What Are The Best Fruits For Arthritis?


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Using food as medicine is an ancient concept. For many centuries, people have studied the science of choosing different foods based on the beneficial effects that they might have on their health. Throughout the years, the specific benefits that certain foods possess have been scientifically proven. This has enabled us to create different diets aimed to improve the symptoms of many illnesses. Dietary plans have been designed to maximize energy, increase your lifespan, and improve overall health. Likewise, the harmful effects of other foods have been discovered, allowing us to understand which foods we need to avoid. Fruits are almost universally enjoyed by all people. So, what are the best fruits for arthritis sufferers?

Arthritis and Food

Over time, this science that aims to study food became known as nutrition. Using the knowledge gathered by scientists and physicians throughout the centuries as the foundations of their studies, nutritionists have deepened our understanding of food even further. Nowadays, nutrition is an exact and sophisticated science, and each food has been studied to learn both its beneficial and harmful effects. As Hippocrates once said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

Arthritis is one of the most common diseases that ail the elderly. It can affect any joint in the human body, causing joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreasing our mobility. Its prevalence increases with age, and it can have a hugely negative impact on your quality of life. There are many therapeutic options available, but degenerative forms of arthritis –such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis- don’t have a definitive cure. Fortunately, just like any other illness, arthritis can be affected by the foods that we choose to put into our bodies.

Combining a diet full of beneficial fruits and vegetables with more traditional forms of treatment, such as physical therapy and arthritis medication, can make arthritis more manageable. This can increase your or your elderly loved one’s quality of life by relieving arthritis pain and making movement easier. Many fruits, in particular, can have a positive effect on arthritis.

The Best Fruits for Arthritis Sufferers

Read on to find out what are the best fruits for people with arthritis.

Avocado

an avocado cut open showing the seed and inside flesh

Avocado owes its rich, creamy texture to monounsaturated fatty acids. These fats have a strong anti-inflammatory effect over your entire body, including joints and muscles. The oleic acid in avocados can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and raise “good” HDL cholesterol. Research has shown that thanks to this effect over your cholesterol, avocado can help you lose weight. Relieving obesity can be extremely beneficial for arthritis since a healthier weight means that your joints won’t be under too much stress.

Avocados also have a high Vitamin E, phytosterols, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein content. These micronutrients have been shown to help prevent joint damage in osteoarthritis, and they are also powerful anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. By reducing the oxidative stress that your body goes through each day, avocados can slow the progression of cartilage deterioration which is common in arthritis. Overall, avocados are great for your health and can help reduce inflammation associated with different types of arthritis. Add avocado to your salads and smoothies, or simply eat it by itself or on toast to reap all its wonderful health benefits.

Grapes

dark purple grapes on a vine in a vineyard

Grapes are also amongst the best fruits for arthritis. These tiny but flavor-packed fruits are a great source of polyphenols. Research has shown that polyphenols can help alleviate the pain caused by osteoarthritis, improving joint flexibility and overall mobility. Red and black grapes also contain resveratrol, a compound that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory substance. Resveratrol even acts on the same receptors as NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Additionally, resveratrol can improve cardiovascular health and decrease the risk of heart disease. It has also been linked to beneficial effects over other age-related diseases. Resveratrol can also be found in red wine. So, snack on some grapes or drink one glass of red wine at the end of the day without feeling guilty!

Watermelon

slice of watermelon on a green plate

Watermelons are full of different nutrients that have powerful pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Unlike most other fruits, watermelons are a great source of the carotenoid lycopene, which is an antioxidant. Lycopene doesn’t just act as an anti-inflammatory – it also improves heart and bone health, while decreasing the risk of certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer.

Watermelon is also rich in zinc and selenium. These minerals are known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Other beneficial components in watermelon include vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotenes, and vitamin B6. Its high water content will also help keep you hydrated, which can relieve joint pain and muscle stiffness by keeping your tissues healthy. Watermelon makes a tasty, simple snack; you can also add it to salads, slushies, and even grill it for a few minutes.

Cherries

6 red cherries hanging on a branch with a green background

Both sweet and tart cherries are full of the flavonoid anthocyanin. This substance gives cherries its characteristic, vibrant color. This pigment, which is present in many other red and purple fruits, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Its effects have even been compared to those of NSAIDs! Amongst many different fruits, however, cherries have the highest levels of anthocyanin. They also contain other antioxidant substances, such as polyphenols, Vitamin C, and melatonin.

