Although there isn’t one particular diet that will cure the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, London based Rheumatologist, Dr Alan Ebringer, believes that sufferers can benefit by following a low starch diet. You can read about his findings here, in an article from the magazine Spondylitis Plus.
Here are some of the foods you should be adding to your diet as well as the ones you should be avoiding, according to Dr Ebringer’s Low Starch Diet.
Meat contains vitamins, minerals and protein and red meat is a good source of iron and vitamin B12. Red meat, pork, lamb and beef should be eaten as part of a balanced diet. Try not to eat too much red meat as it can raise cholesterol, but around 70g a day is fine. Don’t eat processed meats as these are not healthy.
Fruit and Vegetables
Try not to eat too much fruit as it is high in sugar, also some fruit has more starch than others, so limit your intake of bananas, melons, grapes and dried fruits. Vegetables are crammed with vitamins and minerals. Starchy vegetables include potatoes, peas, courgettes, yams, sweetcorn and pumpkin, but you can eat unlimited amounts of all other vegetables, especially the leafy green types such as kale and spinach.
Try and include at least two servings of oily fish a week into your diet. This is because oily fish contains omega 3 fatty acids, which is said to be beneficial to AS sufferers. Salmon and tuna are good examples of oily fish.
Milk and Milk Products
Milk and cheese are good sources of calcium and should be included in your diet. Probiotic yogurt will also help your gut health, which is important. Bad bacteria can grow and flourish, if your gut health is not good; leading to discomfort and constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. Plenty of fibre and probiotic yogurt reduces the amount of bad bacteria, allows healthy bacteria to grow and helps to reduce bowel problems.
Eggs are one of nature’s superfoods. They are packed with nutrients including vitamin B12. They are a good protein boost and low in calories. They don’t contain a lot of saturated fat and guidelines say it is safe to eat one a day. Remember though that scrambled and boiled eggs are healthier than fried eggs.
There are also foods that you can eat, but you need to be careful with the quantities and how often you eat them. They are the following:
Bread and Bread products
Although wholemeal varieties are healthier, bread and bread products still contain starch and therefore shouldn’t be eaten often.
Rice is another food that contains starch, although if you read this article from the Washington Post, you will see that there is a way to reduce the starch in rice.
Potatoes are full of starch, if you do want to eat them, peel them first and soak them for up to four hours. This will reduce the starch content.
The following foods are not included in Dr Ebringer’s diet, but if you want a healthier lifestyle then you should be careful how you eat fats and sugars and drink alcohol.
Fats and Sugars
Processed foods contain a lot of sugar and should be avoided if possible. Cooking at home with fresh ingredients is much healthier than eating pre-packed, tinned or takeaway foods. Any food with a high sugar content, together with trans- fats, saturated fats, preservatives and sodium aren’t good for you.
Alcohol contains sugar which could cause inflammation, so it is best to limit your alcohol intake or abstain totally. Too much alcohol can cause damage to your stomach lining, which means the nutrients aren’t absorbed as they should be. You should also be careful that alcohol does not have an adverse effect on your medication.
Have you tried following a low starch diet? If you have we would love to hear from you. Tell us about your experiences by filling in the contact form or posting your comments below