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How do I Choose the Best Ankylosing Spondylitis Diet?

By Synthia L. Rose
Updated May 17, 2024
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Choosing the best diet for ankylosing spondylitis, a kind of arthritis that afflicts the spine as well as the sacroiliac joints, requires selecting an eating plan that has omega- 3 fatty acids, a low percentage of starches and red meat, and a high amount of antioxidants. Exclusion is as much a factor as inclusion in any ankylosing spondylitis diet. Omega-6 fatty acids, for example, are frequently excluded or reduced by people diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis because they can induce flare-ups and additional joint swelling.

The Mediterranean eating lifestyle has been embraced as a top ankylosing spondylitis diet for some because it has a high percentage of omega-3 oils from the abundance of fish and legumes. While omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids induce the opposite effect. By increasing the function of prostaglandins, omega-3 oils have the ability to reverse spinal swelling and pain associated with ankylosing spondylitis. Sufferers of ankylosing spondylitis also like that the Mediterranean diet is low is red meat, a major source of omega-6 fatty acids. Instead, this diet is anchored on fresh vegetables, olive oil, seasonal fruit, and seafood.

Even ankylosing spondylitis sufferers who do not embrace a Mediterranean diet or a fish-laden diet usually find a way to make omega-3 oils a major part of their daily nutritive consumption since research studies have supported claims that the oils reduce inflammation. Special foods containing these fatty acids are generally used to get occasional spikes in omega-3 oil. A New Zealand mussel known as the green-lipped mussel, for example, is a favorite among many ankylosing spondylitis patients because it has one of the highest amounts of omega-3.

Also, supplements containing krill oil, cod liver oil, and other forms of fish oil are daily sources of omega-3 fatty acids that many nutritionists recommend for an effective ankylosing spondylitis diet. Taking at least 0.105 ounces (3 grams) a day can often help control inflammation, reducing the need for anti-inflammation medication. Some studies even suggest that supplements can still help control inflammation for up to two months after a user stops taking them.

Antioxidants, according to research, can deter inflammation in several forms of arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis. The most popular sources of these chemicals are in foods with vitamin E and beta carotene. Such foods include carrots, cantaloupe, and wheat germ.

Research studies claim starchy foods should be limited in an ankylosing spondylitis diet because they feed a microbe responsible for the spinal swelling and stiffness. Klebsiella is a microorganism that festers in the intestines as a result of undigested carbohydrates. The tracking of ankylosing spondylitis patients by some doctors suggests that low levels of carbohydrates and starches reduce klebsiella levels, thus reducing swelling of the joints.

While a controlled and strategic ankylosing spondylitis diet may temper pain and swelling, it typically cannot prevent bones in the spine from fusing together, which is a major risk of the disease. Controlling swelling, however, can preserve flexibility and range of motion, some nutritionists claim. Some ankylosing spondylitis patients claim that increasing omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants while controlling starch and meats has helped them stave off major disability and bone fusion.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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