Arthritis Diet: What Foods to Eat and Which To Avoid
7 minute read
People of any race, age, and gender can develop arthritis. The common factor in each of the 100 forms of arthritis, and the 50 million people currently suffering from arthritis is widespread inflammation.
Medications are one option to control this, but a more natural approach without unpleasant side effects is to simply modify your diet. What you eat can regulate your immune system response and can help with inflammatory-related joint pain.
At this time, people often rely on medications to help relieve joint inflammation and pain. Research has found that there is a connection between some foods and the inflammatory response, so it is believed that by changing your diet or adding nutritional supplements, you can reduce inflammation, and therefore reduce arthritis pain.
The Arthritis Diet
A well-balanced diet is ideal in general, but when you suffer from any health conditions, the better diets to follow focus on plant-based foods. It is recommended that at least two-thirds of your diet should come from whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
While this will not prevent arthritis, sticking to a more natural and plant-based diet can help control inflammation and relieve pain.
The rest of the food in your diet should include protein and low-fat foods. The more balanced your diet is, the easier it will be to control your arthritis symptoms.
Many arthritic patients report a reduction in the severity of pain after altering their diets, showing the valuable connection between food and inflammation. Apart from getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, here are the best foods to eat.
Fresh fatty fish: Fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel, are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids, which possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of omega-3s results in reduced swelling, stiffness, and joint tenderness in arthritis patients.
If you are not a fan of fish, then you can get the same benefits by taking daily supplements of either krill oil or eating other foods high in antioxidants.
Fish is also a good source of vitamin D, which plays an important role in bone health. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. At least two servings of fish per week or daily supplementation is recommended to provide long-lasting anti-inflammatory benefits and reduced arthritic pain.
Garlic: Full of nutritional benefits, garlic also possesses anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. The key compounds in garlic can help reduce inflammation and so help with preventing heart disease as well as relieving arthritis pain.
When used as part of a treatment program for osteoarthritis, garlic was shown to reduce the overall risk of developing the condition.
Ginger: This flavorful addition to your diet will make any sweet or savory dish delicious, and helps your arthritis at the same time. Studies have shown that ginger extract delivers positive effects for osteoarthritis patients by inhibiting key inflammatory markers.
Walnuts: Nuts, in general, are full of nutrients and protein, but walnuts in particular also contain omega-3 fatty acids that can inhibit the inflammatory response. Walnuts have been shown to reduce the expression of inflammatory markers, thereby reducing joint pain and the need for medications.
Supplements That Can Help
Changing your diet can go a long way towards preventing arthritis as well as reducing pain for those already suffering. Medications have been shown to work too, but many people prefer to try natural treatment options as a way of avoiding potentially harmful side effects.
Along with food, there are herbal and nutritional supplements that also help to relieve inflammation and protect you from the pains of arthritis.
Turmeric: Curcumin is the key compound in the spice turmeric that provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Turmeric is famous for adding unique flavor and vibrant color to curried dishes, but it can be taken as a supplement too.
Curcumin possesses the ability to control and reduce inflammation in your body by inhibiting the activities of inflammatory markers. This protects your joints from swelling and stiffness and significantly reduces pain.
Boswellia Serrata: Also known as frankincense, Boswellia serrata possesses anti-inflammatory as well as analgesic properties. Not only can it help prevent inflammation, but it effectively reduces pain and prevents the loss of cartilage from your joints.
Foods to Avoid With Arthritis
When it comes to arthritis, you want to avoid certain foods just as much as you want to eat more of others. Fried and processed foods are common in the typical Western diet, but these cause significant increases in inflammation as well as other serious health problems. Cutting out fried and processed foods restores your body’s natural defenses and reduces the inflammation that leads to arthritis pain.
Avoiding fast food lines and pre-packaged meals will go a long way in helping with your arthritis. In addition to this, there are other key foods you need to avoid to prevent inflammatory attacks and unwanted joint pain.
Sugars and refined carbohydrates: High sugar intake often results in higher AGEs (advanced glycation end-products), which trigger inflammatory responses. Your body needs to break these products down by using cytokines, which are also inflammatory markers. Keeping your sugar and carb intake down prevents inflammation and prevents joint pain.
Since alcohol is largely made from sugar, particularly rum, it is also better off at the store and not in your kitchen.
Dairy products: The type of protein found in dairy is what contributes to arthritis pain. Certain people are affected by dairy proteins, and it can exacerbate arthritis symptoms, so dairy is generally best to be avoided altogether.
Salt: Too much salt can cause hypertension as well as inflammation. Check labels carefully for hidden salt, sodium, and preservative content, or keep things simple and always stick to fresh foods only.
The Bottom Line
Arthritis may be common, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer from the pain each day. Pain, swelling, and stiffness can be so bad at times that quality of life dramatically decreases.
By adding certain foods and removing others, you can control inflammation, which means you can manage your pain. And you don’t need potentially harmful medications to do so. Spend more time in the fresh produce section, avoid fast food, and grab some beneficial supplements to keep your joints strong, healthy, and pain-free.