Ankylosing spondylitis, or AS, is a type of arthritis that most often affects the spine and causes inflammation and intermittent flare-ups of severe pain in the spinal joints. It mostly affects the youth, who are laid back and do not like to exercise. Ankylosing spondylitis is a severe disorder that affects the axial skeleton, thereby reducing the spinal mobility and hindering the overall quality of life. Apart from stiffness in the spine and pain, fatigue, depression, and stress are some of the main symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, surgery, physiotherapy are used for treating Ankylosing Spondylitis. AS is not considered curable, but diet may help to slow the progression and lessen AS symptoms. Lifestyle and diet remedies also play a vital role in combating this backbone problem. Diets that boost your general health and reduce inflammation should be consumed. However, it is always recommended to adopt a diet plan after consultation with a certified dietitian. Following this diet also helps in improving the posture of the spine and the overall well-being. A few diet tips for treating ankylosing spondylitis are discussed below.


1-Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, which plays a major role in relieving ankylosing spondylitis. Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease the progression of Ankylosing Spondylitis, Hence, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids should be incorporated in one’s diet. Some evidence suggests that omega-3 supplements may reduce disease activity in people with ankylosing spondylitis. In a Swedish study, people with ankylosing spondylitis who took a higher dose of omega-3 supplements had a significant decrease in their symptoms, compared with those who took a lower dose of omega-3.
These fats, which are found in coldwater fish or fish oil supplements, have been shown to help reduce inflammation. Sources of omega 3 include cod liver oil, krill oil, and different fish oils. Cold water fish such as salmon and tuna, walnut, flaxseeds, canola, soybean, spinach, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, and salad greens are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You can include any one of these in your diet on a daily basis.

2-Whole Grain Foods

Whole foods and grains are high in fiber and are thought to decrease inflammation. Numerous studies show that whole grains — as opposed to white, processed grains — are good for heart health. Because ankylosing spondylitis inflammation can affect your heart as well as your joints, whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat should be part of your diet. However, whole grain foods can trigger symptoms in some people with arthritis. You have to first try the food and observe if it is aggravating or alleviating your condition.

3-Avoid Highly Processed Foods

Highly processed foods and those that are high in sugar and fat may cause inflammation. When purchasing commercial food products you should avoid foods that are labeled with added sugar, high sodium, preservatives, saturated fats, and trans fats. Limit foods that come in boxes, bags, and cans. Read labels and avoid foods that contain too many extra ingredients that your body doesn’t need.
Avoid high-cholesterol and Saturated fats foods. These foods should be limited in any healthy diet. Saturated fats and foods high in cholesterol may help promote inflammation and, in turn, raise your heart disease risk. Diet should also be low in saturated fats such as commercial pastries and chocolates since this can aggravate the inflammation. A diet that’s healthy for your whole body will give you the strength you need to be at your best.

4-Low Starch Diet

Ankylosing spondylitis is one of the autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system itself attacks the healthy cells. In order to improve the symptoms of spondylitis, it would be beneficial to cut down carbohydrate in your daily diet, as it contains starch. Starch is found in foods like bread and bread products, pasta, potatoes, rice, pastries, and some pre-packaged snack foods. A low starch diet is the first step that needs to be taken by people suffering from this issue. In order to maintain a low starch diet, you should discard the items like bread, pasta, potatoes, flour, and rice.
Low starch diet is not necessarily a low carbohydrate diet. You are still allowed to eat reasonable amounts of carbohydrates, which you can get from vegetables and fruits. Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and dairy products are low starch foods. Some of these can be eaten raw, while others have to be consumed in the cooked form. Include lean proteins like turkey, chicken, and seafood to this diet. Healthy fats are significant, so adding at least about thirty percent of these to the daily calories from sources like olive oil, almonds, and cashews to maintain a balance in nutrition is essential.

5-Calcium and Vitamin D Rich Foods

Ankylosis Spondylitis is a bone disease that weakens the bone. Since the risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis is high in individuals suffering from osteoporosis, this may result in bone fractures. Hence, it is extremely important to add vitamin D and calcium to the diet. Bone health is maximized when calcium is taken along with Vitamin D, another promoter of bone health. Both calcium and Vitamin D are known to be significant to maintain the bone density in adequate amounts. Diets that are rich in calcium and vitamin D include milk, cheese, yogurt and fatty fish (mackerel, tuna, and salmon).

6-Diet High In Plant Sterols

Plant sterols are highly recommended to get relief from ankylosis spondylitis. People, who suffer from AS are prone to develop fever and digestive problems due to low immunity response of the body. Plant Sterols help in building a strong immune system. These foods include fresh fruit, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, healthy fats and oil such as extra virgin olive oil, soy, seafood and fresh fish. Fiber intake is also suggested because fibers combine with the circulating toxins found in the body and help in expelling them out of the system.


Probiotic supplements like the multi-strain ones are considered very effective in treating this problem. These supplements can be found in health food stores. Probiotics help in supporting the immune system by allowing the good bacteria into the gut and combat bad bacteria.
They are naturally found in yogurt, kombucha tea, and kefir, so you can also consume these to get enough probiotics. Natural yogurt is a good source of probiotics, which is needed to maintain a healthy digestive system and fights off bad bacteria. Yogurt is easily available and including it in your daily diet helps in attaining a balance among the various microorganisms. This also helps in eliminating intestinal tract damage.

8-Natural Antioxidants

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially colorful ones, as they are high in antioxidants. The natural antioxidants available in the fresh produce often help reduce arthritis pain.  Studies show that antioxidants may help with arthritis symptoms because they protect cells from substances called free radicals, which contribute to inflammation. Fresh fruits and vegetables also help improve symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. This also helps in reducing the inflammation of the joints that are often one of the main symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. In addition, you can also drink fresh juice to help improve spondylitis condition. Fruits and vegetables are a healthy alternative to packaged snacks that provide many calories with little or no nutritional value. Try to include fresh produce in every meal.

9-Maintain a Healthy Weight

The best spondylitis diet is the same diet that is good for maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your whole body in good shape. It’s sensible for you to eat a balanced diet and keep to a healthy weight when you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Being overweight will increase the strain on your back and other joints. That means choosing foods that help fight inflammation, keep your bones strong, and keep your heart healthy. You can take your diet a step further to customize it, based on your body’s response to foods you eat. There’s no convincing evidence that avoiding certain food groups helps, and there’s a chance that you may make your health worse by missing out on essential nutrients.
Carrying too much weight will put extra strain on inflamed joints in your back, hips, and knees. Research has shown that, during walking, the hips, knees, and ankles bear three to five times a person’s total body weight. For every pound a person is overweight, 3 to 5 pounds of extra weight is added to each knee during walking. In contrast, a ten-pound weight loss causes 30 to 50 pounds of extra stress to be removed from the joints.
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