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GUEST BLOG: 4 Key Nutrients for Arthritis Prevention & Control

12/9/13 4:41 PM

Substantial research has been done to investigate the link between dietary habits and Arthritis. Learn about these 4 key nutrients, why they're important and how you can be sure you are getting enough of them in your diet.

 

#1  Phosphorous:
Why It's Important: Phosphorous is a key mineral to keeping bones strong & healthy.


Many drugs prescribed to patients with Arthritis (primarily NSAIDs, or Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs) do have side effects, such as depleting nutrients, such as phosphorous, from the body. Use of over over-the-counter Antacids can also result in the flushing of phosphorous. 

Getting enough Phosphorous: Choosing a multi-vitamin with an appropriate dosage of phosphorous, along with a healthy balanced diet should be enough to replenish levels in the body.



#2  Calcium:
Why It's Important: Calcium is a key nutrient to many body functions - most commonly known for its role in maintaining healthy bones. Insufficient levels of calcium can lead to brittle bones, or Osteoporosis. Most who are diagnosed with Arthritis also have an increased risk of developing this condition.

Getting enough Calcium: Be sure to include Milk, Cheese, Yogurt in your diet as well some types of fish. These are great sources of calcium. Believe it or not, skimmed or semi-skimmed milks actually contain more calcium than full-fat milk in many cases. A great alternative to dairy milks are soy milks fortified with Vitamin D. Other milks such as rice or oat milks are often available with calicum fortification as well.

It is recommended that you consume 1000 mg of calcium per day. Over age 60? Increase your daily calcium intake to 1500 mg. 
A pint of milk per day along with a reasonable amount of other calcium-rich foods should be sufficient.


#3   Vitamin D:
Why It's Important: Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium properly. Research suggests that Arthritis (both Osteoarthritis and inflammatory types) progress more quickly in bodies with a deficiency of Vitamin D.

Getting enough Vitamin D: Vitamin D is produced by the body when sunlight falls on the skin - so slight deficiencies are more common in the Winter months when we don't see as much sunlight. Don't fret, you can obtain Vitamin D through the foods you eat, such as healthy, oily fish or Vitamin D fortified milks. Or, look for a quality supplement containing 10-20 micrograms of Vitamin D.



#4  Iron:
Why It's Important: Consuming iron is necessary to prevent anemia. Anemia is a condition that affects your body's ability to carry oxygen and nutrients to necessary tissues in the body - which can leave you feeling exhausted.


NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, are often prescribed to help with the pain and stiffness associated with Arthritis - however, a possible side effect of these drugs are bleeding & stomach ulcers which can lead to anemia. If you are experiencing symptoms of bleeding, stomach ulcers or anemia, consult your doctor to find out if consuming more iron will help.

Getting enough Iron: The best source of iron is red meats - it is a good idea to consume iron from various sources though. Iron from fish is easily absorbed. Vegetables such as haricot beans, lentils and dark green vegetables (kale, spinach and watercress) are good sources of iron for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike!

Iron is absorbed into the body best when the meal also includes good sources of Vitamin C. Love to drink tea? Tea reduces the amount of iron that your body is able to absorb - so skip drinking tea with your meal and be sure to include plenty of fresh fruits & vegetables to maximize iron absorption.

 

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A healthy, well-balanced diet is important for everyone - not just those trying to prevent or control the symptoms associated with Arthritis. To be sure you're staying on track, following these simple tips.

  • Pay close attention to portion size at every meal and only eat when hungry.
  • Drink plenty of water! Try to avoid beverages that are high in caffeine and/or sugars.
  • Eat less sugars & fats, especially saturated fats. Also, try incorporating olive oil into your diet.
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables - the more colorful the better!
  • Eat plenty of calcium and iron rich foods.
  • Try replacing meats with fish (with healthy oils, such as omega 3's) twice per week. (If you have gout, consult your physician before increasing consumption of these types of fish)


If you're following these tips and still concerned that you might not be getting 100% of the nutrients your body needs to fight or control arthritis - a quality multi-vitamin supplement might be the answer. Not sure which type to choose? Researchers say that liquid vitamins are superior in the delivery of their nutritional content.

 

 

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Written by Jennifer Guzelak.

Content contributed by Jennifer Guzelak of Champions Fitness Center. Jen is an ISSA Certified Trainer and provides nutritional advice.

Topics: healthy habits, arthritis