Food has a profound effect on the body and can influence how individuals feel and the severity of health symptoms that they are experiencing. This is especially true in cases of arthritis because there are many types of food for arthritis that can make joint inflammation better and worse. While there is not one specific arthritis diet plan, there are specific foods that arthritis suffers can choose to eat and choose to avoid in order to feel better on a daily basis. There are also strategies to follow to eat well for one’s specific type of arthritis that can help ease arthritis pain.
This article will discuss the ideal arthritis diet, including the very best anti-inflammatory foods and foods to avoid with arthritis.
Salmon and Tuna
Not everyone enjoys the taste or texture of fish, but this is by far one of the best foods of the arthritis diet.1.8 This is because fish contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have proven in studies to reduce joint swelling and pain.2,3,6 Coldwater fish, such as salmon and tuna, are great foods for arthritis sufferers. Fish oil pills may also be taken as an alternative to fresh fish.4
Cherries and Other Berries
Certain types of fruits, especially berries, are packed with antioxidants, which boost the body’s defense system and fight free radicals.5,8 Tart cherries are a good part of any arthritis diet plan for this reason, as well as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.6,8
Dark Green Vegetables
There are also many vegetables that are high in antioxidants, such as broccoli, kale, and spinach.6,8 Dark green vegetables are high in vitamin K, which may help reduce bodily inflammation when eaten regularly and should be part of every arthritis diet.
Some people looking for healthy food for arthritis turn to vegetarianism and veganism because of the anti-inflammatory nature of meat-free foods. Beans are an excellent plant-based source of protein and a great addition to any arthritis diet.7,8 Red kidney beans and pinto beans are excellent sources of fiber and phytonutrients, which may help reduce inflammation.
Not only do whole grains help people with arthritis maintain a healthy weight, but foods made with the entire grain kernel can help prevent inflammation too.8 Oatmeal and quinoa are healthy grain options to choose.
Similar to fish, olive oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart-healthy fats.8 Pure olive oil also contains oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
A spice rather than a food, turmeric is widely popular for its anti-inflammatory properties.6,8 Turmeric has been widely studied because of its inflammatory-fighting compound called curcumin. It has been used in ancient cultures for thousands of years to reduce swelling from diseases.
Foods that are parts of the allium family, such as garlic and onions, contain diallyl disulfide, which has a positive effect on cartilage-damaging enzymes.6,8 Add garlic to meals for extra flavor and to keep inflammation at bay.
Foods to Avoid with Arthritis
While all of the above examples are great food sources for people with arthritis, there are also certain foods that should be generally avoided.9 Foods to avoid with arthritis include sugar, processed foods, fried foods, and red meat. High-fat dairy products, white bread and pasta, salt, and corn oil should be generally avoided as well.
These are all well-known triggers of bodily inflammation and can be especially problematic among arthritis sufferers. Of course, moderation is key with any arthritis diet plan, so make sure to incorporate all food groups into daily meals for well-balanced nutrition.
REFERENCES for FOODS to EASE ARTHRITIS
1. Best fish for arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/best-fish-for-arthritis.php.
2. Caulder, P. C. (2010 March). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients, 2, 355–374. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from National Center of Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257651/.
3. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for arthritis. Arthritis Today Magazine. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/omega-3-fatty-acids-arthritis/.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids: Fact sheet for consumers. National Institute of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/.
5. Baby, B., Antony, P., & Vijayan, R. (2017) Antioxidant and anticancer properties of berries. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 13, 1-17. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from National Center of Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28609132. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2017.1329198.
6. Six food choices to help ease arthritis pain. Arthritis Today Magazine. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from http://blog.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/diet-foods-arthritis-pain/.
7. Twelve best foods for arthritis: Break out the beans. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/best-foods-for-arthritis-11.php.
8. Paturel, A. The ultimate arthritis diet. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/the-arthritis-diet.php.
9. Eight food ingredients that can cause inflammation. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 28, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/foods-to-avoid-limit/food-ingredients-and-inflammation.php.
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