Food And Arthritis

Add the RIGHT foods to your diet to REDUCE arthritic pain and inflammation.
Include the WRONG foods to your diet and INCREASE arthritic pain and inflammation.
My choice? A life-journey based on a low-oil whole-food plant based diet.
Whatever your current state of health, make yourself healthier - you deserve it. Start your plant based diet journey today.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Digestion, part one: Nutrition

Before I begin on today's post, let me just say I swam again today despite my right elbow being painful.  And so the recovery continues...  And so to my post...

I have never studied biology at school, so if it wasn't for the Internet I would be totally ignorant about the human digestive system.  As it stands I love researching subjects using the web and I think I am beginning to get an understanding and would like to begin to share that with you.

The starting point is to say that the digestive system, or to be precise the human digestive system is a very complex system and significant parts of it seem to be a mystery - even to professionals.  Not only do professionals not know the entire story, many professionals disagree about aspects.  Let me start with one statement, one that I hold true, to show that disagreement up, "changing your diet can provide significant control of your arthritis."

Like many fellow sufferers I am a witness to the efficacy of dietary changes on my own body.  Despite those clear effects both my rheumatologist and my doctor both are of another opinion, that any recent health improvements are due to my current drug regime.  But then what do doctors and rheumatologists know about nutrition?  Certainly they do not have comprehensive training in the subject.

My rheumatologist is actually part of a university team looking at gut bacteria and arthritis.  But this team, as far as I understand it are studying this without making any significant connection to food and nutrition.

Let me stop rambling about the background and get on with talking about my understanding.  This whole digestive system is going to take more than one blog post.  My first post is an overview of nutrition, the purpose of food.
  1. Food is grown and eaten to provide nutritional value.  The best quality foods are generally considered to be organic food.  By "best" we mean that the most nutritional value will be eaten by eating organic food.  In part this is also because organic food tends to get from ground to mouth in less time (and certainly distance) than most supermarket foods.  Organic foods are better also because the ground they are grown in almost always is of a better quality, that is the ground is nutritionally rich.
  2. This is not to say you cannot live happily on supermarket foods, because generally you can.  Rather I am saying that people with arthritis need to get the best nutritional value, so buy organic whenever possible!
  3. And of course, if you re-read the tag line of this blog it is important to eat the some foods and avoid others that cause problems.  Generally for people with arthritis this means avoiding gluten and dairy.
  4. In the home then most people consume food in a cooked form.  There is very good evidence that even steamed foods lose some of their nutritional value.  Further cooking only leaches nutrition from the food out into the atmosphere and away from the cooked food.  It is my view that anyone with arthritis should eat at least 50% raw each day.
  5. All this talk of nutrition is more important to anyone with an auto-immune disease such as arthritis than the average human.  I think this for three main reasons.  Firstly because anyone with arthritis is "burning" the nutrition inside their body at a faster rate.  Also their digestive system is working below par, that is less effectively.  Add to these the negative effects of any drug regime simply heightens the need to take the subject of nutrition seriously.
  6. So what level of nutrition is needed?  This in itself is a debatable point.  Most people have heard of terms like RDA, the recommended daily amount.  This refers to the amount of a particular bit of nutrition that each person should consume on average each day.  Right now I have both an iron and a vitamin D deficiency, so I am adding a couple of supplements back into my diet to help address these, as recommended by my doctor.
  7. It is however very important to understand that RDA is a very poor indicator.  Some nutritional components such as Vitamic C should to be injested each day because the body neither creates or retains VitC.  In contrast Vitamin A will build up over time and is stored in the body so if you don't have some for a while it is usually not much of a problem.
  8. Another problem with RDA is the numbers touted are for an average human being.  This take no account of my point above that a person with arthritis is burning nutrition up at a faster rate.  Nor does it account for more refined descriptions of a human being such as BMI, Body Mass Index.
  9. And yet there more problems with RDA such as the basic research on how these amounts were created.  I won't go into the problems with RDA much further.  It gets too confusing.  The conclusion anyone should draw is "listen to your body".  If you are feeling good and happy then you must be getting something close to the right nutrition for your body.
  10. I have got one more problem with RDA.  It's approach is to separate out each nutrient and highlight a minimum requirement for each.  That is an over simplistic model that does not reflect the way the body works.  Take for instance the class of nutrients called electrolytes.  These should be taken in in a balanced way.  That is if you eat more of one, eg potassium then you should eat more more of another, perhaps magnesium.  For the human body to work properly the balance of these nutrients is as important as the amounts of each individually.
I am going to stop here for now.  Next time I hope to get more deeply into nutrients.

Click here for 2. Andy's Arthritic Diet

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