Effect of Diet on Arthritis
JULY 16, 2021
Hello everyone, I'm Dr. Aaron Seaton with The Chiropractic Place. Today, I'm going to be talking to you about the influences of your diet on arthritis. Now, in my practice, I've been a chiropractor for 15 years, you see a lot of people coming in with varying degrees of arthritis in their spine. And so, I wanted to create this video to help my patients and others out there suffering from arthritis better understand what they could be doing at home to help manage that pain and drastically reduce that pain in many cases. So today, we're going to talk about the dietary influences, what foods we want to avoid, and what foods we can consume to help improve our arthritic pain. So first, we're going to start with the area to avoid. One of the top things to avoid is trans fats.
Now, these have a couple of funny names, like hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils. These types of fats are artificial fats that are designed to give food more shelf life. So if you go down the middle of the aisle at the store and you find something that stuff could be sitting on a shelf for three, four, five, six months, and it's not rotting at all. Because these trans fats are in there that are very shelf-stable that prevent that from happening. The problem is when you eat trans fats, they don't readily break down. So they are not healthy for your body, and they can come through into your blood vessels and cause a lot of damage inside your blood vessels leading to future plaque and blockage in your blood vessels, not a good thing. They're also very pro-inflammatory, so they create inflammation in your body, so these have no business in your diet.
Especially if you deal with arthritis and have arthritic pain, you want to avoid these as much as possible—the second category is to avoid sugar. Sugar is not just a sweet, innocent thing, and we know that sugar can cause many issues, increased risks of cancer, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, obesity. But sugar is also very pro-inflammatory in your body. It causes inflammation and thickens your bloodstream. And when you condense the blood, it makes it harder for your body to move oxygen and nutrients to damaged tissue, say an arthritic joint. A joint that has arthritis needs oxygen and needs nutrients to stay healthy, and if you're putting a lot of sugar in your diet, you're going to slow that down, making that arthritis wear out at a faster rate.
So that's why it's so important to avoid sugar. Number three, gluten, especially somebody with gluten intolerance or a gluten sensitivity, can cause inflammation at varying degrees in different people. So avoiding foods with gluten, especially high gluten flours, typically like your pizza doughs and other things, that stretchy doughy feel. All of those doughs are using a high gluten flour, so if you can avoid foods like that, you're going to drastically reduce gluten and radically reduce the inflammation associated with it. Number four is the deadly nightshades. This is a category of foods that include eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. There are a couple of others. But research that there's a molecule in this called solanine that is maybe linked to causing increased inflammation in the diet or increased inflammation excuse in the joints. So I've put several patients on a deadly nightshade restriction when they're having increases in their arthritis. And many of them have reported back feeling a substantial difference after being off the deadly nightshades for several weeks.
So just another area to consider avoiding if you're trying to reduce that pain associated with arthritis. Now we're going to talk about some areas where we can improve our diet and things we can be consuming and why we're going to do that. So first category here, foods with vitamin C. Not only is vitamin C great for our immune system, but vitamin C is a co-factor that our body uses when synthesizing collagen. So whenever our body makes collagen, and collagen is the connective tissue of our body. So any time we do that, we use vitamin C to do it. So having a diet higher in vitamin C will help your body synthesize collagen, which will help protect cartilage and joints. So thinking of this most people think oranges are high in vitamin C. Some foods are a lot higher than that, including broccoli, kale, chard, spinach, any form of sprouts. Like if you take sprouts and maybe put them in your smoothie, like alfalfa sprouts or sunflower sprouts. Those are loaded with vitamin C, which can help kick up that level, help your body synthesize collagen, and protect your joints better. The second category there is foods with magnesium, and magnesium has a couple of effects.
