If you have arthritis, what you eat can impact how you feel. That’s because certain foods can help lower inflammation in the body and improve joint pain.
Arthritis is a disorder that causes inflammation in one or more of your joints. This inflammation in the body is what attacks muscles around the joint, leading to pain and discomfort. Although there isn’t a specific diet that cures arthritis, there are many types of food that can fight inflammation and improve joint pain.
The Mediterranean Diet is a great option for anyone who has arthritis because it helps reduce inflammation in the body. This diet focuses on fresh vegetables and fruit, fish, nuts and seeds, beans and healthy fats such as olive oil. It also limits consumption of processed foods and food items that are high in saturated fat.
There are also specific foods you can focus on to help fight inflammation. These include the following.
- Fish, especially those that are high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna and sardines
- Nuts, including walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Vegetables, especially spinach, kale, broccoli and cabbage
- Fruit, especially strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
- Beans, because they are loaded with fiber, which can help lower inflammation
- Whole grains, especially oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and bulgur
- Raw garlic
- Green tea, but steep it yourself to avoid added sugar and other preservatives
On the flip side, there are foods that can increase inflammation in the body. Try your best to limit or avoid these foods.
- Processed foods, especially ones with trans fat
- Sugar – a better sweetener is pure maple syrup
- Red meat
- Fried food
- Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and crackers
There are several good resources that can help you learn more about the best foods to eat when you have arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation website has a lot of information about foods to eat and avoid as well as general information about arthritis. The American College of Rheumatology website is another good resource to learn more about joint pain and ways to manage it. Through Network Health, you can participate in the Care Management Program, which is designed to help individuals manage chronic conditions, such as arthritis.
Talk to your personal doctor to learn more about the best foods to eat when you have arthritis. To find a personal doctor near you, contact your health insurance provider.