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Ankylosing Spondylitis Diet

By AGE2B team
January 31, 2022

Eating a healthy diet can help control your symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. A healthy diet includes foods that keep your heart healthy, your bones strong and foods that help fight inflammation. Your body has a unique response to what you eat, so take your approach one step further by tracking your response to what you eat. The Spondylitis Association of America recommends people with ankylosing spondylitis should keep a diary of what they eat to find out which foods make their symptoms worse and if any help makes them feel better.

It’s been proven so many times that proper eating habits and following a healthy diet can help relieve symptoms which are associated with ankylosing spondylitis.

Although a healthy diet plan for ankylosing spondylitis can keep the condition at bay, it will also help maintain and/or reduce our weight.

A healthy diet for ankylosing spondylitis revolves around some fundamentals. People with ankylosing spondylitis need to maintain a healthy weight, eat foods that are high in Vitamin D and Calcium, as well as foods can reduce inflammation in the body.

Healthy Foods

To be as healthy as possible with ankylosing spondylitis, you should eat:

Fruits and vegetables: Plenty of vegetables and fruits. These are high in antioxidants, especially the brightly colored varieties. Research has shown that antioxidants may help with symptoms of arthritis and conditions like ankylosing spondylitis by protecting the cells from dangerous “free radicals.” These toxic substances contribute to the inflammation of ankylosing spondylitis.  

Whole grains: Research has also shown that whole grains, unlike white grains which are processed, are good for your heart. In addition to affecting your joints, ankylosing spondylitis inflammation can also affect your heart. Whole grains like buckwheat, quinoa and brown rice are an excellent addition to a heart-healthy diet. 

Fluids: Everyone needs at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily and alcohol should be limited to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks daily for men. This is especially important for those with ankylosing spondylitis and other bone disorders as alcohol has been shown to contribute to bone weakening.

Omega-3 fatty acids: These are fats that can help reduce inflammation. They are found in cold-water fish and also in fish oil supplements. In one study, people with a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis who took a higher dose of omega-3 supplements were found to have a greater decrease in symptoms than those who took a lower dose. Include at least one of the following omega-3 rich foods in your daily diet if you have ankylosing spondylitis:

  • Cold-water fish like tuna or salmon,
  • Walnuts,
  • Flax seeds,
  • Brussels sprouts, spinach, salad greens or kale,
  • Soybean, flaxseed or canola oil.

Dietary supplements: Consider taking a supplement that contains calcium and vitamin D if you have ankylosing spondylitis. Any condition that decreases mobility can eventually lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that makes bones fragile and more likely to fracture. Fortified cereals and dairy foods are a good source of calcium. If you have ankylosing spondylitis, ask your physician if you could benefit from vitamin D supplements.

Foods To Avoid

Foods that contain high amounts of fat and are high in cholesterol should be limited in a healthy diet for ankylosing spondylitis. Foods that are high in cholesterol and saturated fats not only can raise your risk of heart disease, they may also promote inflammation and worsen the symptoms of arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
If you have ankylosing spondylitis, it’s best to avoid foods that may make inflammation of the joints and spine worse than it already is. With that said, here are some types of the food that people with ankylosing spondylitis need to avoid:
  • alcohol,
  • fats,
  • sugars,
  • starches,
  • preservatives,
  • foods high in sodium.
Alcohol may not be very bad for people with ankylosing spondylitis if consumed in moderation, however, it can delay your treatment and recovery from ankylosing spondylitis.
Most alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar which promotes further inflammation. Additionally, too much alcohol in the system can affect the stomach, liver, and intestines from absorbing the nutrients needed by the body including nutrients that may be able to reduce inflammation.
Foods with large amounts of sugar, sodium, and fats promote inflammation in the body which is why it’s important to keep in mind that these types of food should be avoided.
Some research suggests that a diet that’s low in starches can help reduce inflammation and help keep ankylosing spondylitis at bay. Although it’s not yet conclusive, there are certain types of bacteria in the stomach and intestines which can trigger ankylosing spondylitis because the bacteria use starches as a fuel source. In short, decreasing your intake of starches in your diet can help prevent the elimination of the bacteria which causes ankylosing spondylitis.

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