There are more than 100 types of arthritis. The most common, osteoarthritis (OA), is the form that is usually associated with the word "arthritis". OA occurs when the cartilage covering the ends of the bones begins to wear down and the bones begin to rub against each other, causing inflammation, pain and stiffness.
A less common type, psoriatic arthritis, affects people who have psoriasis. Psoriasis is a disease of the skin that causes people to develop redness of the skin, irritation and thick, silvery patches called scales. Although the exact cause is unknown, researchers believe that psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about 7, 5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis and between 10 and 30 percent of those people will develop psoriatic arthritis.
In many cases, a person will develop psoriasis first and then develop psoriatic arthritis. However, it is possible that arthritis is the first symptom of the disease and the skin condition appears later. As with OA, the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any part of the body and can appear and disappear when the disease enters periods of increased activity (outbreaks) and decreased activity (remission).
Editor's Note: This article was medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD.
About 7, 5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis and between 10 and 30 percent of those people will develop psoriatic arthritis.
National Psoriasis Foundation
Nutrition and Psoriatic Arthritis
Medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antirheumatic disease modifiers (DMARDs), are often the first-line treatment for psoriatic arthritis. Some people, however, may wish to supplement their medication regimen with a proper diet for arthritis. Others may discover that they can manage their symptoms without medication.
Talk to your doctor about your options. While there is no "miracle food" to cure psoriatic arthritis, several foods have been shown to reduce or eliminate symptoms.
Cold water fish
Cold water fish, such as salmon, anchovies and mackerel, are rich in omega-3, heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory.
A study in 2002 published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that people with autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis, who consume omega-3 fatty acids experience reduced disease activity (fewer symptoms), unlike of people who do not consume them, whose disease does not experience these benefits.
People who have an adequate intake of omega-3 fats also have to take fewer medications and controlling psoriasis can help control the associated symptoms of arthritis.
When grains are stripped of their bran and germ during the refining process, all healthy vitamins and minerals go with them. All that remains is the endosperm of carbohydrates and rich in proteins.
Whole grains have not been refined in any way and are healthy sources of many vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, proteins and fiber. Whole grains keep you feeling full for longer, which helps control your weight. Whole foods also contain anti-inflammatory agents that can help combat and reduce the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.
Note: do not confuse whole grains with "multi-grain" products. Being multigrain only means that more than one type of grain has been included but in no way guarantees that the grains include the vitamins and minerals that are part of whole grains.
Healthy Oils and Fats
Vegetarians or people who prefer not to eat fish can get their healthy ration of omega-3 fatty acids in other foods. According to the National Institutes of Health, non-meat sources of omega-3 fatty acids are oils, such as canola and soybean oil, in addition to pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and nuts.
Eating several of these non-meat omega-3 sources every day ensures that your body gets enough of this substance, which is so good for you.
Foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, pineapple, broccoli and cauliflower, can help reduce pain and inflammation in damaged joints, according to a 2007 study in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.
But be careful: not always more is better.
A study from Duke University conducted on animals also found that excess vitamin C can cause bone spurs, which can increase joint damage and pain. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is 90 mg per day for men, while women need 75 mg per day.
Fruits and vegetables
The most colorful and tasty foods in nature are often packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Antioxidants are great protectors against diseases, help reduce inflammation, prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals, and protect your body against damage caused by psoriasis and arthritis, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Try to eat at least three servings every day, both fruit and vegetables. In this case, more is better.
Our joints bear a heavy load: our weight. The heavier you are, the harder your bones and joints must work to support your body.The lighter you are, the easier it will be to work for your joints. Then, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce tension in all joints (not to mention your heart and cardiovascular system). Ultimately, the lower the weight that the joints have to move, the better.
In addition to eating many of the foods mentioned above to reduce the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, other healthy eating strategies can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Portion sizes (the amount of food you eat) can make or break your diet. (Serving sizes are the recommended amount of food, a serving is the amount of food you serve). Keeping track of the portion can help you eat fewer calories, focus your calories on healthier options and, ultimately, eat less. Here are some tips to control your portions:
• A serving of grains is equal to 1 slice of bread. • A serving of rice or pasta should be about the size of a half baseball. • A serving of vegetables is about the size of a small fist. • A serving of chopped, canned fruit or juice is 1/2 cup or a medium-sized fruit (about the size of a baseball). • A serving of meat, fish or poultry is 2 to 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards. • A serving of beans is half a cup. • A serving of peanut butter (2 tablespoons) is about the size of a ping-pong ball. • One serving of milk or yogurt is 1 cup, and one serving of cheese is 1 1/2 ounces or the size of four dice stacked.
Always consult your doctor before starting a new diet and exercise routine; It can help you design a plan that suits your specific needs. However, a healthy and well-balanced diet that emphasizes potentially anti-inflammatory foods combined with an active lifestyle can be effective in improving the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.
About the author
Kimberly Holland is a nutritional and health writer.