By Gale Tern
Can arthritis be cured through diet? Is there such a thing as an anti-arthritis diet? Science and our own government have shown that almost every chronic degenerative disease acquired by Americans is the result of a nutritional deficiency. Many years ago, while researching the effects of nutrition on health, I ran across a stunning newspaper article with a heading that read, “21-Year Cover Up: Suppressed 1971 U.S. Report Linked Diet, Disease”.
This article explained how our own government through the USDA had suppressed a U.S. government report that had been released way back in 1971. The report was called Human Nutrition, Report No. 2, Benefits from Human Nutrition Research. This report was the culmination of $30 million worth of federal nutrition research and it revealed for the first time that all major health problems and killer diseases were the result of poor diet and nutrition.
The upshot of all this is that arthritis, like many other diseases, has its roots in nutrition. So what diet works for those who suffer from arthritis? Well arthritis is an umbrella term. The word arthritis literally means joint inflammation, but is often used to refer to a group of more than 100 rheumatic (inflammatory) diseases that can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. These diseases may affect not only the joints but also other parts of the body.
Thus, an anti-arthritis diet must be tailored to the condition you suffer. However, in the main I can tell you what has been found to work for most sufferers of arthritis.
Magnesium. This is easily the most important mineral to consume if you suffer from any form of arthritis. It is an acid-neutralizing mineral. And this is important because most Americans consume a diet that is high in acid-forming foods. These foods cause inflammation and disease. Food sources of magnesium can be found in green leafy vegetables, edible grasses such as wheatgrass and barley, and in super foods such as spirulina and chlorella.
Vitamin D. Almost every American is deficient in vitamin D. A recent study showed that people with low intakes of vitamin D had a 300% higher risk of osteoarthritis. Another study published in the April 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that low levels of vitamin D could contribute to hip fractures in women. Recent reports also show that patients with rheumatoid arthritis also had low serum levels of vitamin D. You can get good amounts of vitamin D from 10-15 minutes of exposure to the sun (hands, arms, face). In addition, cod liver oil and krill oil are high in vitamin D. Look for brands certified to be free of contaminants like mercury. (Note: People with low levels of magnesium are not able to utilize vitamin D as efficiently as those with adequate levels of this mineral.)
Calcium. Believe it or not, most Americans are getting too much of this mineral. Studies show that excess calcium can lead to diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and hypertension. Excess calcium causes our cells to become rigid and to die prematurely. To be effective, calcium should be taken in concert with magnesium. You should be getting twice as much magnesium as calcium in your diet. The best food sources for calcium come from dairy, like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Good sources of calcium include broccoli, soybeans, spinach, and bok choy.