Easing Arthritis with Your Food Choices
08 Sep, 2014
When it comes to specific foods you should eat to ease arthritis, an anti-inflammatory diet is best – this involves avoiding foods that make inflammation worse (saturated fat, trans fat and simple refined carbohydrate)… and eating plenty of foods that reduce inflammation.
These foods all help to reduce some aspect of inflammation:
Omega-3 fatty acids
The healthiest of fats for people with arthritis or other inflammatory disorders are omega-3 fatty acids, one of the polyunsaturated fats. While other foods increase levels of inflammation in the body, omega-3s actually work to decrease inflammation by suppressing the production of cytokines and enzymes that erode cartilage. More than a dozen studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fish oils can reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Study participants reported greater strength, less fatigue, reduced joint swelling and tenderness, less joint stiffness and less pain.
Although the evidence is less clear about how fish oil affects osteoarthritis, the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s are so potent that I recommend an omega-3-rich diet (and, in some instances, fish-oil supplements) to all my clients with arthritis. I’ve seen some amazing success stories. The best foods for omega-3 fatty acids: salmon (wild, fresh or canned), herring, mackerel (not king), sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, Pacific oysters, omega-3-fortified eggs, flaxseed (ground and oil), and walnuts.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Antioxidants—vitamin C, selenium, carotenes, bioflavonoids
Inflammation produces free radicals, those cell-damaging molecules that are formed in response to toxins or natural body processes. The synovium is just as prone to this kind of damage as the skin, eyes, or any other body tissue. Antioxidants protect the body from the effects of free radicals, and are a critical part of an anti-inflammation diet. Research has demonstrated that certain antioxidants may help prevent arthritis, slow its progression and relieve pain.
Spices—ginger and turmeric
Most people don’t realize that spices are a part of nutrition. Like fruits and vegetables, spices come from plant sources, and they can have powerful effects on health. Certain spices seem to have anti-inflammatory effects, and therefore should be considered for arthritis treatment. Among the most promising are ginger and turmeric. Ginger contains chemicals that work similarly to some anti-inflammatory medications, so its effects on arthritis pain are not surprising. However, ginger can also act as a blood thinner, so anyone taking a blood-thinning medication should collaborate with their personal physician when adding foods and beverages seasoned with ginger. To incorporate more ginger into your diet, grate fresh ginger into stir-fries, enjoy ginger tea and bake low-fat ginger muffins.
Turmeric, sometimes called curcumin, is a mustard-yellow spice from Asia. It is the main ingredient in yellow curry. Scientific studies have shown that turmeric may help arthritis by suppressing inflammatory body chemicals. Enjoy chicken curry and healthy recipes that call for this anti-inflammatory seasoning.
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