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Self Diet and Nutrition | MAI Publications | Mission Arthritis India
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City: Pune, Maharashtra, India.

Self Diet and Nutrition
by Dr Manjit Saluja

One aspect that many patients overlook when it comes to self-confidence is the physical health. When a person eats junk food compared to healthy balanced food, chances are that you do not feel better about yourself, which affects your mood and behavior.

A balanced nutritious diet with a few lifestyle changes can influence your well being in a positive way. The right balance of nutrients areobtained from food. Too many sweet drinks/caffeine may cause temporary mood fluctuations. Ensuring that you eat a diet comprising the appropriate vitamins, minerals and good fats is the best way to help be more confident about your health.

Healthy diet is a big part of any successful self-care plan. Eating a healthy diet gives your brain and body the vitamins and minerals required to stay well. You have to first realize that you are healthy and want to become a more stronger version of yourself.

As an arthritis patient your self nutrition plan should begin with the following questions: How can I get more calcium in my diet?

The best source comes from diary products such as milk, paneer and yogurt. Though cheese is also a good source it is not consumed in our country. If you don't like diary products you can have almonds, rajgeera, naachni, fruits like oranges, figs and leafy green vegetables. If you are lactose intolerant you can have fortified juices or cereals, but remember to read the labels for the contents. Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, and the best source of Vitamin D is sunlight, and we are lucky to have bountiful of sunshine in our country. According to the national Institute of Hyderabad, grains such as Rajma, ragi, moong, matki, soyabean and chanadaal are some of the calcium rich grains. Sitaphal, banana and fresh Khajur are also some of the calcium rich fruits. How can I get more iron in my diet?

A handful of nuts such as cashew nuts, almonds peanuts and raisins. Dark leafy vegetables ,jaggery are also good sources of iron. Include amla, guava, citrus fruits, papaya and sporuts in your diet, these contain vitamin C which aids in iron absorption. Sprouting chickpeas, green moong, cowpeas, soyabeans will make a good iron-vitamin C combo.

What should I include in my diet for inflammation and pain? The Arthritis foundation has listed certain foods that help fight pain and inflammation:

Fish, colorful fruits like strawberries , spinach, nuts such as walnuts, almonds and pistachios are full of inflammation fighting fats.

Beans have several antioxidant and antiinflammatory compounds.

Onions are also packed with beneficial antioxidants and also reduce inflammation.

Fiber lowers CRP which indicates inflammation. Carrots peppers and other fibrous foods help in lowering CRP.Also drink plenty of water with your fiber., which helps fiber work more effectively.

Reduce salt: Reducing salt is not only good for your heart , but also reduces calcium loss from bones and helps in reducing osteoporosis and risk of fracture.

What should I be eating to stay healthy?

Plenty of vegetables, legumes and beans.

Whole grains such as whole wheat, bajra, jowar, Maize, Jau, Ragi, and Kuttu.

Fish, eggs and handful of nuts.

10-12 glasses of water.

Have healthy snacks in between to keep up the energy levels.

I do not eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, should I take a supplement instead?

The best way for your body to get the required nutrients is from food. Supplements cannot replace a healthy diet. Food not only provides important vitamins and minerals but also fibre, protein and antioxidants

I am a vegetarian, what should I eat for omega 3 fatty acids For vegetarians try eating walnuts and almonds. Flax seeds and chia seeds are also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids.

Which foods will boost my immunity?

  • Eat citrus fruits such as oranges, amla papaya.
  • Turmeric a helps in reducing inflammation and fever.
  • Fiber- Fiber rich foods such as beans fruits and vegetables have many health benefits and also protect your heart.
  • Water- may not seem an essential vitamin or mineral, but is important for good health.
  • Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of WBC's. These help in fighting infections.
  • Garlic- may help in lowering Blood pressure and also helps in slowing down the hardeining of arteries.
  • Ginger- Helps decrease chronic pain.
  • Vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. Almonds are packed with Vitamin E.


What is the role of antioxidants for my health? 

Diet rich in antioxidants may reduce pain and inflammation (Clinical Rheumatology:-Antioxidant intervention in Rheumatoid arthritis: Result of an open pilot study ) You can include antioxidants by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, Eating nuts, Drinking green tea, more of fibrous foods, Arthritis foundation states that foods high in fiber can reduce CRP. Get more fiber in your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables including strawberries, whole grains, beans and nuts, Spices like turmeric and ginger which have anti inflammatory properties

Eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, meats, beans, nuts, and seeds helps ensure that you're getting what you need.Keep in mind that 'I cant control everything in my life, but I can control my diet, it is not how much I eat, but what I eat makes me healthy....