People with arthritis often want to know if there is a special diet for arthritis. While there is no miracle diet, A plant-based diet, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and fish, can improve overall health and manage arthritis symptoms. Even simple things like cherries, almonds, tuna, and broccoli can benefit you. Eating well can help reduce inflammation, fight free radicals, ease pain, strengthen bones, and boost the immune system.
Joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion are all symptoms of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two types of arthritis characterized by joint inflammation. Medication is frequently used to manage and reduce inflammation by improving symptoms and decreasing pain. Certain foods are anti-inflammatory, making them an effective complementary treatment for arthritis.
The Mediterranean diet has been shown to help reduce pain and swelling in rheumatoid arthritis patients. A study discovered that those who followed a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of osteoarthritis symptoms and pain. Furthermore, research has shown that an anti-inflammatory diet can improve arthritis activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The Mediterranean diet has numerous advantages, including lower blood pressure, protection against chronic diseases such as cancer and stroke, arthritis relief, joint and heart health, and weight loss, which can reduce joint pain.
Here are 11 Foods That Help Fight Arthritis
Because of their antioxidants, polyphenols, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, colorful vegetables such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, beets, sweet potatoes, and cabbage benefit arthritis patients. These foods are necessary for immune function and anti-inflammatory processes. Carotenoids and vitamin A are found in red and orange-colored vegetables such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and red bell peppers. A lack of vitamin K has been linked to an increased risk of knee osteoarthritis.
Cook vegetables lightly or eat them raw to avoid nutrient breakdown; instead of boiling or roasting vegetables, steam or sauté them. Carotenoid compounds and vitamin K in vegetables are more easily absorbed with fat, such as olive oil. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cauliflower, carrots, beets, onions, peas, winter squash, red bell peppers, corn, and sweet potatoes are all good for arthritis. The average adult requires approximately two and a half cups of vegetables daily.
Fruits are high in flavonoids and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic properties. Berries and pomegranates are anti-inflammatory in studies of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates have demonstrated promising anti-inflammatory properties.
Other fruit polyphenols, such as quercetin, anthocyanins, and citrus flavonoids, have been studied for their ability to alleviate rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Choose colorful fruits such as cherries, berries, apples, pomegranates, grapes, oranges, and grapefruit containing polyphenolic compounds that help fight arthritis inflammation. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for 2020-2025 recommend eating 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruit daily, depending on calorie needs.
In the Mediterranean diet, legumes are high in fiber, plant-based protein, iron, folate, potassium, and magnesium. Beans, peas, and lentils are excellent meat substitutes, supplying essential nutrients such as iron, folate, potassium, and magnesium. Legumes can be canned or dried, with preferred low- or no-sodium varieties. They are simple to prepare and belong to the protein and vegetable groups. It is recommended that you consume one to two servings of legumes per day. You can also incorporate more beans into your diet by tossing peas or lentils into soups and casseroles, making homemade hummus with chickpeas, or stuffing beans into tacos.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains have higher antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients than refined grains. According to a 2017 study, increasing total fiber intake lowers the risk of osteoarthritis symptoms. Grains contain phytochemicals that help fight inflammation, such as vitamin E, B vitamins, selenium, and magnesium. Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, cereals, bulgur, farro, barley, and cornmeal are ideal. A daily intake of three to six servings is recommended.
5. Seeds and Nuts
Nuts and seeds are essential to the Mediterranean diet because they contain healthy fats and plant-based protein. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids and belong to the protein food group. Every day, consume a small handful of nuts or seeds such as walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. Use raw, lightly roasted, unsalted nuts in baked goods, smoothies, salads, and pasta.
6. Low-fat dairy products
Dairy products are necessary for maintaining calcium, vitamin D, and probiotic levels. Because fortified milk and yogurt are high in vitamins A and D, they are suitable for bone health. According to a 2015 review, there is no evidence to avoid dairy consumption among arthritis patients, and dairy consumption appears to be safe and beneficial for bone health. Probiotics in dairy products such as yogurt and kefir have been linked to reduced inflammatory activity in rheumatoid arthritis. Consume three servings of dairy daily to meet your calcium, vitamin D, and probiotic requirements.
7. Seafood and Fish
Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Compared to those who eat fish less than once a month or never, eating fish at least twice a week can significantly reduce disease activity. Herring, salmon, scallops, sardines, anchovies, and trout contain higher omega-3 fatty acids. Mackerel, high in omega-3 fatty acids, is recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women and children.
Alternatives with lower mercury levels include Pacific chub mackerel and Spanish mackerel. Tuna, crab, mussels, and sea bass are excellent seafood sources. Fish also contains vitamin D, which has been shown to influence autoimmunity and reduce disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Consuming fish 3 to 4 ounces twice a week is generally recommended, but more may benefit those suffering from arthritis. If you don’t like fish, consider taking a fish oil supplement to help with joint stiffness, tenderness, and pain.
8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties, may help with arthritis symptoms. According to research, certain compounds in olive oil may promote autophagy, which aids in the removal of damaged cells from the body. Extra-virgin olive oil has been shown in studies to prevent the development of arthritis, reduce joint swelling, slow cartilage destruction, and reduce inflammation. Furthermore, compounds derived from olive oil may reduce the production of pro-inflammatory compounds in joints, potentially aiding in managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The Mediterranean diet, which has a lot of olive oil, has been shown to help people with rheumatoid arthritis feel less pain and move better. Even though more research needs to be done on how olive oil affects arthritis, eating olive oil and other healthy fats can be good for your health and may help reduce arthritis symptoms.
9. Herbs and Spices
Instead of salt, consider using spices and herbs to enhance flavor and reduce inflammation. These herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making them an excellent addition to your kitchen. Turmeric, ginger, garlic, onion, cinnamon, and chili powder are potent plant compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation and alleviate arthritis symptoms. For a healthy and delicious meal, try cinnamon in oatmeal, chili powder in marinades, crushed garlic in sauces and soups, or blending a fruit, ginger, and turmeric smoothie.
10. Green Tea
Green teas from Camellia sinensis leaves contain bioactive polyphenolic compounds with antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea supplementation has been shown in studies to improve arthritis activity and knee joint function in adults with osteoarthritis. Drink green or oolong tea instead of soda, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Regarding alcohol, moderation is vital; red wine may have anti-inflammatory properties.
11. Vitamin D
The vitamin D The “sunshine vitamin” helps bones and muscles work well. Studies have shown that people with low vitamin D levels in their blood are more likely to get osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Sunlight, egg yolk, salmon, cod liver oil, and fortified foods like milk and orange juice are all good places to get vitamin D. Read the labels on your medicines and talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if any of them could make you less likely to get enough vitamin D. And make sure that your doctor orders a vitamin D test as part of your annual bloodwork.
Diet has a significant impact on the severity and symptoms of arthritis. A healthy diet rich in healthy fats, fatty fish, and produce can help reduce arthritis symptoms. These foods reduce inflammation, nourish the body, and improve bone, muscle, and immune system function. A well-balanced Mediterranean diet high in plants, fiber, and anti-inflammatory fats can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce symptoms such as pain and swelling.