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Best Diet for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Best Diet for Ankylosing Spondylitis

In treating any disease, along with medication, a diet also plays a noteworthy role. Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis, and eating the right food can help in combating the pain and inflammation. Presented below are the details of such a diet.
Hemangi Harankhedkar
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease, that primarily affects bones of the axial skeleton; it may even involve joints of the periphery and other non-articular structures. It is chronic form of arthritis that causes the vertebrae of the spine to fuse, leading to stiffening of the region. The affected person finds it difficult to keep up a proper posture, and goes through terrible pain. Spondylitis can also lead to osteoporosis, that is degeneration of bones; hence preventive measures should not be neglected. Exercises that help in improving posture, cold and heat therapies that help in relief from pain, and surgery are the various ways to treat spondylitis. One cannot completely recover from this condition, and the aforementioned treatment procedures help in easing the pain, along with managing the symptoms. Research has revealed, having proper food is important and beneficial for patients. Some ideas have a mention below.
The London AS Diet
In a study, Dr Alan Ebringer, a famous rheumatologist and researcher based in London, found that a low starch diet helps in reducing the accompanying inflammation. This observation, though debatable, holds true for some patients. Dr Ebringer kept some of his patients on a low-starch, high protein diet for about nine months, and the inflammation in these patients was considerably reduced after a period of time. He had also noted in the research that klebsiella bacteria, that were found in the stool samples of many AS patients, could be the cause of ankylosing spondylitis in a majority of people having the disease. A low starch diet fights this bacteria, thus reducing its number. The diet proposed by Dr Alan Ebringer is renowned by the name London AS diet. The diet is based on the intake and avoidance of the following food items:
What to Eat ~
Patients should increase consumption of foods that are rich in protein and fiber, and low in fat:
  1. Vegetables and fruits
  2. Dairy products based on milk, and eggs
  3. Nuts, peas and beans
  4. Fish and meat
What to Avoid ~
As per the London AS diet, patients should limit the intake of:
  1. Rice
  2. Potatoes
  3. Bread and bread products
Other Diet Recommendations
There is no specific diet for ankylosing spondylitis; in patients certain foods can trigger a change in symptoms, i.e, either the symptoms will subside, or worsen. Patients should keep a note of any such notable changes and discuss them with their physician to design a diet plan. The patient should adhere to the following guidelines, as far as food is concerned.
  • In arthritis or spondylitis, there is weakening of bones, and people who have spondylitis are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Thus foods that have a high amount of calcium and vitamin D should be consumed by people with this disease.
  • Patients should try to avoid foods like pizzas, spaghetti, white bread, macaroni, cakes, puddings, and pies.
  • Alcohol is also not safe for bone health, and the consumption of alcohol should thus be restricted or limited by patients.
  • Drink lots of water, around 8-10 glasses per day.
  • Sodium, sugar, should be consumed in restriction.
  • Some foods can help you in reducing the inflammation that accompanies any form of arthritis. Below, we have tabulated the chief anti-inflammatory foods that you should ideally consume.
Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Vegetables Vegetables like green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage and asparagus should make up a big part of your diet.
Fruits & Nuts It is advised, you should have at least five portions of fruits daily. Plums, papaya, apples are good anti-inflammatory fruits. Nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and walnuts are best for patients with ankylosing spondylitis
Others Eating dairy products also works in favor of reducing inflammation, especially eggs and products based on milk. Similarly, the consumption of tuna, salmon, brown rice, oregano, ginger, whole grain cereals and cod is also encouraged.

There are some foods which should be necessarily avoided as they might aggravate the symptoms. The patient should keep a check on the consumption of junk food and rich sugary desserts as they might worsen the symptoms. There should also be a restriction on the consumption of alcohol, because alcohol impedes the absorption of vital nutrients and vitamins. Likewise, you should avoid consumption of citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, products with a high amount of chili and pepper, coffee, and high fat dairy products.
There aren't any strict diet restrictions for patients of ankylosing spondylitis. However, for some relief from the pain, the consumption of some foods should be avoided and some foods should be increased. Patients should also exercise as it helps in reducing the stiffening of joints and facilitates smooth movement.