While an arthritis diet may not cure your joint pain, knowing what foods to eat and which ones to avoid can help you reduce inflammation in the body and allow you to live with healthier joints and less pain.
About 22.7 percent of Americans live with arthritis (that’s 54.4 million adults). It tends to be more prevalent among women than men, and the percentage of those suffering from arthritis increases with age.
At times, arthritis can be a debilitating condition, where joint pain and stiffness can get in the way of individuals carrying out everyday tasks and routines. Following an arthritis diet, or an anti-inflammatory diet devoted to reducing joint pain, can help alleviate and facilitate the lives of those suffering from this condition.
Arthritis Diet: Foods to Reduce Joint Pain
While an arthritis diet isn’t a cure for the condition, eating certain foods can help fight the inflammation that’s causing much of the joint pain and stiffness.
Loading up on fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel means you’re increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to fight inflammation. It’s recommended to eat at least 3 to 4 ounces of fish, about twice a week for best results.
Healthy cooking oils aren’t just good for your heart. Olive oil, for example, is abundant in oleocanthal, which has similar qualities to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. Walnut oil, on the other hand, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, approximately three times the amount found in olive oil.
Believe it or not, that sweet summer fruit you wait for all year long is more than just a seasonal pleasure. Cherries are rich in anthocyanins, which have been found to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Remember when your mom told you to eat your vegetables? She wasn’t kidding about how good they are for you. Broccoli, in particular, is rich in sulforaphane, which has been found to prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
It’s really no surprise that green tea would be a recommended food as it’s often regarded as a powerful superfood that can cure or alleviate many conditions. In this case, the polyphenols, or antioxidants, in green tea have been found to reduce inflammation and slow down the destruction of cartilage. Not only that, but researchers have also found that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is another antioxidant found in green tea, can help prevent joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, which researchers have found can help prevent inflammatory arthritis and promote healthy joints in those suffering from osteoarthritis.
If you don’t consume garlic or other foods in the allium family, such as onions and leeks, now’s the time to do it. Researchers have found that people who regularly consume these foods have shown fewer signs of early osteoarthritis. It’s believed the diallyl disulfide compound found in these foods can limit cartilage damage in humans.
Foods to Avoid on the Arthritis Diet
Just as there are certain foods that reduce inflammation, there are also foods that can prompt an inflammatory reaction. If you suffer from arthritis, you should avoid or limit your consumption of the following foods:
- Sugar: it incites the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.
- Saturated fats: they trigger fat tissue inflammation.
- Trans fats: they prompt systemic inflammation (commonly found in snack foods and fast foods).
- Refined carbohydrates: they stimulate inflammation through the production of AGE (advanced glycation end).
- MSG: it triggers chronic inflammation.
- Gluten and Casein: these can trigger joint pain in those sensitive to foods containing these.
- Aspartame: those sensitive to this artificial sweetener can experience an inflammatory response.
While no diet can cure arthritis and joint pain, the foods you eat (and the foods you avoid) can help boost your joint health and limit inflammation in the body contributing to joint pain.
If you don’t suffer from arthritis, an arthritis diet is still a diet to consider adopting as a method of prevention and avoiding early joint pain as you age.
What causes joint pain?
Joint pain can be temporary and the result of a strenuous exercise of the joints, or it can chronic and the result of underlying conditions such as arthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or other serious conditions.
What does joint pain feel like?
Depending on the underlying cause of your joint pain, the pain can feel like stiffness, or the pain can be so severe as to feel like you have a sprain or broken bone and be tender to the touch.
What causes joint pain in the knee?
Many of the underlying conditions that affect joint pain elsewhere in the body cause joint pain in the knee as well, including osteoarthritis, one of the more prevalent types of arthritis.
How is arthritis treated?
Depending on the type and severity of arthritis, most doctors advocate multiple remedies, including anti-inflammatory medication, an arthritis diet, alternative therapies, exercise, weight loss, self-care remedies, and sometimes surgery.