Foods that Help with Arthritis Inflammation


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While arthritis can be a painful and difficult disease to live with, your diet can actually improve the severity of your symptoms. There’s no dietary “cure” for arthritis, but eating anti-inflammatory foods can help you manage the pain, swelling, and discomfort that comes with arthritis.

Below are some of the best foods that help with arthritis inflammation if you’re willing to try this method, as well as some foods to avoid to prevent your symptoms from getting worse.

Fruits

Cherries

dark red cherries in a pink bowl on a table with flowers in the backgroundCherries, especially tart cherries, contain an ingredient called anthocyanin that gives them their dark red color, and actually also help with managing arthritis symptoms.

People who drink tart cherry juice, or other foods made with tart cherries, reported improvements of pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis, according to a 2013 study.

Berries

Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are also great for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis. This is largely because of their high concentrations of vitamin C, which can slow the progression of the disease and increase your overall immune system, strengthening it enough to fight back against the condition. They’re also rich in quercetin and rutin, which are two major anti-inflammatory plant compounds.

Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables

basket full of geen an colorful vegetables sitting on a tableBroccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all great anti-inflammatory foods that can help fight arthritis. They help by slowing the damage to cartilage in the joints, which is a major cause of arthritis pain.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, namely spinach and kale, are full of beneficial nutrients for all kinds of conditions, but particularly for arthritis conditions. They have an immense amount of antioxidants to boost your immune system, as well as an anti-inflammatory compound called kaempferol, which can decrease the effects of arthritis flare-ups.

Garlic

Garlic is another beneficial vegetable for arthritis because it has a compound called diallyl disulfide, which limits enzymes associated with arthritis that damage cartilage.

Ginger

Ginger is also a known anti-inflammatory ingredient, used by cultures all over the globe for centuries for its delicious flavor and healthy properties. A 2001 study found that after 6 weeks of treatment with ginger extract, 63% of osteoarthritis sufferers felt a relief in knee pain.

Fish

thick filet of onk salmon latyng on a cutting boardFish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, both of which are great supplements that can help reduce arthritis pain. Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents in all areas of your body.

Vitamin D can help prevent bone and joint deficiency that comes with the conditions. Many studies have found that rheumatoid arthritis is actually associated with low levels of vitamin D.

Eating fish like salmon, tuna, trout, and other fish high in fat will be great additions to your diet. The American Heart Association recommends at least 2 servings of fish every week to get the full anti-inflammatory benefits.

Spices

Turmeric

Aside from actual foods and ingredients, certain spices like turmeric can also act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents when added to your foods. Tumeric, in particular, has been used in various traditions and cultures for centuries as a delicious and healthy spice in all kinds of foods. It has a compound called curcumin that manages and reduces joint inflammation, so adding it to meals will make them more flavorful and exciting, and also beneficial to your health.

Foods To Avoid

outline of a fork and spoon traces in sugar granules on a blue background.
Avoid processed carbs including foods high in sugar and flour – even “all-natural” options.

Stay away from processed foods and refined carbs. Oftentimes these types of foods are stripped of the minerals, nutrients, and fibers that allow our bodies to process them thoroughly, leaving behind just inflammatory ingredients like salts and sugars.

You may also want to stay away from most dairy products. They contain a type of protein that may irritate joint tissue and cartilage. Try to get your protein and calcium from healthier, anti-inflammatory sources like fish or vegetables. Also try to stay away from alcohol generally, as that can be very inflammatory for most people.

Disclaimer

Of course, if this new diet isn’t working for you, and your pain or discomfort levels remain about the same, you should call your doctor and see what other solutions might help you. This may include oral or topical medication, exercises, surgery, or steroids. It all depends on the level of treatment you need to manage your arthritis effectively.

Often, people who find success with the new diet have low or mild levels of arthritis, or they’re doing this diet shift as a booster to another treatment method. It all depends on what works for your lifestyle, and how you are comfortable going about treating your condition.

Sources and Summary

Arthritis is a very debilitating disease. But, with the nutrients and minerals in the foods outlined above, you can manage your symptoms naturally and effectively. This is mostly common sense, as you basically have to stick to fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins and fats in order to stay on track. Of course, this isn’t a strict diet, and it’s okay to slip up every now and then as long as a majority of your diet is focused on these anti-inflammatory ingredients.

See a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve, and remember that arthritis isn’t necessarily curable, but you don’t have to live with the severity and discomfort of the symptoms.

Have you tried any of the foods or dietary changes outlined above? Did you experience anti-inflammatory effects? Share your story with us below!

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