Diet Matters More
In the previous article, we discussed the impacts of arthritis on millions of people around the globe, and the basic foundation of the paleo diet. We’ve yet to truly discuss the impacts of a paleo diet on arthritis, and this article will serve as a fantastic introduction, with a summary point that will surprise most sufferers of arthritis, especially those with osteoarthritis: Diet matters more than the wear and tear you put your body through.
There. I said it. What you eat has more of an impact on your condition than what doctors and surgeons say is because you were a little too rough with them. Think about it for a second. We are a highly active and physical species. The majority of our past has been spent on our feet, running, and travelling extremely long distances while maintaining a near perfect bodily physique in order to defend ourselves from predators and each other if our weapons failed us. From what we can tell, none of these people had particular bone erosion, and skeletal records show very healthy skeletons unless it was an organ problem. Why are our bones grinding and eroding, then? Our diet!
A study conducted found that the best way to predict the rate of osteoarthritis in a moose population was the diet of young moose. Those that suffered from malnutrition or altered diets were found to have a larger rate of arthritis than moose who maintained their normal diet. But wait, wasn’t it wear and tear that caused our woes? Why are these moose reduced to being diagnosed with arthritis when their physical activity is no different from their kin, but rather their diets are the major changes?
It’s simple. What we eat and how we eat influences our joints and how well-maintained our bodies are. In same way that bad oil will ruin a car engine, bad food will ruin our joints. What constitutes as bad food, though? Certainly we could follow the paleo diet blindly and feel better, but which foods that the paleo diet rallies against truly impact osteoarthritis?
Answers point to grains, especially wheat, as the major contributor to osteoarthritis. We know that gluten intolerance can make a bout of arthritis worse (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11600749). Additionally, the high amounts of dietary lectins (known as glycoproteins) poses a problem for those suffering from arthritis, especially those with rheumatoid arthritis. Lectins in particular are sticky molecules, composed of both sugar and protein, and stick to human tissue when passing through organs. But what do they actually impact? Lectins are known to influence food allergies, autoimmune disorders and inflammation. They can attach themselves to joints as well, which is clearly a red flag for those with arthritis.
It is recommended that if you have arthritis, that you begin to phase out grain products from your diet (ANY grain products. Beer is included in this.) and seek input for your mucin levels inside your intestinal tract. Mucin is what lectins attach onto in our intestines, and a shortage of mucins cause the lectins to instead attach themselves to the intestinal wall. This can cause leaky gut in worse situations. A good quality pro-biotic can assist greatly in replenishing mucins.
In conclusion, yes, our diet matters more. While constant running will eventually have its toll on your body, at no point is it literally detrimental to your health unless your joints are weakened by poor diet. The paleo diet can fit those needs. Remember, one of the main portions of the paleo diet is the phasing out of grain products in your diet!