You may not like to hear it, but it’s an undeniable fact- A lot of the foods we enjoy are inflammatory, which only make arthritis symptoms worse, along with any other inflammatory condition you may have. So, which anti-inflammatory foods can you confidently pluck off the shelves and put on your menu? Keep your eyes peeled for these vital arthritis-fighting essentials:
Salmon, mackerel and tuna have high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Both of these elements help to reduce inflammation. It is highly recommended to include fish in your diet a couple of times a week. For those who find fish unpalatable and revolting, fish oil supplements are a great alternative.
Dark Leafy Greens
Remember Popeye the Sailor man’s love for spinach? Well, it may not give you big muscles, but it turns out he was spot on. Spinach, kale, broccoli and collard greens are indeed super healthy and great sources for vitamins E and C. Vitamin E works to protect the body against inflammatory molecules. Vitamin C helps the body make collagen, which is a major component of cartilage that aids in joint flexibility.
Go nuts with almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. These nuts in particular contain high amounts of fiber, calcium, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin E and Omega-3 fats which all have anti-inflammatory effects. Nuts are also heart-healthy, which is particularly important for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) since they have twice the risk of heart disease as healthy adults.
Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats, as well as oleocanthal, which contains properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. Olive oil, combined with vitamin D, has also shown to protect against bone loss.
Berries? Yes please, and lots of them. Berries pack a double dose of anti-inflammatory properties. All fruits are high in antioxidants, which can help fight inflammation. Additionally, foods like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation.
Fresh Garlic and Onions
Believe it or not, these pungent vegetables contain anti-inflammatory chemicals that have shown to relieve some forms of arthritic pain. As an added bonus, they are also known for their immunity-boosting properties.
This mild and energy boosting tea possesses various health benefits, along with a natural antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This ingredient has been shown to stop the production of certain inflammatory chemicals in the body, including those involved in arthritis. Recent studies also suggest that EGCG may prevent cartilage from breaking down, helping to preserve joints longer.
Listed below are some of the worst foods for arthritis that you’ll want to avoid as much as possible.
Stay away from baked goods, prepackaged meals and snacks. These items contain trans fats to help preserve them, and trans fats trigger systemic inflammation. To dodge trans fats, avoid any foods labeled as containing partially hydrogenated oils.
Meat—especially red meat—is high in saturated fats, which may cause high cholesterol and inflammation. In addition, meat contains high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that stimulate inflammation, particularly when it is broiled, grilled, roasted, or fried.
White flour products, such as white bread, white pasta, and crackers, are considered refined carbohydrates. Keep these bad carbs to a bare minimum. Refined carbohydrates, also called refined grains, cause a spike in blood glucose, which has been shown to increase inflammation in the body.
Cheese, butter, cream cheese, margarine, and mayonnaise are all high in both saturated fats and advanced glycation end products (AGEs)—they’re big inflammation triggers and should be consumed sparingly.
Experts agree that consuming too much alcohol increases inflammation and health risks. However, the research regarding moderate alcohol consumption is still debatable.
If you are trying to decrease inflammation, try cutting out alcohol altogether for 4 to 6 weeks and see what happens. You may notice a decrease in inflammatory joint pain. Additionally, you may also notice an improvement in your quality of sleep.
No matter what kind of arthritis you may have, you don’t have to give up your joys and pleasures. You can still live a full and active life. Before you take any steps though, be sure to see a certified and trusted professional for guidance. Always consult a doctor before you do anything regarding your health.