When living with arthritis, one of the biggest game changers is dieting. Dieting is crucial in arthritis management because it is the easiest, fastest, and most effective way to manage arthritis and see actual results.
These anti-inflammatory diets for arthritis patients are meal plans that constitute food classes with anti-inflammatory properties. These anti-inflammatory properties help fight against arthritis by preventing or reducing the body’s inflammatory response.
Remember that inflammation is the main reason why your joints hurt the way they do. These anti-inflammatory diets for arthritis management also help in several other ways that I will show you at the end of this post.
What is an arthritis diet?
People often wonder if there is such a thing as an arthritis diet. An arthritis diet is a blueprint that showcases the type of foods or food groups capable of producing anti-inflammatory properties in the body.
With this, they help fight diseases caused by inflammation and diseases that produce inflammatory responses in the body but are not caused by inflammation.
An arthritis diet can help to manage the symptoms of arthritis for a long time and promotes a healthy eating pattern among people with arthritis. This type of diet is often referred to as an anti-inflammatory diet, while others term it the Mediterranean diet.
How anti-inflammatory diets help with arthritis.
The anti-inflammatory diets for arthritis are effective; some may wonder how food can help fight a chronic illness like arthritis. Below are the ways that an anti-inflammatory diet helps with arthritis:
1. Fights inflammation
An arthritis diet fights inflammation because they contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help to relieve symptoms like joint pain and stiffness.
2. Reduces joint pain
It also alleviates joint pains because an anti-inflammatory diet fights inflammation.
3. Leads to weight loss
An anti-inflammatory diet helps to reduce weight loss. Obesity is one of the risk factors for arthritis, and reducing your weight can help to reduce the severity of the symptoms.
4. Prevents the likelihood of other diseases
An anti-inflammatory diet is a healthy food choice and will help prevent opportunistic diseases in the body. It is a known fact that people living with arthritis are at risk of other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
5. Slows the progression of the disease
An arthritis diet slows the progression of joint damage by fighting the body’s inflammatory responses.
6. Reduces cholesterol
According to MedicalNewsToday, people who have osteoarthritis are at the risk of developing high blood cholesterol, but with an arthritis diet, cholesterol levels can quickly be handled and reduced.
Anti-inflammatory diets for arthritis
Here are the top 12 foods that can help to manage the symptoms of arthritis and relieve pains:
You need fatty fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Mackerel, salmon, tuna, anchovies, scallops, sardines, herrings, and most cold-water fishes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acid is very potent in fighting inflammation; it reduces the C-reactive proteins and interleukin-6, which are inflammatory proteins found in the body.
If you are not a fan of fish, you can take a supplement.
Nuts are rich in Vitamin B6 and inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fats. Although nuts are high in fats and calories, they also have high protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats. The best sources are walnuts, pine nuts, and almonds.
Seeds such as pistachios, flax seeds, and chia seeds contain monounsaturated fat, protein, and fiber which is advantageous if you want to manage your weight.
4. Fresh Fruit & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that help neutralize the body’s free radicals. Anthocyanins and vitamins are commonly found and have high anti-inflammatory effects.
They support the immune system and fight inflammation.
Sources include berries, cherries, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale, and cabbage.
5. Olive oil
Olive oil has properties that can help to relieve joint pains. It is said to work like NSAIDs, reducing the body’s inflammatory response and dulling the body’s sensitivity to pain. Most importantly, it contains oleocanthal which relieves pain and lowers inflammation.
Extra virgin oil, avocado oil, safflower oil, and walnut oil are equally effective for anti-inflammation.
Beans contain fibers and other nutrients that are antioxidative and anti-inflammatory. They contain minerals such as magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron and are also a good source of protein, which is great for muscle strength.
The best sources are small red beans, kidney beans, garbanzo, and pinto beans.