Not only does it help to make sure you have enough magnesium helps kind of mellow us out, helps us. It's a calming mineral that helps us relax. But magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer, so if you have an arthritic joint, the muscles around that joint tend to work harder, so they get tighter. So having enough magnesium can help loosen that up. The other thing that magnesium does is magnesium is a natural vasodilator. What that means is magnesium opens up blood vessels to allow better blood flow. Many endurance athletes take magnesium during their big races because it dilates and opens up the blood vessels of their heart and body to perform better. So my thought on this is, "Hey, patients that are dealing with arthritis having limited blood flow to these joints, we want as much blood flow as we possibly can." The good news is that many foods high in vitamin C are also high in magnesium.
Now, number three is water, that sounds kind of silly, it might sound basic, but when the majority of Americans are walking around dehydrated, this is relevant information. Because think about it this way, I can have you eat all the Vitamin C I want, all of the magnesium I want, but if you're not hydrated, your blood is 90% water. So if you're not hydrated, the blood is what carries all this stuff to the tissues that need it, so if you're not hydrated, you're not going to take this stuff to the tissues that need it effectively. And if you have arthritis, like say in your spine, and you're not hydrated, you're not going to get the nutrients to that joint that it needs, and that arthritis is going to wear out at a faster rate.
So this is pretty basic, but we need to cover it. You need to be hydrated for any of this stuff to get where it needs to go. To start, if you don't drink a lot of water, definitely try to start shooting for eight glasses a day. That's 64 ounces. Get that going. I would increase that over time but start with that. Just if you could get to 64 ounces a day, you're doing better than probably 70% of the people in this country. And that's very important and very easy to do if you want to reduce arthritic pain. Number four is Omega-3s, the omega-3 fatty acids or things like fish oils that you probably heard of. You can also get these in your diet because omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect, they can help reduce inflammation, and that's one of the problems with arthritis. So you can take fish oils if you want, you want to add them to your supplements, but there are other ways to get omega-3s. If you eat eggs, make sure that those are from an organic, free-range source.
Living here in the Redding area, we're fortunate because we can find dozens of people raising pasture-raised chickens that are laying eggs, and they're able to roam around in a healthy environment. So try to find this from a source that allows their chickens' ample pasture space, they're not just stuck in a little pen, but they can roam around and find things. Because chickens don't just eat chicken food, they like to eat bugs, eat grass, and want to scratch in the dirt, that's very healthy for them.
And when they do that, their omega-3s in the egg, especially in the yoke, skyrockets. So if you can find those eggs, do it because those are super healthy for you and have tons of omega-3s. The other thing loaded with that is the grass-fed meats, so if you eat beef, especially beef, find somebody who grass feeds, and grass finishes their beef, so that cow is eating nothing but fresh grass pretty much all the time. There could be some supplementation of alfalfa and stuff like that, but you want a cow that's eating a lot of fresh green grass. Because the omega-3s in that meat will be through the roof, you put that cow on grain for 90 days. A lot of people do that. They feed their cow grain at the end for 90 days. So you're skyrocketing omega-6s and reducing omega-3s, and you're turning that once healthy meat into meat that's very pro-inflammatory. Yeah, a lot of people talk about how it tastes good. That's great, but I've raised grass-fed beef at my house for a long time, and the meat tastes just as good to me, if not better. And it's loaded with the stuff that I need for my body, so I recommend looking at those two sources if you're trying to increase your Omega-3s. Number five is protein, and this is related to the sugar, trans fat issues in the diet that we see with people with arthritis.
If you're having too high of carbohydrates or high on unhealthy fats in your diet, those people are usually not getting enough of the healthy protein. And protein is the basic building block of our entire body. All of our connective tissue, from tendons to ligaments, the muscles to cartilage, needs protein to build appropriately.
So I always bring this one up. It can be linked to what we just talked about, omega-3s, which are plenty of eggs, healthy meats, and reducing our dependency on sugars and trans fats. So if we get a healthy diet like that, we will reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. And probably prolong the life of that joint by putting the right stuff in and making sure that that joint is getting the nutrition it needs.
So if you have any questions on this, I know it can be a little complex sometimes, but hopefully, this video helped you understand a little bit of what you can do at home to improve your diet to help with any pain you're having associated with arthritis. I'm Dr. Aaron Seaton with the Chiropractic Place.