When you have a long-term medical condition such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS), it is important to make sure that you have a healthy diet with ankylosing spondylitis. The key to a healthy diet is:

  • Eating the right amount of food is how active you are.
  • Eating a range of foods to make sure you get a balanced diet.

Maintaining a healthy weight is very important, as being overweight increases the load on the joints that carry weight and can increase pain. When you walk, your hips, knees, and ankles carry three to five times the total body weight of a person.

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A healthy balanced diet for ankylosing spondylitis

Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables (including at least 1 leafy green vegetable) each day with 2 servings of fruit.

As a child, you may have been told “eat greens,” but it is just as important to eat fruits: red, orange, yellow, blue and purple. Scientists now know that many of the naturally occurring chemicals responsible for providing fruits and vegetables with their vibrant colors actually help to keep us healthy and free from disease.

Fruits and vegetables contain hundreds of colorful phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. They help clean up potentially harmful molecules called free radicals before they get a chance to damage cells. All these different colors add a lot of tastes and textures to the dishes, which makes them not only healthier but also more delicious.

Also, add:

Protein in the form of fish, legumes, nuts, eggs, and meat (not too much).

Calcium for bone health. You need about 700 mg per day, which is equivalent to 200 ml of semi-skimmed milk, 150 g jars of low-fat yogurt and a small cheese.

Do not forget about starchy foods, but try to choose whole grains such as brown rice, whole milk pasta, and wholemeal brown bread. They contain more fiber and usually more vitamins and minerals than white varieties. 

Omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to help some people with ankylosing spondylitis. Omega-3 fatty acids exist in two forms:

  • Long-chain forms are found at higher levels in oily fish, for example, sardines, mackerel, salmon.
  • Short-chain forms are found in rapeseed oil, linseed oil, and walnuts.

Studies show that you need at least 2.7 g per day of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Eating two servings of fish per week will give you about 0.45 g per day, so you can take supplements to achieve the full amount. You can buy supplements in health food stores: either in liquid forms or in capsule form. They act quite slowly, so you need to give them at least a three-month trial period.

Try to change your diet

Trying to take proper nutrition and your condition can sometimes be difficult. It may be helpful for you to talk about your dietary needs with the help of a nutritionist. Do not make any huge changes to your diet until you speak with a nutritionist.

Carefully study the dietary requirements.

You should be suspicious of any diet that claims to cure or treat ankylosing spondylitis. If such a diet with ankylosing spondylitis existed, general practitioners and rheumatologists would know about this and would recommend it to you. If you are tempted to try a diet, discuss your plan with a group of general practitioners or rheumatologists. In order to help make sure that trying a diet will not cause health problems. For example, some diets may be deficient in calcium, which is necessary for healthy bones.

Low Starch Diet

This diet is based on a study by Dr. Alan Ebringer, a professor of immunology at King’s College London. He is a leading figure in a group of researchers working on the theory that some types of Klebsiella bacteria in the intestines of people with ankylosing spondylitis are involved in triggering the disease process through a complex immune response.

In 1996, in an article supporting his theory, Dr. Ebringer published a chart of one of the patients whom he had been following for a certain period of time. The patient erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) showed a clear decrease in the time he spent after the diet (1983 – 1995). ESR is a measure of inflammation, and Dr. Ebringer believes that reducing the patient’s ESR has demonstrated the success of this diet.

However, it is recognized that ESR levels in AS do not necessarily indicate actual human symptoms. Some people with high ESR may experience slight pain and stiffness. While people with low ESR can, on the contrary, experience great pain and severe stiffness.

Some people with ankylosing spondylitis report that they had a good experience with low starch content, while others did not find any benefit.

It’s hard to research a diet. When new drugs are tested, researchers can give one group a new medicine and a placebo to the other group. Even doctors who treat patients in a medical study cannot tell which patients are taking the trial drug and which fictitious drugs so that this knowledge does not affect the results. This is known as double-blind testing. From the study, we know that double-blind trials in which neither the patient nor the observer knows which treatment was given are the best way to show whether the treatment really works.

However, when researchers are experimenting with diet and trying to see how diet can influence the disease, it is not possible to follow certain research protocols, such as using controls or fictitious treatments. Neither the person eating the diet nor the person taking measurements after the diet can be blinded as to which diet was used. It is also impossible to confirm that someone strictly adheres to the diet without any omissions. Diet for ankylosing spondylitis see above.

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