Managing Arthritis: Foods to Avoid and Foods to Consume
Arthritis is a condition in which one experiences pain and inflammation in the joints of the body. For some, relief is very hard to come by and looking for natural ways to help decrease the pain is essential. Some studies have indicated that certain foods may trigger and exacerbate painful symptoms associated with arthritis. By knowing which foods to avoid with arthritis, as well as which ones to consume, pain can be decreased, contributing to easier movement and a greater quality of life.
Foods to Avoid with Rheumatoid Arthritis
1. Fried and Processed Food
2. Sugars and Refined Carbs
3. Red Meat
6. Nightshade Vegetables (ex. tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, and eggplant)
7. Saturated Fats
Another reason that saturated fats, sugars, processed, and fried food are on the list of rheumatoid arthritis foods to avoid is for weight management. Added weight can put extra stress on already sore joints leading to greater pain and increased wear and tear. Plus, body fat is metabolically active and is capable of producing chemicals and hormones that can increase inflammation.
What Should You Eat? Good Foods for Arthritis
1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Over a dozen studies have proven that Omega-3 fish oils can reduce the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3’s are a great arthritis food that work to decrease inflammation by curbing the production of cytokines and enzymes that cause cartilage to erode. Examples of Omega-3 food for arthritis relief are salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, Pacific oysters, rainbow trout, flaxseed , and walnuts.
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, or “good” fats, that protect the body against joint inflammation because of antioxidants found in the olive oil known as polyphenols. Substituting olive oil instead of vegetable oil or butter for cooking is a great way to help reduce arthritis-related inflammation.
3. Foods Rich in Antioxidants: Free radicals, cell-damaging molecules that develop in response to natural body processes as well as toxins in the body, are a result of inflammation. The synovium, or membrane that lines the joints, is just as vulnerable to this kind of damage as other areas of the body. Antioxidants work to protect the body from the consequences of free radicals and are hugely important arthritis foods to consume. Research has proven that certain antioxidants slow the progression, relieve pain, and possibly even prevent arthritis. Choosing arthritis food that is rich in Vitamin C (ex. oranges, strawberries, broccoli), Selenium (ex. Brazil nuts, crab, whole grains), Carotenes (ex. sweet potato, butternut squash, apricots), and the Bioflavonoids- Quercitin and Anthocyanidins (ex. blueberries, cherries, black currants), will go a long way in keeping inflammation under control.
4. Certain Spices: The spices ginger and turmeric seem to have anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger contains chemicals that work like some anti-inflammatory medications, but also acts as a blood thinner, so it is important to talk to your doctor to find out what foods will work best for your individual circumstances. If ginger is okay in your diet, try a little ginger in your stir-fry dishes, or bake some low-fat ginger muffins. Turmeric, also called curcumin, works by suppressing chemicals in the body that induce inflammation. Chicken curry is one recipe that call for this helpful seasoning.
5. Alkaline Foods: People suffering from arthritis have high levels of acidity which is one cause of the inflammation. So eating food for arthritis that is more alkaline, or non-acidic, such as green leafy vegetables, barley grass, alfalfa, and parsley, can work to bring down those acidity levels.
6. Drink Water: Drinking adequate amounts of water also helps to reduce acidity levels.
Eating Paleo to Curb Arthritis Pain
In essence, the Paleo diet encourages people to get back to their roots as hunters and gatherers-eating the natural foods that our ancestors hunted, fished, and gathered since the beginning of time. Today, this would mean lean cuts of meat, preferably wild game meats and fish, which is higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and free of additives, as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables that are nutrient rich and high in anti-oxidants and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil. The Paleo diet not only supports and encourages anti-inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis food, it discourages many of the exact foods that tend to cause inflammation and pain such as refined and processed foods, sugar, soda, and dairy products. The Paleo Diet provides very specific guidelines and there are many helpful literary resources available for meal ideas, including shopping tips, recipes, and other accommodating information that can make it much easier to eat better, and hopefully decrease inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.
Summing it Up
While it is evident that the level of pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and food are connected, determining which foods are best at keeping your pain and inflammation under control is up to you and your doctor. These recommended foods to avoid or consume have proven to work for some, but you will need to do your own experimenting to see which foods will help your condition improve so that you can eliminate pain and get moving again!
Bauer, Joy. (October 11, 2007) Fight Arthritis with These Foods. Retrieved on April 14, 2012 from http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/21246089/ns/today-today_health/t/fight-arthritis-these-foods/
Reynolds, Denise. (April 26, 2011). Foods to Avoid if You Have Arthritis. Retrieved on April 14, 2012 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/89176-foods-avoid-arthritis/
Top Recommended Diet for Arthritis. Retrieved on April 14, 2012 from http://www.arthritis-treatments-relief.com/diet-for-arthritis.html