Arthritis Diet Dos and Don’ts – Foods That Can Help Reduce Inflammation and Joint Pain

If you suffer from arthritis, it’s essential to understand which foods can reduce inflammation and which ones contribute to more. A registered dietitian can assist in designing a diet which includes nutritious fats and nightshades while restricting their use in order to manage pain more effectively.

Avoid foods that encourage inflammation such as sugars, processed red meat and fried food. Instead, consume more foods high in vitamin C which will soothe pain and decrease swelling.

1. Fatty Fish

Omega 3 polyunsaturated fats found in fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna have been proven to decrease inflammation. You can also take omega 3 supplement capsules.

Foods high in saturated fats may aggravate arthritis symptoms and contribute to weight gain, further straining joints. Instead, opt for lean meats, eggs, whole grains and vegetables with fruits plus healthy oils like olive or flax seed oil as alternatives.

People may find that certain foods exacerbate their arthritis; tomatoes, eggplants and peppers from the nightshade family may irritate some individuals but many experts don’t advise cutting out nightshades completely if they do not cause issues for you.

2. Cherries

Researchers have discovered that drinking tart cherry juice helps alleviate arthritis pain by lowering inflammation and relieving pain for many sufferers. Opt for unsweetened versions of this healthy beverage for maximum effectiveness.

Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach contain anti-inflammatory vitamins A, C and K as well as bone-building calcium, helping reduce excess salt in your body that contributes to arthritis inflammation. Leafy greens also play a pivotal role in relieving joint discomfort by aiding with detoxification processes in your body.

Other foods to avoid for their pro-inflammatory potential are sugar (which can prompt the release of cytokines that increase inflammation), saturated fats found in red meat, full-fat dairy and certain margarine brands as well as trans fats. Beans (such as pinto, kidney and black beans) provide extra anti-inflammation fiber.

3. Leafy Greens

Studies suggest that certain foods may help alleviate arthritis-related inflammation. According to experts, red meat, full-fat dairy products and butter should all be limited, along with trans fats found in margarine brands and French fries.

Opt for whole grain options like brown rice and quinoa over refined breads and crackers. Look out for labels stating “whole grain” to ensure you’re eating real grains.

Add low-fat yogurt, milk and cheese to your diet for extra calcium and vitamin D benefits that can strengthen bones and improve joint health. If dairy doesn’t agree with you, try eating leafy greens such as broccoli instead – they provide similar advantages!

4. Green Tea

Green tea contains anti-inflammatory compounds, such as the compound EGCG that works by blocking an inflammation-inducing enzyme called SAMe (s-adenosylmethionine). Furthermore, it’s full of antioxidants and vitamin C for bone and cartilage health.

Diets that incorporate plant-based foods like oily fish, whole grains, beans and nuts, vegetables and fruits may help relieve RA symptoms such as fatigue and anaemia, in which there are too few red blood cells carrying oxygen around the body. Antioxidants found in berries may reduce inflammation while diets rich in leafy green vegetables may provide calcium, magnesium potassium and iron.

5. Olive Oil

Many people who suffer from arthritis find relief in food with anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil contains heart-healthy fats as well as an antioxidant called oleocanthal that works similarly to ibuprofen in reducing inflammation.

Extra-virgin olive oil offers the greatest health benefits, as it contains anti-inflammatory compound oleic acid.

Add whole grains such as quinoa, freekeh and bulgur to your diet in order to increase dietary fiber and thus help manage weight, a factor in joint problems.

Some individuals living with arthritis may avoid nightshade vegetables like tomatoes and peppers as these foods may trigger inflammation. However, studies indicate that nightshade vegetables may actually be beneficial to health; so you shouldn’t eliminate them completely from their diet.

6. Nightshade Vegetables

Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants have been linked with arthritis in some people. These plants contain glycoalkaloids which act as natural pesticides as well as possessing anti-inflammatory properties in some individuals.

But these foods are readily available at any grocery store and should be part of a balanced diet. They provide essential nutrients like potassium, vitamin C and other plant compounds like carotenoids and antioxidants.

Montoya suggests that those sensitive to nightshades might benefit from temporarily cutting them out for two weeks and gradually adding them back into their diets over time, though most arthritis sufferers should not need to do this.

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