From fatty fish and whole grains to leafy greens, discover the best foods for managing arthritis and supporting joint health
Food is medicine! It provides us with energy, builds our tissues, and supports our organs. Moreover, it helps in treating or managing certain ailments, like arthritis.
Though diet alone can never cure arthritis, some foods can manage the symptoms and pain.
Many food items reduce inflammation, strengthen bones, and support joint health. If you have arthritis pain, try including an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich diet with your prescribed medicines for added comfort.
What Is Arthritis?
Simply stated, arthritis is swelling or inflammation in the joints. It is characterized by joint pain and stiffness and affects joints and the tissue around them.
There are many types of arthritis, but the two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time. It can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs due to systemic inflammation and attacks the lining of the joints. It can lead to joint pain, stiffness, swelling, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.
Other types of arthritis include psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout, and lupus arthritis.
While there is no cure for arthritis, various treatment options are available to manage symptoms, including medication, physical therapy, and surgery. Diet and lifestyle changes also play a crucial role in managing the condition.
Top 7 Foods To Eat To Relieve Arthritis
Certain foods can reduce inflammation and alleviate joint pain, alleviating arthritis symptoms. Here, we have listed the best seven of them.
Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as polyphenolic flavonoids, that help reduce inflammation.
These fruits are also rich in vitamin C, essential for collagen production, a protein supporting joint health.
Consuming berries or berry extracts may help reduce inflammation, improve joint flexibility, and alleviate joint pain in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Dark Leafy Greens
Other food item to include in your arthritis-friendly diet is dark leafy greens, spinach, kale, collard green, and broccoli. These vegetables contain ample amounts of vitamins E, C, and K.
Vitamin E helps you put up defenses against pro-inflammatory compounds and subside inflammation. At the same time, vitamin C facilitates collagen production and improves joint strength.
Vitamin K plays a huge role in bone and cartilage mineralization; its deficiency is a leading cause of osteoarthritis. Spinach and collard greens are premium sources of vitamin K, helping you manage arthritis symptoms.
Eat raw or lightly cooked vegetables so the nutrients are not broken down, and you benefit most.
Garlic is a powerful anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting food that decreases inflammation and supports overall health. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
Garlic is also an amazing immunity booster, keeping your body in the best shape to fight off diseases. You can use it in soups, salads, sauces, or stir fry to include in your main dishes.
4. Green Tea
Green tea contains many polyphenolic and antioxidant compounds, such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). These compounds confer potential anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects to reduce arthritis pain and inflammation.
A 2018 study suggested that green tea extract may help control pain and improve knee joint functioning in patients with osteoarthritis.
The Indian Saffaron, turmeric, is a potent natural anti inflammatory food. It contains curcumin, a polyphenol responsible for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It reduces inflammation, controls joint pain, and relieves stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Turmeric also strengthens your immune system, making your bones and joints strong. You can use it as a curry spice, sprinkle it on your salad, or blend it with fruits to make a turmeric smoothie. The taste is perfect, and the benefits are immense!
6. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. These fatty acids can help reduce joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
Research has shown that people who consume omega-3 supplements or eat fatty fish regularly have less inflammation and joint pain than those who do not.
Besides omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish contain a high amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D is said to help in autoimmune diseases and, thus, fight rheumatoid arthritis. Including fish directly in your diet is the best option, but you can also use fish oil supplements.
7. Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and other nutrients that can help reduce inflammation and manage arthritis pain. These foods are also high in protein, which can help promote muscle strength and support joint health.
These foods are quite helpful in alleviating arthritis symptoms and reducing pain and stiffness associated with it. However, a balanced diet is still important, even if not for arthritis. Try to include as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible for good health.