Eating the Right Foods
by Eugene Zampieron,
& Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., R.N., H.N.C..
Dietary practices have a major
impact on arthritis. In fact, if you eat the typical American diet, it could be
making your arthritis worse. Among the offenders are saturated fats (which occur
in cooking oils and fried foods), white flour and sugar, red meat, chemical
additives, yeast, and milk and dairy products. These foods can increase
inflammation, invoke allergies, and interfere with hormone production, cellular
integrity, and the function and mobility of the joints.
Changing the way you eat will
change the way you feel. The right foods can keep you free of stiff joints,
swelling, and fatigue while also promoting longevity and overall health. Choose
to eat right by eliminating problematic foods and increasing your daily intake
of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
What we call the "Arthritis
Diet" is primarily a vegetarian, whole foods diet consisting of fruits and
vegetables, raw seeds and nuts and their butters, fermented bean products, fish,
and grains -- all considered "arthritis-friendly" foods. These foods
are high in dietary fiber, which helps move food and wastes through the
digestive tract before they have a chance to form toxic substances. Many
degenerative illnesses, including arthritis, are related to a diet low in fiber.
Whole (unprocessed) foods are
rich in the nutrients needed to fight destructive free radicals, promote skin
and tissue health, repair bones, muscles, and tendons, and promote regularity.
In addition, being more nutrient-dense, whole foods are more filling and
decrease the likelihood of overeating and subsequent weight gain; losing weight
and reducing the stress on weight-bearing joints are crucial steps to recovering
from arthritis. Whole foods also put less overall stress on the body, because
they are more easily digested and contain fewer toxic substances than processed
Dietary fats are an important
consideration for anyone with arthritis. The wrong kind of fats can increase
inflammation in joints, while the "good" fats will help keep
inflammation in check. As a percentage of calories, most vegetables contain less
than 10% fat and most grains contain 16%-20% fat. By comparison, whole milk and
cheeses contain 74% fat (even low-fat milk contains 38% fat on a
percentage-of-calories basis). Most animal foods contain large quantities of
fat, mostly saturated fats, which raise levels of inflammatory compounds in the
body and increase arthritic symptoms.
Commercially produced, corn-fed
meat and dairy products and shellfish are also high in arachidonic acid which is
converted by the body into powerful pro-inflammatory compounds. Arachidonic acid
is a fatty acid found primarily in animal foods such as meat, poultry, and dairy
products, and to a lesser extent in fish and vegetables. When the diet is
abundant with arachidonic acids, these are stored in cell membranes: an enzyme
transforms these stored acids into chemical messengers called prostaglandins and
leukotrienes with instigate inflammation.
Whole foods, however, are
typically high in healthy fats, including the essential fatty acids, which
research has proven help decrease inflammation and improve the health of people
with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
Arthritis sufferers commonly
have a high level of acidity (a urine pH that is lower than 6.3), which
increases the potential for developing inflammatory conditions. The term pH represents a scale for the relative
acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Acidity is measured as a pH of 0.1 to 6.9.
alkalinity is 7.1 to 14, and neutral pH is 7.0. The numbers refer to how many
hydrogen atoms are present compared to an ideal or standard solution. Normally,
blood is slightly alkaline, at 7.35 to 7.45; urine pH can range from 4.8 to 8.0,
but is usually somewhat acidic, with a normal reading between 5.0 and 6.0.
Acidity can be decreased by
reducing your intake of acid-forming foods and increasing intake of
alkaline-forming foods in the diet. The most acid-forming foods are sugar,
alcohol, vinegar, coffee, meat, and dairy products. Foods known to increase the
alkalinity of the body include all vegetables (except tomatoes), aloe vera, and
green foods, such as chlorella, barley grass, wheat grass, chlorophyll, parsley,
and alfalfa. As a general rule of thumb, the greener the vegetable, the more it
will help increase alkalinity in the body.
Tips to Ease the Shift to
1. Begin by changing one meal a
day to healthful eating. This makes shopping and cooking more manageable while
you adjust to the new lifestyle. Maintain this for about a month until you
tackle the next meal. Within three months, your habits will be transformed.
2. Stop buying snack foods such
as sodas, chips, and cookies. Substitute trail mix, popcorn, and herb teas as an
3. Cook large quantities of main
dish recipes so there will be leftovers for lunch or the next day's dinner.
Avoid freezing foods as this process may kill important nutrients.
4. Do not insist that children
or other family members eat your diet. Simply serve an increasing number of
healthful choices with each meal. This, combined with weaning them from sugar
and refined flour products, will produce a hunger for good food.
5. When dining at other people's
homes, eat lightly, focus on what you can have, and pass up the allergenic
foods. Avoid debates about diet. Soon your improved health may prompt a great
deal of positive interest in your diet.
6. Choose restaurants where
there are healthful choices. Ask if the chef will modify a dish (skip the cream
sauce, for example) to make it fit your new diet. If that is not possible, you
can eat beforehand at home and just sip a beverage while enjoying the social
contact. Be positive, keep the focus off your diet, and, above all, do not be
article was excerpted from Arthritis:
An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide, by Ellen Kamhi, Eugene Zampieron, and Burton Goldberg.
©1999. Reprinted with permission from the publisher, AlternativeMedicine.com
Books, Tiburon, CA, USA.
article on arthritis.
article was excerpted from
Arthritis: Reverse Underlying
Causes of Arthritis with Clinically Proven
by Ellen Kamhi, Eugene Zampieron, and
Editor's Note: Where to buy arthritis
Due to readers' requests
we have searched and found
source of glucosamine in a arthritis therapy cream.
We now sell "Joint Care Complex™":
relieve aches, arthritis, tendonitis, carpel
tunnel syndrome, pains, bursitis, sprains,
bruises, sports injuries & more.
To read more on this product
or to purchase some,
Kamhi, Ph.D., RN., H.N.C. is certified in reflexology, Bach flower
remedies, herbology, darkfield microscopy, and indigenous medicines. Eugene
Zampieron, N.D., A.H.G. is a licensed naturopathic physician,
professional herbalist, and medical botanist specializing in the
non-toxic treatment of autoimmune and rheumatological disorders,
especially arthritis and fibromyalgia. Along with Ellen Kamhi, he has
Natural Medicine Chest. He is co-executive with Dr. Kamhi
of EcoTours for Cures.
Goldberg, Ph.D., Hon., has published Alternative
Medicine: The Definitive Guide, a 1100-page
reference book, hailed as "the bible of alternative medicine".
For information, go to www.alternativemedicine.com.
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