Arthritis is a rather broad term that refers to many types of joint pain or joint disease. Generally speaking, arthritis is an inflammation of one or more of your joints. Symptoms of arthritis can include pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion in the joints. While your diet won’t cure your arthritis, there are certain foods that have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones, and boost the immune system. A healthy, balanced diet is the most important factor, and staying at a healthy weight can ease stress on your joints. However, adding these specific foods to your balanced diet may help ease the symptoms of your arthritis.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation. Try to incorporate fish into your diet a couple times a week. If you’re not a fan of fish, you can always talk to your medical provider about taking an omega-3 supplement into your routine.
Studies have found many health benefits in garlic, but most important are its anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic is also a member of the allium family – which includes onions and leeks – and contains a compound called diallyl disulphine that may help limit cartilage-damaging enzymes. Studies have shown that people who regularly ate foods from the allium family showed fewer signs of early osteoarthritis.
Anthocyanin is the ingredient that gives cherry their red color, and it also has been found to have an anti-inflammatory effect. A 2013 study found that subjects who drank tart cherry juice had improvements in pain and stiffness with osteoarthritis. Anthocyanin can also be found in other red and purple fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
Your parents probably always told you to eat your broccoli growing up, and for good reason. Vegetables are always a healthy choice, but broccoli is a part of the cruciferous family and is full of a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is thought to help prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis according to some early studies. Broccoli is also rich in calcium, which is always a good choice for bone health. Other members of the cruciferous family include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower.
Turmeric is one of the best-researched ingredients for fighting inflammation. The spice has been used in India for centuries to ward off all sorts of infections and diseases. Curcumin is the compound in turmeric that is thought to help reduce inflammation. If you don’t want to use spices in every meal, turmeric is also available in supplement form. Be sure to check with your medical provider regarding any supplements you take.
Some food ingredients are known to cause inflammation in the body, and should generally be avoided when trying to ease arthritis symptoms. Excess sugar, MSG, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol are a few examples.
Along with conventional treatments, eating a nutritious and balanced diet is one of the best ways to stay healthy and keep your joints happy.