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Healthy diet vital in managing arthritis

<a style="background-color:black;color:white;text-decoration:none;padding:4px 6px;font-family:-apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "San Francisco", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Ubuntu, Roboto, Noto, "Segoe UI", Arial, sans-serif;font-size:12px;font-weight:bold;line-height:1.2;display:inline-block;border-radius:3px" href="https://unsplash.com/@organicdesignco?utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=photographer-credit&utm_content=creditBadge" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" title="Download free do whatever you want high-resolution photos from Megan Hodges"><span style="display:inline-block;padding:2px 3px"><svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" style="height:12px;width:auto;position:relative;vertical-align:middle;top:-2px;fill:white" viewBox="0 0 32 32"><title>unsplash-logo</title><path d="M10 9V0h12v9H10zm12 5h10v18H0V14h10v9h12v-9z"></path></svg></span><span style="display:inline-block;padding:2px 3px">Megan Hodges</span></a>According to a study published by the University of Rochester Medical Center last year, junk food aggravates joint pain and arthritis. From the study, gut microbiome appear to be responsible for the inflammation that causes joint pain due to wear and tear of joints of obese individuals. Now arthritis is the inflammation of joints. The two most common types are; osteoarthritis which is degenerative and results from the wearing out of the protective cartilage of the bones, and rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease- the immune system mistakenly attacks joints.

Studies on humans have shown certain probiotics as having certain benefits to arthritic patients. Studies have also shown changes in gut microbiome with changes in diet, with significant changes being observed among individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who switched diets from omnivorous to vegan diets and from vegan to lacto vegan diets (vegetables and dairy products) over a period of months, significantly altering the disease progression. At the same time, overweight and obesity are known risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Obesity has actually been shown to increase RA activity.  When compared to none obese individuals, people with obesity have worse disease activity and outcomes. Preventing and managing obesity is therefore useful for improving the disease outcome and improving the quality of life.

Majority of the chronic conditions can be prevented and their outcomes improved by having a healthy diet, and especially a plant based diet. Green leafy vegetables provide Vitamin K which is essential for healthy cartilage, and provides other minerals and vitamins that are protective. A plant- based diet also promotes weight loss which has been shown to reduce pain, pain associated inflammation and improve function in osteoarthritis. It also helps to lower blood cholesterol which has also been associated with osteoarthritis. Foods like dairy products, citruses and getting some sun is essential for vitamin D. Foods such as mushrooms have been shown to have a protective effects while omega 3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids have been shown to be both protective and beneficial for those already having arthritis.

Christine Nderitu

As a licensed Nutritionist and Public Health Practitioner, Christine, helps people lead healthy lifestyles through education and behaviour change practices that are simple and practical. Her area of expertise lies not just in nutrition management but in health education and promotion in HIV/AIDS, Adolescent Health, Maternal and Child Health as well as Non-Communicable Diseases, which she has engaged in for a decade. She is also a columnist in a leading local Daily. Christine has a keen interest in Non-Communicable Diseases prevention and control. She feels that the world needs more stories that celebrate and normalize desired (good) behaviour. And humanity. “We have many preventable and often manmade public health issues today.”