritis. This includes foods such as all forms of milk (including skim or no-fat milk), goat's milk, cottage cheese, shredded or block cheese, cream cheese and yogurt.
Other major arthritis trigger foods include all meats (chicken, turkey, beef, pork and fish), as well as foods with gluten, wheat, oats, rye, corn, tomatoes, white potatoes, eggs, nuts, citrus fruits and coffee.
F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.; Your Body’s Many Cries for Water; 2008.