Living with ankylosing spondylitis can be a painful experience, and it’s understandable that you would try anything to get relief from your symptoms. While medication and physical therapy should be the primary ways of managing your AS, some people have found supplemental success with dietary changes as well. These tips will help you make your eating habits more AS-friendly.
Foods to Incorporate
There is mounting evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to reduce pain and inflammation associated with ankylosing spondylitis. Including them may help ease your symptoms, but they’re also essential for a healthy diet regardless. Some foods containing the highest levels of omega-3s include fish (specifically salmon and sardines), avocado, walnuts, kale, and spinach.
Additionally, many food manufacturers also produce products that are artificially enriched with omega-3, such as eggs and fruit juice. If you’re struggling to incorporate some of these foods into your diet, fish oil supplements are also contain high levels as well.
Foods to Avoid
Highly processed foods can lead to inflammation in the body, and since AS sufferers are already susceptible to it, it’s best to just avoid them. These include any products that are especially high in sugar, sodium, or saturated fat. Additionally, red meat has been shown to exacerbate inflammation, so limit your intake to no more than one or two times weekly.
If you’re suffering from AS you should also consider limiting your alcohol intake. This condition makes you more susceptible to osteoporosis, and alcoholic beverages have been shown to increase your risk even more. However, limiting yourself to no more than one or two drinks a day should be enough to prevent any serious problems.
There are a number of ankylosing spondylitis diet websites and books available today, but most of them amount to no more than fad dieting. Often times these specialized diets will tell you to eliminate entire food groups with no evidence that it will help with your symptoms. At best, suggestions like this are pointless; at worst, they could put you at risk for malnutrition. Always discuss any potential dietary changes with your doctor before making a final decision about them.