Reducing arthritis with food choices
Everyone is looking for the magic cure to the chronic pain and discomfort of inflammatory arthritis. There does not seem to be a nutritional magic bullet, but nutrition researchers do feel that certain foods may be anti-inflammatory.
Some foods may increase the inflammatory response and should be limited in the diet. These include:
- Fatty red meats
- Processed meats such as bacon, sausage and hotdogs
- Refined and processed carbohydrate foods such as salty snack crackers and chips
- Cookies, cake and other bakery desserts, as well as candy and sweet drinks
Research has found that certain foods, for different reasons, may offer some help for inflammatory arthritis:
- Berries, plums, cherries, pomegranate, apricots
- Broccoli, carrots, greens, butternut and acorn squash, sweet potatoes
Spice it up:
- Herbs and spices - turmeric, curry, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.
Other healthy options:
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, etc.
- Olive and grapeseed oils; avocados
- Yogurt with active cultures
- Dried beans and peas
- Tea, steeped for at last 3 minutes in hot water
Certainly a plant-based diet with very few refined foods seems to be the way to go to reduce inflammation, and perhaps alleviate the daily pain and discomfort from arthritis. Grains such as quinoa, barley and wild or brown rice can provide a small amount of vegetarian protein and are slow to turn into glucose, keeping inflammation to a minimum.
If you do suffer from arthritis, it probably is a good health-idea to evaluate the primary foods that you eat to see if you can make some modifications to reduce inflammation. And then, of course, limit alcohol, don’t smoke, and enjoy daily walking or exercise to keep inflammation to a minimum.
Recipes to try:
About the Author
Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.