Ankylosing Spondylitis Diet Plan: Foods to Eat and Avoid

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

ankylosing spondylitis diet
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An ankylosing spondylitis diet is meant to help those who suffer from ankylosing spondylitis. It is an inflammatory disease that can eventually lead to some of your vertebrae fusing. But, this diet may be good for everyone as it is a low-starch diet.

A starch-free diet for ankylosing spondylitis can be a little difficult to follow, but we are here to help.

Read on to know what you should be eating on this diet, as well as the foods that you should be avoiding.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Diet

While a diet plan for ankylosing spondylitis can help keep the disease at bay, it can also help you maintain and maybe even lose weight.

The diet itself is based around a couple of basic principles: maintain a healthy weight and eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties and those high in calcium and vitamin D. In addition to these basic tenants, low-starch diets are also very popular for ankylosing spondylitis diets (which we’ll get into a little bit later).

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Keeping a healthy weight helps in an ankylosing spondylitis diet twofold. Eating healthier is better for you overall and provides the nutrients you need to fight ankylosing spondylitis.

Ankylosing spondylitis will result in a fair amount of pressure on your joints and spine. Being overweight can add even more pressure on those joints. So, keeping a healthy weight will take that pressure off.

2. Foods High in Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium is one of the building blocks of our bones. It promotes bone growth and maintains good bone health. So, calcium can help your bones stay strong.

Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and also helps promote bone growth. Both of these are good for ankylosing spondylitis.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Ankylosing spondylitis is a disease that causes inflammation, especially in the joints and spine near the hip area. So, eating foods that can help reduce inflammation is a good idea. These can also include foods that are high in omega-3s, as they can help greatly with inflammation.

While these foods can help with your ankylosing spondylitis, there are also some types of foods that you should avoid as they may make your condition worse.

Foods to Avoid with Ankylosing Spondylitis

With the inflammation of the joints and spine, you want to do your best to reduce anything that might make it worse. That said, there are a few types of foods that you should try to avoid like alcohol, fats, sugars, and starches.

1. Sugar, Sodium, and Fats

Sugar, sodium, and fats (both trans fat and saturated) can increase inflammation throughout the body.  As a result, you should avoid these types of foods.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol, while not overly bad for you in moderation, can impede your treatment of ankylosing spondylitis.

Many alcoholic drinks contain large amounts of sugar, and as mentioned, sugar can promote inflammation. Also, excessive alcohol consumption can affect how the liver, stomach, and intestines absorb nutrients required by the body, including those that might be able to fight the inflammation.

3. Starches

While not conclusive, there is some research that shows that having a diet low in starches may be able to help lower inflammation and keep ankylosing spondylitis at bay. The theory is that certain types of bacteria found in your stomach and intestines can trigger ankylosing spondylitis as bacteria use starches as a fuel source. So, eliminating starches from your diet will help to eliminate the bacteria that can cause the disease.

Now that you know the types of foods that you should be actively eating and avoiding, it’s time to look at what your ankylosing spondylitis diet should look like.

Starch-Free Diet for Ankylosing Spondylitis

When it comes to an effective ankylosing spondylitis treatment diet, be sure to include these foods in your plan.

1. Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide the nutrients that your body needs, as well as those that can specifically help with ankylosing spondylitis like antioxidants. Try adding blueberries, strawberries, and leafy greens to your diet.

2. Whole Grains

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat are grains that don’t have a high sugar content. Also, these foods are high in fiber, which is good for a healthy diet to maintain or lose weight.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Adding omega-3 fats can help with the inflammation as a result of the disease. Try consuming fish like salmon and tuna along with vegetables like Brussels sprouts, kale, and spinach.

There are some seeds that are good for this diet as well, like flaxseed and soybeans.

4. Avoid Processed and Prepackaged Foods

Processed and premade foods tend to have large amounts of sugar in them, which can irritate the inflammation further. So, try to avoid these foods if possible. But, when not, compare the ingredients and nutritional information to know which ones are better for you.

5. Avoid Starchy Foods

Starch might be feeding the trigger bacteria that cause ankylosing spondylitis, so avoiding them should be a top priority.

Avoid foods like potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice, and couscous for example.

Not a Cure but It May Help

Unfortunately, ankylosing spondylitis is incurable as of this writing. Once it develops, you are stuck with it for life.

That said, the diet suggestions mentioned here may not be able to cure the disease, but they can help make the condition a bit more bearable. These diet suggestions work best before the disease does any major or permanent damage.


Sources:
“Ankylosing Spondylitis,” Mayo Clinic, November 1, 2016; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ankylosing-spondylitis/home/ovc-20261048, last accessed August 9, 2017.
Pietrangelo, A., “Most Beneficial Ankylosing Spondylitis Diet,” Healthline, March 22, 2017; http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/ankylosing-spondylitis-diet#1, last accessed August 9, 2017.
Ebringer, A., and Wilson, C., “The use of a low starch diet in the treatment of patients suffering from ankylosing spondylitis,” Clinical Rheumatology, January 1996; 15(Suppl 1): 62-66; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8835506, last accessed August 9, 2017.
Iliadis, C., “A Healthy Diet for Ankylosing Spondylitis,” Everyday Health; https://www.everydayhealth.com/ankylosing-spondylitis/a-healthy-diet-for-ankylosing-spondylitis.aspx, last accessed August 9, 2017.
Leonard, J., “Diet tips for managing ankylosing spondylitis,” Medical News Today, May 24, 2017; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317610.php, last accessed August 9, 2017.

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