Inflammation aggravates arthritis pain. Your diet contributes a lot to inflammation -- eat lots of refined sugars, alcohol, and saturated fat and you may make your arthritis pain more severe.
Instead, include foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and specific vitamins -- such as vitamins C and A -- to fight inflammation and encourage your body’s immune system to function optimally.
Here are 10 foods to include in your diet every week to help relieve joint pain, including some you may choose to have every day.
Fatty fish -- like salmon, mackerel, and herring -- is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds suppress the production of enzymes that erode cartilage, the primary cause of arthritis pain. Omega-3s fight both the inflammation that irritates osteoarthritis and the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Aim for two or three 4-6-ounce servings every week.
Cherries can reduce the number of gout attacks you experience show research. Plus, cherries contain compounds known as anthocyanins that reduce inflammation. Grab a handful of the fruit for snacking, or down an occasional glass of tart cherry juice with no sugar added.
Green tea contains many compounds, including antioxidants and polyphenols, that reduce inflammation and slow the cartilage destruction associated with arthritis. People with rheumatoid arthritis benefit from a specific antioxidant known as EGCG, short for epigallocatechin-3-gallate, that prevents the production of molecules that cause joint damage.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and the carotenoid lutein, an anti-inflammatory compound. Each serving also has ample amounts of vitamin E, which may serve to boost the health of your connective tissue. This combination of nutrients may decrease some of the joint damage commonly seen during the earliest stages of osteoarthritis.
Consume plenty of spinach, kale, bok choy, and Swiss chard. These veggies contain vitamins C, A, and K -- all of which act as antioxidants to protect you from free radicals. Free radicals are found in the environment, foods you eat, and pollution. They cause cellular damage, accelerate aging, and exacerbate the inflammation of arthritis pain. Have a salad daily to reap the benefits of leafy greens.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash contain carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Research suggests that regularly consuming these antioxidants can reduce your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Flaxseed is another rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly the type known as ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid. ALA is a boost to your health because it lowers your cholesterol and improves heart health. Use this anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritis food to top yogurt or cereal.
Walnuts have a high ALA content, too. When you consume them, your body produces less C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that’s linked to heart disease and arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis. Eat walnuts as a snack out of hand, or toss into salads or stir-fry dishes.
Ginger contains chemicals that work just like those found in some anti-inflammatory medications. Ginger is a key ingredient in Asian cuisine, but you can consume it as a tea or as an ingredient in baked goods.
Citrus fruits contain a ton of vitamin C, which has wound-healing properties and supports the health of your cartilage. Oranges, grapefruit, and kiwis contain a lot of the vitamin. If you want other sources, eat up cantaloupe and strawberries or go for broccoli as a vegetable source.
If you suffer from arthritis pain, seek treatment from our experienced doctors at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists. They can give you more nutritional advice as well as other lifestyle recommendations to reduce pain and improve function. Just call our office or click the button to book online.