Dr. Albert Rowe, of the University of California in San Francisco, wrote about an arthritis and a food allergy connection back in 1931.
Today, doctors are beginning to take diet seriously as mounting evidence is proving that nutrition plays an important role in any disease, including arthritis and especially rheumatoid arthritis.
Around 1906, it was realized that many illnesses were an inter-reaction between environmental factors and susceptible individuals. Research continues to show that.
By changing what you eat, symptoms are relieved. Food sensitivities and dietary fat are contributing causes to rheumatoid arthritis, despite the fact that sufferers rarely display classic allergy reactions to certain foods.
Keeping a diary of foods eaten, and any symptoms that follow, can determine whether foods are indeed causing pain, discomfort, stiffness, or swelling.
Dr. Paavo Airola, a leading holisitic health authority, believes that all disease has the same basic underlying causes: the systemic derangement, biochemical, and metabolic disorder brought about by prolonged physical and mental stresses to which the individual is subjected and reacts.
These stressors include faulty nutritional patterns, constant overeating, overindulgence in proteins and the body’s inability to digest them, nutritional deficiencies, sluggish metabolism, and the consequent retention of toxic metabolic wastes.
Poisons from polluted food and drinks, water, air, and the environment take their toll, as do other pollutants, including drugs (all kinds), tobacco, and alcohol. A lack of exercise, rest, relaxation and severe emotional stress have a profound effect on the body.
These will not manifest themselves in the same way but vary according to the individual’s temperment. All of this gradually lowers the body’s resistance to disease, allowing bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites to take over, leading many to think this is the cause of the disease when, in fact, they are the secondary result.
The concept of masking is an important one to understand when dealing with foods and arthritis. It explains why so many sufferers feel so bad first thing in the morning.
The general theory is that the stiffness is brought on by the immobility of sleep. This may well be a contributing factor, but another plausible reason also exists. It is believed that the stiffness is the result of a non-consumption of the foods to which the individual is sensitive to over a longer period of time, such as happens after a nighttime of rest.
These people also feel worse if they happen to miss breakfast, which normally contains at least one of the foods to which they are sensitive. This may sound contradictory, but it has been shown that those foods which create a sensitivity or allergy are the very ones the body craves.
Certain foods can cause allergic inflammatory symptoms, which vary from person to person. Some foods, as animal products, wheat and dairy, directly increase the production of such inflammatory substances in the body as prostaglandins. By increasing the consumption of these foods, there is an increase in pain and inflammation.
Arachidonic acid is the main food culprit when it comes to producing inflammation. It is found almost entirely in animal products and saturated fats.
It is the precursor to the ‘bad’ kind of prostaglandins that produce platelet stickiness, hardening of the arteries, heart disease, strokes, and inflammation. Studies have shown that improvement in arthritic symptoms occurs when a diet low in animal products is used.
Animal products increase the production of the chemicals responsible for the inflammation in arthritis (prostaglandins and leukotrienes), and by removing them from the diet, symptoms of arthritis begin to disappear. Plant foods rarely produce inflammatory symptoms.
For the sensitive individual, food proteins can cause much the same reaction as a grass, mold, pollen, peanuts, or any other allergen. When an allergen enters the body, it provokes an immune response which then releases inflammatory mediators, causing hypersensitive reactions.
When food passes into the gastro-intestinal tract and acts like an allergen, the immune system responds by producing an antibody that binds to the food in an attempt to neutralize it. One specific immunoglobulin that is supposed to help with the regulation and neutralization of these food allergens is IgA.
However, it has been shown that the production of IgA is much lower in individuals with RA than in unaffected people or even those with non-inflammatory arthritis. It has also been shown that those with RA have abnormal digestion and absorption of wheat and dairy products. Their gastro-intestinal tracts appear to be more permeable to these foods making them act as antigens or allergens.
Excess weight also plays a significant role in stressing joints, and there is a definite link between obesity and the development of osteoarthritis. The joint that receives the most stress is the kneecap. The kneecap transmits about five times the body weight when climbing stairs; and, for every pound of body weight lost, five pounds of stress is removed from the kneecap.
A diet of low-risk foods helps to eliminate painful swellings or joint inflammations. This is recommended for a week and includes the following:
- Four round fish as protein (cod, trout, salmon, and mackerel)
- Carrots, pears, courgettes, marrow, parsnips, turnips, swedes (rutabagas), sweet potatoes
- Only bottled or filtered water
- Sea salt (coloured, not white)
- No drugs
The first three days, the normal withdrawal responses will be experienced. You may feel worse than better; but this is normal as the body rids itself of accumulated wastes, causing the inflammation and pain. By the end of six or seven days, the improvements are said to be spectacular.
Desired foods are:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Polyunsaturated fats
- Whole foods as opposed to processed ones
- Filtered water
Foods to avoid are:
- Other red meats
- Sugar and foods with added sugar
- Fatty foods
- Caffeine (tea, coffee, colas, chocolate, and even green tea)
- Dairy products
- Legumes (lectin can aggravate symptoms)
- Tomatoes and other nightshade vegetables (potatoes, eggplant, peppers, even tobacco)
- Smoked or processed meats
- Fizzy drinks
- Refined foods
- Additives and preservatives
- Acidic foods (vinegar, citrus juices)