7. Whole grains
Whole grains contain a lot of fibers that can help you maintain a healthy weight. Eat a lot of whole grains but avoid gluten, as it has been found to cause inflammation and joint pain in some people.
Whole grains such as barley, buckwheat, millet, oats, and quinoa are excellent sources.
Onions are highly oxidative, and it is best to include them in your diet. Onions help reduce inflammation, heart disease risk, and bad cholesterol. You can eat onions raw or add them to your food like sandwiches, pasta, and stir-fries.
Fibers lower the amount of C-reactive proteins in the body. You can also take fiber supplements from food that is rich in fiber.
10. Tumeric and Ginger
Turmeric contains curcumin which has antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, while ginger contains certain compounds that work as much as anti-inflammatory drugs.
11. Mineral water
Although there is limited knowledge on the effect of mineral water on arthritis, it is said that Scottish mineral water contains sulfur which has good antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties.
12. Green tea
Green tea contains catechins that prevent the completion of the inflammatory pathways. Green tea is anti-inflammatory and will help relieve joint pains in the body.
Foods to avoid when you have arthritis
1. Avoid processed foods
Processed foods are rich in unhealthy fats that are not good for your body. You should avoid canned foods and street junk.
2. Avoid refined grains
You should also avoid refined grains such as white bread, white rice, potato chips, and white pasta—this type of food fuels the production of certain oxidants that stimulate inflammation.
3. Reduce refined sugar
Consuming a lot of soda and candy does you more harm than good. Taking a lot of refined sugar will increase the risk of having related chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
4. Reduce salt
Too much salt is not good for the body. It has been observed that a component of the medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, specifically corticosteroids, prevents the body from breaking down salt as it should. So, reducing the amount of salt in your diet is best.
5. Avoid alcohol
Avoiding alcohol is more like avoiding heavy intake of arthritis. You can occasionally take a bit of wine, but avoid making it a habit. Heavy drinking puts a lot of strain on your liver, increasing inflammation in the body.
6. Avoid deep-fried foods
Deep-fried foods have high amounts of saturated fat and can increase your body weight, which is terrible for arthritis management.
7. Avoid processed meat
Processed meat is high in saturated fats and can cause inflammation in fat tissues.
Controversial anti-inflammatory diets
These diets have not been completely proven scientifically, but certain people have affirmed that they cause inflammation in the body. They include:
1. Nightshade plants
Nightshade plants are a group name used for eggplants, tomatoes, pepper, and white potatoes. These nightshade plants have been said to contain solanine, a chemical suspected to cause arthritis inflammation.
Some people and organizations like the arthritis foundation believe that some might be allergic or sensitive to these plants but are skeptical that nightshade plants promote arthritis inflammation.
2. Dairy produce
The effectiveness of dairy products varies based on individual make-up. Dairy products have been proven to help reduce the risk of gout in men and help slow down the deterioration of osteoarthritis in older women.
However, some people might experience inflammation that will affect the joints if dairy products are present in their diet.
3. Wheat gluten
Although gluten in whole wheat products might be healthy for certain people, it may also cause inflammation and joint pain in some individuals.
4. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are generally beneficial to the body but grapefruit, according to SingleCare, is the most commonly implicated fruit for drug-food interactions. It is said to block the enzyme’s action that helps break down certain medications, leaving a high residue of drugs in your system, leading to serious side effects.
Tips for starting an anti-inflammatory diet
- Discuss with your doctor
- Use supplements when available
- Be moderate
- Avoid huge diet changes
- Don’t skip meals
- Plan varieties
Eating a lot of fish and essential oils is a crucial part of anti-inflammatory diets for arthritis management. There are other ways to manage arthritis effectively, and it is okay to try out some alternative remedies once in a while.
Remember that you know your body better than anyone, and you can seek different treatment plans just to get the one that works best for you.
Don’t forget to carry your doctor along and track your symptoms judiciously.
Do you agree with these food/diet options? How have you been managing your arthritis symptoms?