Ankylosing Spondylitis is a form of arthritis which causes inflammation of the spine and, occasionally, other large joints of the body, such as shoulder, hips, and other crucial joints. The patient of ankylosing spondylitis complains of the pain in the back, stiffness, and reduced mobility. It eventually results in the fusion of the spine which is referred to as Bamboo Spine, where there is painful stiffness of the back.
People with HLA B27 along with the family history of ankylosing spondylitis are prone to develop this condition. However, every patient may not have this test positive.
In severe cases, it may lead to complications, such as involvement of Eyes (Uveitis) causing sudden onset of blurred vision, pain, and other discomforts. Bamboo spine is one of the dreaded complications where the spine becomes as stiff as a bamboo stick. It can also affect the intestines, heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.
The optimal treatment includes medicines that reduce pain and inflammation, exercise, physical therapy, and an appropriate diet. Let’s have a look at the appropriate diet for ankylosing spondylitis that a patient of the condition should follow.
The diet to follow when suffering from ankylosing spondylitis must integrate the following important points:
- Anti-inflammatory food items
- Maintenance of weight
- Maintaining the optimum nutritional status of the patient.
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: There have been studies suggesting Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the inflammation significantly. You can include flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, fishes, such as tuna and salmon, and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and others, in your diet.
- Herbs and Spices: Curcumin present in Turmeric is frequently prescribed for controlling the inflammation in several diseases. Garlic and ginger are also known for their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
- Foods Rich in Antioxidants: Antioxidants help in reducing the inflammation and protects our body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Colorful fruits and vegetables are known for being rich in antioxidants. Berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, can be added in your daily diet. You can also include veggies, such as green leafy vegetables, onion, broccoli, and others to your regular diet.
- Weight Maintenance:
Maintaining appropriate weight is important in ankylosing spondylitis, as too much weight can cause excessive stress on the joints and make your symptoms worse. Here are some diet tips to maintain weight when suffering from ankylosing spondylitis.
- Avoid foods high in fat and cholesterol as it may promote inflammation. Avoid junks, red meat, and high-fat dairies.
- Avoid artificial sugars and refined foods, as it can increase your weight and also cause an increase in inflammatory activity.
- Reduce your salt intake.
- Using healthy oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, which has both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties can help.
On the other hand, being underweight can cause a different set of problems, such as chronic fatigue, lowered immunity, a lack of general vitality, and other health issues. Also, an underweight condition may result due to a lack of appetite that can result from certain medications, depression associated with a chronic illness, or those who have their gastrointestinal system affected because of ankylosing spondylitis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).
- Maintaining Optimum Nutrition:
The patients suffering from ankylosing spondylitis are prone to develop osteoporosis, where bones become weakened. A healthy diet would make up for the daily requirements of the nutrients, however, in some cases, supplements of Calcium and Vitamin D may be required. Avoid alcohol as it can increase your chances of developing Osteoporosis. You may consult your physician and start with the required supplements after doing certain blood tests.
These are the general guidelines suggested for the patients of Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Individual variations may be required in some cases depending on the presentation of the disease, medicines being taken by the patient, and other factors. For instance, Methotrexate, a commonly prescribed immunosuppressant, can cause a deficiency of Vitamin B complex. Some medicines also affect the absorption of minerals, such as the retention of sodium or a loss of potassium. Alcohol or foods can also interact with some medications.
You need to discuss these factors with your treating physician for individual modifications in the diet mentioned above. And, follow the appropriate diet for ankylosing spondylitis to obtain relief in your discomfort.