Arthritis comes in many forms. In rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks joints. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage between joints wears away. But no matter the type, arthritis is always a disease of inflammation.
Anything that helps fight inflammation in the body could be an effective way to treat it — including food!
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that a Mediterranean style diet could help with arthritis, according to Prevention.com. Though the number of studies showing this are limited, experts believe that the diet can help reduce inflammation in the body, and thus tame arthritis.
Here are five foods to help treat arthritis and manage its symptoms:
1) Cold water fish
Fish like salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel and halibut are packed with omega-3 essential fatty acids. These fatty acids reduce the inflammation in the body by suppressing the production of certain proteins and enzymes which wear away cartilage.
These foods can reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and numerous studies have shown that participants who consumed an diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids had more strength and less fatigue.
Participants also experienced reduction in joint swelling, tenderness, morning stiffness and pain, compared to those on a regular diet, according to nutrition and health expert for NBC’s TODAY show, Joy Bauer.
So add these fish to your diet and enjoy them at least twice a week to reap the health benefits. According to the American Heart Association, each serving should be 3.5 ounce cooked, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish.
2) Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil contains fats that can protect the body against inflammation. EVOO is rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can help reduce arthritis-related inflammation.
Add olive oil it to your salad dressings, drizzle it over your dishes, and enjoy it in your cooking. Just make sure you use it in place of other oils and fats and not in addition to them! Moderation is key here.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, several studies have shown broccoli to help prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Broccoli is rich in vitamins K, C, and a compound called sulforaphane which gives this vegetable its arthritis-fighting properties.
It is also a calcium powerhouse. Calcium is a mineral that our bodies need to build and maintain strong bones. You can enjoy broccoli in your salads, soups, and as a side dish — steamed, grilled or raw.
4) Whole grains
Consumption of whole grains has been shown to reduce a marker of inflammation in the body, called the C-reactive protein. According to the Whole Grains Council, some studies have shows that over 40 percent of Americans never eat whole grains at all.
Try to add some whole grains to each of your meals to reduce your arthritic symptoms. Enjoy some oatmeal for breakfast, have brown rice on the side for lunch, and snack on whole-grain cereal in between meals.
These nuts are rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and alpha-linoleic acids that help boost your immune system. The Arthritis Foundation states that the consumption of walnuts has been shown to significantly lower C-reactive proteins in the body, meaning that they are effective in fighting inflammation.
They also have blood pressure-lowering effects. So carry a small bag of walnuts with you to munch on during the day. In addition to all these health benefits, they are also packed with protein and fiber to keep you full longer.
12 Best Foods For Arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved on May 19, 2015.
Best Diet For Arthritis. Prevention.com. Retrieved on May 19, 2015.
Fight arthritis with these foods. TODAY Health. Retrieved on May 19, 2015.
Fish and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. American Heart Association. Retrieved on May 21, 2015.
How Much Is Enough? Whole Grains Council. Retrieved on May 21st, 2015.
McCann, K. (2007). Nutrition and Rheumatoid Arthritis. EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, 3(6): 616-618.
Rheumatoid Arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved on May 21st, 2015.
Rheumatoid Arthritis. The World’s Healthiest Foods. Retrieved on May, 19.
Ruxton, C. H. S., Reed, S. C., Simpson, M. J. A. Simpson, Millington, K.J. (2004). The health benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: a review of the evidence. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 17(5): 449-459.
Reviewed May 22, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith