The Healthy Eating Plan to Help With Arthritis

Susan Blum, MD, MPH, is the founder of the Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, New York, an advisor to the Institute for Functional Medicine, and serves on the Medical Advisory Board for The Dr. Oz Show. An assistant clinical professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, she has been treating and preventing chronic disease for more than a decade. She lives in Armonk, New York, with her husband and three sons.

Did you know that almost fifty million people suffer from arthritis? Most conventional medicine for this disease does more damage than healing. Dr. Susan Blum, author of HEALING ARTHRITIS, shares how to eliminate the disease naturally.

Now you are ready for the Healthy Eating Plan, created to be a sane, easy-to-follow approach to nutrition that you can adopt as a lifelong way of eating. Elimination diets and overly restrictive diets are not sustainable; you need something you can live with and that you are not stressed about. Your goal is to follow these guidelines 90 percent of the time, so that these foods work their way deeper into your cells to treat oxidative stress and provide fiber and nutrients to permanently shift your gut flora into a robust and anti-inflammatory microbiome. This plan teaches you the foods to emphasize and the ones to minimize. It is not a weight loss plan, but if, say, you have osteoarthritis and are overweight, it will definitely help you lose the body fat that might be driving some of your inflammation.

The food plan has five simple goals:

Healing Arthritis

Healing Arthritis

by Susan Blum

  • Get Healing Arthritis
  • Get Healing Arthritis
  • Get Healing Arthritis

1. Focus on Eating Foods That Reduce Inflammation. This includes colorful, antioxidant-rich produce; healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, and avocados; low-mercury fish such as sardines and wild Alaskan king salmon; and olive oil and other foods that add an alkaline boost to the body when they are metabolized. It also includes herbs such as turmeric, ginger, and rosemary.

2. Include Foods That Support Gut Health.

3. Avoid Inflammatory Foods 90 Percent of the Time. It is not sustainable to try to be perfect 100 percent of the time. Avoid foods that you are sensitive to for six months, as well as processed sugar and flour products such as white breads, cookies, and cakes—even if they say “gluten free.” Limit dairy products, beef that is not grass fed and organic, and acid-producing food. The rule of thumb is that a meal should consist of 70 percent alkaline-producing foods and 30 percent acid-producing foods. In general, all protein produces acid because of how it is metabolized, but animal proteins increase acid in the body more than vegetable proteins such as legumes do. Try to increase your vegetarian protein, and, in either case, fill your plate with vegetables so that the protein and grains represent only 30 percent of the meal. Limit the worst acid producers, although bear in mind that it is okay to eat these foods in moderation as part of a balanced approach to eating.

4. Avoid Toxins. The antioxidants and greens you will be eating help your body excrete heavy metals such as mercury, along with pesticides and plastic residues. While these toxins are all around us, you can and must take steps to reduce your exposures, and this is what I call living a low-toxin lifestyle. Drink alcohol in moderation—about one or two drinks a week—and eat organic when possible.

5. Follow Dr. Blum’s Five Guiding Principles for Choosing Food:

a. Reduce refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and refined grains. Minimize and eat these only once a week as a treat, occasionally twice.

b. Improve the quality of the fats you eat by removing refined oils and hydrogenated fat. Make a permanent change in what you use for cooking and salad dressings.

c. Improve the quality of animal protein by choosing organic grass-fed and finished beef, free-range chicken, and sustainably farmed, low-mercury fish 90 percent of the time. Focus on changing what you buy and cook for yourself and your family at home. Then you can be less vigilant when you eat out.

d. Increase fiber, micronutrients, and phytonutrients withmore vegetables and fruits, and choose organic when possible. Remember, aim for filling 70 percent of your plate at each meal with vegetables.

e. Limit salt, food dyes, and preservatives. (This happens naturally when you limit processed foods.) Plan ahead, do your grocery shopping on the weekends, and cook and freeze food and soups so that you aren’t relying on fast food or processed packages for your meals.

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