Research has shown that certain dietary and nutritional changes can ease the symptoms of joint conditions like arthritis and gout.

Arthritis or osteoarthritis is a disease where the cartilage that cushions the bones at the joints begins to break down. This leads to inflammation and pain. In the worst cases, the unprotected ends of the bones grind against each other. Gout is a form of arthritis that seems to be caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. Interestingly, the target of gout is often the sufferer’s big toe. The pain can be such that the sufferer can’t even bear the weight of a bedsheet on the toe. The condition can also spread to other joints in the body.

Nutritional info that concerns these two conditions includes what sort of nutrients to take and which foods to avoid to reduce the pain and increase the range of movement.

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is crucial in the treatment of arthritis. It prevents the capillaries in the joints from breaking down. The B vitamins and iron can help guard against the anemia that some arthritis sufferers also have. Other vitamins to take are D and E. The patient can also benefit from increased levels of calcium, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Some dietitians recommend that about 500 mg of these minerals be taken a day and 1,000 to 5,000 mg of ascorbic acid be taken. Ascorbic acid is water soluble and the body will only use what it needs and excrete the rest.

Dietitians also believe that a diet that’s abundant in raw fruits and vegetables is also beneficial. The patient should avoid foods that are high in sodium. However, when it comes to foods to avoid, arthritis sufferers should steer clear of members of the nightshade family. These include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and both sweet and hot peppers.

Gout

Since gout is worsened by uric acid, it’s a good idea to avoid foods high in this substance. This means the person should avoid organ meats like liver and kidney, which are high in purine. Purine is a precursor of uric acid. Because these meats have Vitamin B12, the patient will need to take supplemental B12. He or she should also drink lots of water to reduce the buildup of uric acid crystals in the kidney. Other foods to avoid when a person has gout are anchovies, asparagus, gravies, mincemeat, mushrooms, mussels and sardines. He or she should also avoid alcohol. Beer is especially high in purine. The patient should also avoid large meals and eat small meals that are low in fats and moderate in proteins. A, E and C and the B complex vitamins can help support the health of the joints. Minerals that help with gout include iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Though there hasn’t been too much research done on this, many gout sufferers claim that eating cherries is a great way to ease the symptoms of gout.