According to researchers, arthritis affects about one in every five people in the United States. Arthritis is a disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints of the body (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout).
There are many ways to help manage pain. One way of managing arthritis is through a healthy diet. Scientists have found that eating the right type of food can alleviate some symptoms of arthritis. Here are some healthy foods that can help you to deal with arthritic pain:
- 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. Some of the best foods for Omega -3 fatty acids include: salmon (wild, fresh or canned), herring, mackerel (not king), sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, Pacific oysters, omega-3 fortified eggs, ground flaxseeds, walnuts, seaweed, and soybeans.
- Omega-6 fatty acid GLA Although most of the omega-6s are best avoided, one of them gives hope to arthritis patients: gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA for short. Several studies have shown that GLA helps reduce pain and inflammation in RA patients, and it may also help with other forms of arthritis. You wont find large amounts of GLA in food. In addition to evening primrose oil, good sources of GLA include borage oil and black currant oil.
- Antioxidants Inflammation produces free radicals, those cell-damaging molecules that are formed in response to toxins or natural body processes. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, selenium, carotenes, and bioflavonoids 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 relief pain. The best are vitamin C, selenium, carotenes (beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin), and bioflavonoids (quercetin and anthocyanidins).
- Vitamin C: Some of the best foods include guava, peppers (yellow/red/green), oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, pineapple, kohlrabi, papayas, lemons, broccoli, kale, potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
- Selenium: Some of the best foods include Brazil nuts, tuna (canned light in water), crab, oysters, tilapia, lean beef, cod, shrimp, wheat germ and whole grains.
- Beta carotene: Some of the best foods include sweet potato, carrots, kale, butternut squash, turnip greens, pumpkin, mustard greens, cantaloupe, sweet red pepper, apricots and spinach.
- Beta cryptoxanthin: Some of the best foods include winter squash, pumpkins, persimmons, papaya, tangerines, peppers (red chili and red bell), corn, oranges, apricots, carrots, nectarine, and watermelon.
- Quercetin: Some of the best foods include onions (red, yellow, white), kale, leek, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, black currants, elderberries, ligonberries, cocoa powder (unsweetened), apricot, apple with skin (*Red Delicious), and red/pruple/black grapes.
- Anthocyanidins: Some of the best foods include blackberries, black currents, blueberries, eggplant, elderberries, rheumatoid arthritis spberries, cherries, boysenberries, red/black/purple grapes, strawberries, plum, cranberries, rhubarb, red wine, red onion, and apples.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Olive oil contains the good monounsaturated fat, which protects the body against inflammation because it contains antioxidants called polyphenols.
- Vitamin D When osteoarthritis patients get plenty of vitamin D in their diets, their joint damage progresses more slowly. In contrast, people who dont get enough vitamin D, have more rapidly occurring joint damage, leading rapidly to disability. Vitamin D not only helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage, its necessary for rebuilding healthy cartilage and maintaining strong bones. Some of the best foods for Vitamin D include, wild salmon, mackerel (not king), sardines, herring, milk (skim, 1 percent, low-fat, skim plus), enriched soy milk, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
- Vitamin B. Several B vitamins may help reduce joint inflammation and pain. Foods enriched in vitamin B-3 (niacin) include lean meats and fish, tofu, cottage cheese and sunflower seeds; vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid) is found in meat, eggs, soybeans, wheat germ, whole grain cereals, lentils and peanuts contain; and vitamin B-6 is found in meat, fish, whole grains, wheat germ, whole wheat, bananas and soybeans.
- Vitamin E Vitamin E is yet another antioxidant that helps eliminate damaging free radicals. Vitamin E is also very good at reducing inflammation, which contributes to the problems in osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that osteoarthritis sufferers with high intakes of vitamin E report a significant reduction in their pain. Many are even able to reduce the amount of pain-killers they need to take. Mustard greens, chard, turnip greens, and sunflower seeds are a few excellent source of vitamin E.
- Calcium Calcium are minerals most often recommended for treating pain. Calcium is recommended for arthritis, more as a preventive than as a painkiller. Recently, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that pain from pre-menstrual syndrome was reduce by half in women given supplemental calcium. calcium Most women with arthritis especially those over 45 and women taking glucocorticoids, need calcium supplements to help to prevent the loss of bone that leads to osteoporosis.
This has been shown to lessen the pain of knee osteoarthritis when taken in highly purified, standardized supplement form. 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 while adding foods and beverages seasoned with ginger.
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. Because of its effects on enzyme related to inflammation, turmeric may have the same mode of action as anti-inflammatory meds.
- Cinnamon This rather delicious spice has a number of health benefits. Specific to inflammation and arthritis, cinnamon can help inhibit the release of inflammatory fatty acids. -Garlic An ancient treatment for tuberculosis, lung problems, and other diseases, garlic also appears to relieve some forms of arthritis pain. Although never tested in large-scale, double-blind studies, garlic has been found helpful in many case reports. These helpful benefits may be due to the fact that garlic contains sulfur, which has been known for many years to help relieve certain arthritis symptoms.
- Chili pepper Chilies contain capsaicin, which gives the peppers their heat.chili can help relieve the joint pain associated with most types of arthritis. As for how, you may be amazed. Many claim it causes the release of natural endorphins. Essentially, your body itself stops the pain.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin Glucosamine sulfate has been shown to be effective in reducing arthritis pain, which may be due to its ability to repair joints. Used together, glucosamine and chondroiten can reduce joint pain and may help build new cartilage, according to a study at Boston University School of Medicine.
- MSM MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) is not a medicine, a drug or a food additive. MSM is an organic form of sulfer which can be found primarily in fruits, vegetables, meat, milk and seafood. It offers a natural way to reduce pain without serious side effects. MSM has shown a remarkable ability to reduce or eliminate muscle soreness and cramps. People with arthritis report substantial and long-lasting relief with MSM supplements. Taken along with glucosamine, MSM can relieve pain and help repair worn or damaged cartilage in joints with healthy, flexible new cells.
- Water Drinking eight glasses of water per day can help battle gout by flushing uric acid from the body. Eight glasses is also the amount most health experts recommend to keep your body moisturized and healthy.
- Foods to avoid
- Saturated fats. This category includes fats in and from animal products, such as fatty beef or pork, poultry skin, ice cream, butter, whole or 2 percent milk, regular cheese, bacon, bologna, salami, pepperoni, beef sausage, and other fatty foods. Saturated fats are also found in coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. Instead of these unhealthy saturated fats, choose low-fat or no-fat dairy products, lean cuts of beef and pork, and skinless chicken and turkey.
- Trans fats. These are man-made. In an effort to give baked goods a longer shelf life, scientists took common vegetable oil and added hydrogen molecules in the right places. The result was that liquid oil turned solid and dangerous. Trans fats are thought to be at least as bad as saturated fats in terms of inflammation and other health problems. Maybe worse. Check labels and dont buy food products with trans fat.
- Simple and refined carbohydrates. Sugary foods, white flour baked goods, white rice, bread, crheumatoid arthritis ckers and other refined carbohydrates set up a state of inflammation in the body, causing increases in cytokines and other pro-inflammatory compounds. Limit these foods if you want the best chance of reducing arthritis pain and progression.
- Coffee, caffeine-containing drinks, soft drinks, alcohol, recreational drugs and smoking.