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What’s the Best Diet for Axial Spondyloarthritis?

There might not be a cure, but a healthy diet for axial spondyloarthritis can yield significant results for your health and well being.

Salad incorporated in a diet for axial spondyloarthritis sufferers

Eating a diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients will help your overall health. Some of these healthy foods can even cut down on inflammation. This will help alleviate your axial spondyloarthritis symptoms.

Want to know which foods can help? Read on to discover what you should snag at the grocery store to help decrease axial spondyloarthritis symptoms.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Axial Spondyloarthritis

Some axial spondyloarthritis clinical studies suggest that you can reduce your  disease activity by adding Omega 3 supplements to your diet. You can also get Omega 3 from foods in which it occurs naturally. Here are some examples:

  • Greens such as:
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Salad Greens
  • Flax seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Coldwater fish such as:
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Oils such as:
  • Canola
  • Soybean
  • Flaxseed

If you’d like to learn more about how Omega 3 fatty acids can help your axial spondyloarthritis, we recommend this article.

Fresh Produce and Axial Spondyloarthritis

Fruits and vegetables are also excellent and tasty ways to get most of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

Often in our culture when we think of “snacks” we think of packaged cookies, processed carbs, and artificially flavored candies. These are not the best “snacks” for your body, as they have little to no nutritional value!

Try to rethink what you reach for when you’re in need of a little nibble. It’s quick and healthy to grab an apple, banana, or raw veggies instead! These are so much better for your overall health, and for treating your axial spondyloarthritis.

It may sound less fun or less tasty, but it really doesn’t have to be. They more you eat healthy snacks, the more your body will crave them. Plus you can find lots of delicious healthy recipes online.

A Whole Foods Diet for Axial Spondyloarthritis

Whole foods and grains can actually go both ways. They are high in fiber, so they can decrease inflammation in some people with arthritis. However they can trigger symptoms in others.

The best way to see how they affect you is by keeping a detailed food diary of what you’ve been eating and how you feel afterward. If whole foods and grains don’t cause a flare-up for you, try adding some more of them to your diet. Oatmeal and brown rice are both excellent healthy choices.

Foods that You Should Avoid

Highly processed foods are not good for anyone, but they can especially affect you if you have axial spondyloarthritis. Foods that are highly processed and/or high in sugar and fat may cause inflammation. Dairy products can also cause inflammation in some people.

Burgers can cause axial spondyloarthritis inflammation

Here are some good tips to live by when choosing foods:

  1. Limit foods that come in:
    1. Boxes
    2. Bags
    3. Cans
  2. Read labels
  3. Avoid foods that contain added ingredients your body doesn’t need. These include foods with:
    1. Saturated fats
    2. High sodium content
    3. Added sugars
    4. Preservatives
    5. Trans fats

Avoid Alcohol when you have Axial Spondyloarthritis

Even though alcoholic drinks are often fun and enjoyable, it is recommended to limit or avoid them if you have axial spondyloarthritis.

Drinking alcoholic beverages can interact or interfere with medications and cause side effects. Larger amounts of alcohol can even damage:

  • Your liver
  • The lining of your small intestine
  • Your stomach

Damage to these vital parts of your body can make it harder to digest nutrients. It can also work against your body’s ability to absorb and store certain vitamins.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Many individuals with arthritis take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs. Unfortunately, these can sometimes cause damage to your gut lining. You can combat this potential damage by eating foods like bananas and active- or live-culture yogurt. Eating these when you take your NSAIDs may help protect your gut lining. You can even combine them in a delicious smoothie!

A Low-Starch Diet for Axial Spondyloarthritis

Some axial spondyloarthritis sufferers have reported improvement when they live on a low-starch diet. If you are interested, you can check out this article. More studies would be needed to prove this one way or the other, but there is definitely some evidence out there that limiting starch can help decrease spondyloarthritis inflammation.

Some foods that contain starch include:

  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Pastries
  • Breads
  • Pastas
  • (Some) prepackaged snack foods

The Low Starch Diet is also called the “London AS Diet.” It allows the following foods:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Milk products

Axial Spondyloarthritis and Dietary Supplements

If you stick to a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and lean meats, you might not need to take a dietary supplement on top of that. However if you’re lacking nutrients, you may benefit from an extra boost.

We advise against blindly choosing a vitamin or supplement. Some manufacturers make false claims in order to sell their product. Also some supplements can interfere with certain medications. It is best to talk to your doctor. Through conversation and maybe a blood test, the two of you can figure out what– if any– supplement you should take.

Conclusion

We know that sticking to a healthy diet can be more easily said than done. Just remember to be kind to yourself. It is a marathon rather than a sprint. Start eating better by:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Eating slowly
  • Picking smaller portions
  • Saving “treat” foods for special occasions

Make sure to steer clear of extreme or fad diets. These can often do more harm than good.

As always, talk to your doctor about any changes you’re thinking of making. Be sure to tell him or her everything regarding your current diet, supplements, vitamins, and medications (both prescription and over-the-counter.)

By treating your body kindly and working closely with your physician, you can do your utmost to keep axial spondyloarthritis symptoms at bay as much as possible.

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