8 Diet Do’s and Don’ts for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Eat your way to relieving arthritis of the spine.

Low-starch. Low-fat. Low-carb. When it comes to diets, the advice for staying healthy can make your head spin. If you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), the fuel you choose can make a big difference in how you feel every day. Here are some rules for making the most of your meals.

1. Do: Eat a well-balanced diet.

Your body needs a wide variety of nutrients to cope with the challenges of daily life with AS. Eat plenty of fresh, healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Consume limited amounts of fats, especially saturated fats found in animal products. Steer clear of diets that eliminate entire food groups or allow you to eat only a few select meals

2. Don’t: Fall for fad diets.

You’ll likely come across ads or articles about the latest nutritional cures for arthritis. But no diet has been shown to ease all symptoms or cure the disease. Some of these plans actually harm your health. Avoid diets with high-dose alfalfa, copper salts, or zinc, or that severely limit calories and fat. And always work with your health care provider or a nutritionist to ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients.

3. Do: Track your eating habits.

Foods that might work fine for one person with AS can aggravate symptoms in others. Keeping a food diary for a few weeks can make a big difference. Write down what you eat and when, and then note what happens to your symptoms. You may find some foods trigger flares, while others help you feel better.

4. Don’t: Drink too much alcohol.

People with AS have a higher risk for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. Beverages containing alcohol weaken your skeleton, especially if you sip more than two per day. Alcohol may also interfere with some medications. Check with your health care provider or pharmacist to see if drinking is safe for you.

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