Scientific research has shown that cherries can help arthritis patients through various mechanisms. They decrease levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker of systemic inflammation. Participant in clinical studies have also experienced lower pain and stiffness after incorporating cherries into their diets. Cherries also lower the levels of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid is the substance responsible for causing painful bouts of gout, which is another form of arthritis.

Cherries are beneficial no matter how you choose to take them. Eat fresh cherries or drink a glass of cherry juice each day for a healthy, tasty snack that will help with your arthritis.

Citrus Fruits

citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes on a white background

Many people believe that citrus fruits can be harmful for arthritis patients. But in reality, it’s all about finding the right balance. Incorporating your favorite citrus fruits into your diet in a moderate amount can actually be beneficial to your health. All citrus fruits –oranges, tangerines, lemons, lime, grapefruit, amongst others- are rich in vitamin C. Research has shown that this vitamin can help you maintain bone and joint health. It can also prevent inflammatory types of arthritis.

Vitamin C is also necessary for the synthesis of new collagen. Collagen is a vital component of tendons, ligaments, bones, and blood vessels. Giving your body the nutrients it requires to create strong, sturdy collagen will help alleviate arthritis symptoms. It will also help you have stronger bones and muscles, which will help support your body weight. Citrus fruits are also a good source of antioxidants, which can also decrease inflammation throughout your entire body.

Add citrus fruits progressively into your diet by drinking a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with certain medications; check with your doctor before consuming it regularly. You can also snack on whole citrus fruits or add them to your favorite salads for a zesty flavor. Rather than being harmful, citrus fruits can actually be amongst the best fruits for arthritis!

Pineapple

pineapple sitting on a green lawn with a blue sky in the background

This juicy, tropical fruit is rich in vitamin C and the enzyme bromelain. This enzyme has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects similar to those of NSAIDs. Bromelain can also help break down fibrin, which leads to reduced swelling. To reap all its beneficial effects, eat your pineapple between meals. Otherwise, its enzymes will be spent digesting other foods. You should also eat fresh or frozen pineapple, rather than canned pineapple or pineapple juice.

Keep in mind that fibrin is one of the components of the coagulation process. Fibrin is broken down by the bromelain in pineapple. If you take anticoagulant medications, such as aspirin, or suffer from coagulation disorders, you should check with your doctor before adding pineapple to your diet.

Foods Arthritis Suffers Should Avoid

Now that you know what are the best fruits for arthritis, it’s also useful to learn which foods you need to avoid. Remember that we are all different, which means that someone might need to cut these foods entirely out of their diet to achieve pain relief, while others might be able to eat them in small amounts. Some of the foods that can worsen arthritis include:

  • Dairy products: dairy contains proteins that can increase inflammation for people living with arthritis. Some patients have found symptom-relief in a vegan diet. If you are planning to become vegan, remember to keep your protein intake up. You can achieve this eating tofu, beans, quinoa, nut butters, and spinach.
  • Processed foods: these foods tend to contain high levels of trans fats. These fats are used to preserve food, but they can trigger intense systemic inflammation.
  • Refined sugar: pastries, soda drinks, pastries, and candy, along with other sources of refined sugar, release cytokines in your body. Cytokines are proteins that trigger inflammatory processes, worsening your symptoms.
  • Fried foods: these foods contain high levels of trans fats and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs stimulate inflammation, and they are also present in red meat.

Summary

You can achieve a higher quality of life and improve pain-relief simply by understanding which foods are best for arthritis. Incorporate these fruits into your daily life and you’ll soon see the benefits. However, keep in mind that even natural foods can interact with certain medications. If you take medications for other diseases, such as antihypertensive drugs, remember to check with your doctor or nutritionist before making any dietary modifications.

Living an active, pain-free life isn’t impossible after being diagnosed with arthritis. A healthy diet full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances, along with pain-relieving medications and exercise will provide many health benefits. This can be the key to a long, happy life even after your arthritis diagnosis.

Do you know of other fruits that are beneficial for people with arthritis? What fruits have you found to be the best for reducing your arthritis symptoms? Please share in the comments below!

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