Diet therapy is beneficial in various forms of bones and joint problems like arthritis, gout, rheumatism etc. It is important to know which food item should be consumed or totally avoided as sometimes the underlying cause of such problems is merely because of food allergies or reaction. In such bone associated problems, softdrinks, additives, egg yolk, fried foods, red meats, vinegar, hot spices, alcohol, roasted dry nuts should be avoided. Low sugar, low salt, low fat diet should be generally taken.
Main target area related to joint problem is the knee. According to the Ayurvedic concept of sandhi vyaadhi (joint disease), the joint problems are caused by inappropiate lifestyle and diet, some underlying systemic imbalance (poor metabolism, indigetsion), over exertion of the joints, hereditary factor etc. Either due to the the imbalance of vata dosha (governing vyaan vaayu), the knee joints become too weak having low bone density and emits a cracking sound with mild to severe pain, or, the knees become swollen up and painful due to the over accumulation of sticky waste products of the body in the knee joint which is known as “aama ” in Ayurveda. When, Vata dosha is vitiated in the body, it causes the joint pain and fragility of the bones, hence, it’s important to eat vata-pacifying diet. (Like use of ghee in dals, rye, sesame seeds, good source of calcium like organic milk, coriander seeds, cottage cheese etc). For reducing the aama dosha which causes arthritis, one should eat light and dry food items like fresh vegetables, fruits, salads, herbal spices to increase digestive fire, use of ginger, cumin, fennel, black pepper, etc., in preparing the food.
Peas, beans, dals (pulse) of black gram, mushrooms are known causatives of gouty conditions. Thus, a gouty patient must give up taking high purine diet & high protein diet as it causes increase in the uric acid in the body. Similarily, cruciferous vegetables like brocolli, cauliflower etc. should be consumed in moderation or restricted as per the severity of the gout disease. People with low levels of vitamin C too have been found to become easy victim of Arthritis. Here are some other bone friendly foods :
CELERY: Freshly obtained juice of its leaves and stalks should be used. If it tastes unpalatable, it can be mixed with carrot juice and it could be substituted with juice of cucumber, if not available. Both the juices are curative and preventive of arthritis. Coriander seeds broth can also be used for the same purpose.
COD-LIVER OIL: It is rich in vitamin A and D and is a lubricant of high order and thus, restores mobility of joints and also controls arthritis. Seeds of fenugreek (methi) can be easily substituted for cod liver oil.
MUSKMELON : Its juice and seeds neutralises various acids in the body. Hence, in rheumatism and osteoarthritis it is of unquestioned value.
BITTERGOURD (Karela): honey, strawberries are also useful in rheumatic and gouty conditions.
CHERRIES: They contain a natural chemical known as anthocyanins. It helps in breaking up the deposited uric acid crystals and thus, relieves joints inflammation.
TURMERIC: Turmeric contains ” curcumin” and this natural component acts as a natural pain reliever and thus, helps in easing the bone and joint aches .
For people with osteoarthritis, try eliminating tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant and tobacco as alkaloids found in this family believed to inhibit normal collagen repair in the joints.
Apart from following the right dietary habbits, one must follow some physical activities. Doing brisk walk daily for 20- 30 minutes is very benficial for arthritis patients and relieving the stress is also a crucial factor in curing the same. Practising meditation and yoga sadhna for the inner purification of all the body channels leads to the cleansing of the toxins released inside the body and thus, the bones can be freed from the inflammation as well. So many patients are being benefited by learning the yoga practises. For that reason, adapting yoga as a lifestyle habit and not as a treatment is what makes the difference in our lives worthwhile.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Dr.Shruti Bhardwaj (Therapeutic Nutritionist)