Is a vegetarian or vegan diet beneficial for someone living with costochondritis or Tietze syndrome? While I can’t find anything from an accredited medical source, patients on blogs and comment boards sometimes offer personal stories and other anecdotal evidence that a vegan or vegetarian diet helped heal them.
WebMD explains that costochondritis is a painful inflammation that affects the cartilage at the juncture where the upper ribs meet the sternum and that Tietze syndrome is a condition that presents with many of the same symptoms, with the addition of swelling in the painful area. While neither condition is life threatening, both are intensely painful and persist for weeks or months. Some unlucky patients develop chronic cases.
A possible solution
Can going vegetarian or vegan help those suffering from costochondritis or Tietze syndrome? Diets like this tend to limit or eliminate processed foods, refined carbs, sugars and red meat, foods which the Cleveland Clinic says are linked to increased levels of inflammation in the body. These diets also involve eating more plant based foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutients and other compounds that lower rates if inflammation, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
It would seem to make sense that a vegan or vegetarian diet would help fight the inflammation that causes so much pain in conditions like costochondritis and Tietze syndrome. But, so far medical research hasn’t reliably demonstrated this, according to WebMD.
There’s little detailed medical information available about costochondritis and Tietze syndrome. Making matters more frustrating, much of what is presented is contradictory. With that being the case, it’s not surprising that there’s a lack of official information about the effects of a vegan or vegetarian diet on these conditions. But, some patients offer personal stories like this one posted on HealthBoards that report success with a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Myself, I’m still struggling with Tietze syndrome. Thankfully, I am seeing improvement. While I’ve made efforts to eat more of the foods that are credited with reducing inflammation and to cut back on those that are said to fan the flames, I have no plans to turn vegetarian. It’s too extreme for me. To stay healthy, vegetarians and vegans need to eat a sufficiently varied diet that provides the correct balance of vitamins and minerals. I simply don’t have the knowledge or dedication required and I don’t want to trade one health problem for another.
Adding some vegetarian meals to your kitchen repertoire is probably good for anyone. But, if you’re interested in really becoming a vegetarian or vegan, talk with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you and to understand how the change might affect any medications you are currently taking. Speak with a nutritionist to get the facts on how to eat a healthy vegetarian diet.
Looking for more tips on living with Tietze syndrome? Click here.
For more by Bree Shaw, click here.