Did you know that your diet plays a major role in your arthritis pain management? While physical therapy can do wonders, eating right can also help. Let’s look at five anti-inflammatory foods that can help with arthritis pain.
1. Green Tea
Green tea has many health benefits, one of which is its anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a natural antioxidant that works to stop the production of certain inflammatory chemicals in our bodies. Research also suggests that EGCG may prevent or slow down the break down of our body’s cartilage, which can help preserve joints longer. So grab a nice, warm cup of tea, pour yourself a bath, and enjoy this healthy and refreshing drink.
2. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, and oysters, contain omega-3 fish oils, a natural compound that can help decrease inflammation by suppressing the enzymes that erode cartilage. Not only do omega-3 oils reduce the symptoms of arthritis, but they also aid in more strength, less fatigue, reduced joint swelling and stiffness, and less overall pain.
Bonus tip: when cooking your fatty fish, use seasonings like garlic, turmeric, and ginger for even more benefits. Garlic is a member of the allium family, which means it contains a compound that also limits cartilage-damaging enzymes. Turmeric is actually one of the most researched inflammation fighters, as it contains curcumin which is beneficial in managing chronic inflammation. Lastly, ginger blocks the production of inflammatory substances in the body.
Like fatty fish, walnuts are full of healthy nutrients and loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds. Omega-3 has been shown to decrease symptoms of arthritis and reduce inflammation. In addition to omega-3, walnuts also contain healthy fats and oleocanthal, which also helps decrease inflammation. In fact, these healthy fats block the same inflammatory pathways as ibuprofen and aspirin!
It’s no surprise that leafy greens are great for our health, but favorites like broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, and cabbage are especially beneficial for individuals with arthritis. These vegetables have carotenoids, which have long been touted for their protective properties. Usually, carotenoids are responsible for the bright yellow, red, and orange we find in nutritious picks like bell peppers and carrots, but these greens have carotenoids as well. Carotenoids act as antioxidants in our bodies, are major cancer-fighters, and have anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. So fill your plate up with a colorful diet of fruits and vegetables to help alleviate some of your arthritis pain.
Berries such as blackberries, elderberries, raspberries, and strawberries contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and help our bodies generate connective tissue. In fact, anthocyanins are even more powerful than Vitamin C in defusing free radicals in our bodies, which can irritate tissue and cartilage.
These five foods will help relieve joint pain, but eating a healthy diet all the time will also help. Whole grains, lean proteins, and lots of fruits and veggies are naturally anti-inflammatory and will help you maintain a healthy weight. Every pound of weight you lose, you reduce the load on your joints by four pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight and diet will help you control your joint and arthritis pain. If you want to learn more about preventing arthritis and healthy tips and tricks, visit the Arthritis Foundation.