” FOOD isn’t a panacea, but can make joints healthier ” – Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports Nutrition in the Dept of Orthopedic surgery at the university of Pittsburg.
Arthritis hits 1 in every 5 grown ups ! Can foods cure arthritis ? Unfortunately not, but there are some foods that can make the condition less painful. On the flip side there are foods that can aggravate the condition. Knowing what these foods are and making small changes in the diet can yield BIG rewards and improve quality of life. It can also prevent the condition from progressing further. Lifestyle changes like weight loss can significantly improve the condition because every extra pound you carry especially around your belly puts about 10 lbs of pressure on your joints. I have compiled a list of Eat it and Avoid It foods ! Hope they will help you make some choices and ease the pain. If you are not yet familiar with the pains and cracks of arthritis , eating these foods can delay onset and act preventive in nature.
Joint friendly Foods
Omega 3 : Good sources are Fatty Fish like Salmon, Sardines. Other sources are walnuts, flax-seed , canola oil etc. Reason these help are they decrease the production of chemicals that spread inflammation and they inhibit enzymes that trigger inflammation. Get at least 1000 mg of omega 3 / day. About a 4oz serving of fish or a handful of walnuts .
Extra Virgin Olive Oil : Contains olecanthal which blocks the formation of the enzymes involved in inflammation. Remember extra virgin is THE best coz it has most amount of the anti inflammatory property. Get at least a tbsp a day . Tip ; You can use it in salad dressings!
Vitamin C : Good sources are Sweet Peppers, citrus fruit, brocoli. Vitamin C helps in the formation of Collagen which strengthens joints . Get about 500 mg / day. An orange or a cup of brocoli would give you about 200 mg. Food sources of Vitamin C are superior to a supplement since there are other plant nutrients in these foods that can benefit arthritis.
Brazil Nuts : Contain large amounts of selenium, a powerful antioxidants which seems to magically slow down the progression of the condition. About a handful a day will give you the selenium you need. Other sources of selenium are oatmeal , beef, turkey
Leeks and Onions : Contain large amounts of quercetin , an antioxidant that inhibit inflammation and ease the pain. This antioxidant is supposed to mimic the pain killing effects of ibuprofen and aspirin. Use them in soups, salads , cooking etc. Try to eat 1/ 2 cup of quercetin foods / day.
Tart Cherries : Are the new black that can do wonders for arthritis ! Several studies shown the tremendous improvement in easing pain and improving joint function after eating Tart cherries. The magic ingredient here is anthocyanins , the pigment that gives cherries its rich color. Other anthocyanin rich foods are eggplant, raspberries, black grapes . 1/2 cup of tart cherries fresh frozen or dried should give you the amount needed. You could also buy tart cherry juice from a health food store. 4-8 ounces of pure cherry juice will give you amount you need. Tip : Frozen tart cherries taste great in berry smoothies.
Green Tea : Studies show drinking green tea can lessen incidence and severity of arthritis. 3-4 cups / day . Green Tea has so many other benefits , so huge win for anyone who drinks it.
RED ALERT ! Bad For Joint Foods : Avoid these !
Sunflower, Safflower oil, corn oil, and soybean oil : These have Omega 6 which increases inflammation. In lot of cases a simple switch to olive oil and other nut oils brings relief and improvement in symptoms !
Sugar : Increases inflammation. Bonus to eating less sugar means less wt gain which in turn puts less pressure on the joints.
Supplements : Glucosamine, Chondroitin – strengthens joints and cartilage muscle . Can be taken as a preventive too. Another useful supplement is Omega 3 especially for those of us who cannot eat fish everyday. Both of these are on my daily supplement list . I am a huge Supplement junkie and will probably write a post about supplements sometime.
Hope you found this article interesting ! If you have some thoughts to share on any ‘ other than meds ‘remedies you have for arthritis please share ! Ease your creaky joints and keep them healthy by filling up on these super joint friendly foods !