If you suffer from arthritis, you know just how painful this condition can be. Arthritis is a term referring to a class of diseases that cause pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. It affects people of all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds.
Fortunately, there are many foods that help reduce inflammation and may even help relieve some of the joint pain associated with arthritis. One recent survey found that 24% of those with rheumatoid arthritis reported that their diet had an impact on the severity of their symptoms.
If you have arthritis, consider adding these foods to your diet:
- Fatty Fish – Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation. Try adding fatty fish to your diet 1-2 times per week. A quick broil in the oven with some lemon juice and olive oil makes a delicious meal. If you’re not a big fan of fish, ask your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement.
- Ginger and Turmeric – Certain spices have anti-inflammatory effects, like ginger and turmeric. Turmeric is an Asian mustard-yellow spice found in curry. Ginger contains chemicals that work similarly to some anti-inflammatory medications.
- Cherries – Cherries contain potent antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help reduce inflammation. They contribute to the health of connective tissues and are even more powerful than vitamin C for fighting damaging free radicals. Besides cherries, berries (blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, raspberries and elderberries), eggplant, grapes and plums are also rich in anthocyanins.
- Dark Leafy Green Vegetables – Green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, swiss chard and bok choy are packed with powerful antioxidants like vitamins A, C and K, which protect your cells from damaging free radicals. They are also high in bone healthy calcium. Broccoli and other cruciferous veggies also contain a natural compound called sulforaphane. Research on mice found that sulforaphane blocks the inflammatory process and might slow cartilage damage in osteoarthritis.
- Garlic – Garlic contains a compound called diallyl disulfide that helps in limiting cartilage-damaging enzymes. It’s a member of the allium family, which also includes onions and leeks. It’s also an easy, savory, addition to just about any meal.