Living a Healthy Lifestyle with Psoriatic Arthritis
Ensuring a healthy lifestyle is essential for people with a chronic condition such as psoriatic arthritis. To help manage the disease, it is important to implement a healthy diet, control weight, quit smoking (or never start!) and limit alcohol use.
Eat a variety of foods
It's important that your body gets all the essential nutrients and healthful substances that it needs to function properly. The nutrients we need come from a variety of meats, fruits, vegetables, dairy and grain products, which provide carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Establish a schedule in which you eat several small meals each day. Steadily fueling your body will keep it functioning properly and help you maintain energy. Eating several small meals can also keep hunger at bay.
Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight will help you feel good both physically and emotionally, and it can help reduce your risk of developing health problems. Your healthy weight range is dependent upon several factors, including your body composition and body fat distribution. Work with your doctor to determine your healthy weight, and be sure to set reasonable expectations for yourself to ensure long-term success.
Watch food portions
- One serving of meat—3 ounces—is the size of the palm of your hand.
- One serving of dairy—2 ounces of cheese—is the size of a pair of dominoes.
- One serving of vegetables—1 cup—is the size of your fist.
Add color to your diet
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Choose ones in a wide range of colors to ensure you are getting the maximum nutrients, such as fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants.
Limit foods that are high in fat and cholesterol
All of us need a small amount of fat to build, strengthen and repair body tissue. Want to be healthier? Choose lean beef and poultry, fish, low fat dairy and plant-based oils such as soybean, canola or olive, and stay away from fat found in animal foods like red meat; processed meats like bacon; poultry; whole milk dairy foods; and palm and coconut oils.
Avoid foods that can interact with your medications
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about specific food-drug interactions.
Do not smoke and limit alcohol consumption
Smoking is bad for your health so if you smoke, you may want to consider quitting. Heavy drinking may hinder the potency of certain medications.
Be supplement savvy
Although a healthy diet can help you get the vitamins and minerals you need, supplementing your diet with a multivitamin may also help.
Avoid the "splurge"
Carry finger foods and healthy snacks to work or outings to minimize the urge to splurge on "junk" foods. Grapes, carrots, apple slices and nuts are healthy and portable snack options.
Helpful hints for preparing healthy foods:
- When you feel like cooking, prepare extra to freeze for leftovers, so you always have healthy food around to eat on your lower-energy days when you'd rather not cook.
- Choose frozen entrees and canned soups that are low in sodium. Read the nutrition labels and limit your total daily sodium intake to less than 2,400 milligrams.
- Purchase a few "arthritis friendly" kitchen gadgets to assist with food preparation.
- Consider pre-cut vegetables and fruits for healthy snack options.
If meal prep is largely out of the question for you, consider using your local "Meals on Wheels" program.