The term “arthritis” covers more than 200 types of conditions that affect the joints and surrounding tissues. Though arthritis is generally assumed to affect older people, it can affect people of all age groups. Though there is no single known cause of arthritis, it may be caused due to an injury, abnormal metabolism, inherited genes, bacterial/viral infections, or certain types of immune system dysfunction. According to the Center for Disease Control, this painful and debilitating condition affects more than one in every four people in the country.
Inflammation and arthritis
Inflammation is the body’s defense against anything that harms it, like infections or diseases. It attempts to heal itself in this bid, but specialists say that the inflammation caused by arthritis damages healthy tissues, ligaments, tendons and joints, causing pain, swelling and mobility issues.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s own immune system begins attacking connective tissues around the joints, leading to severe pain and degeneration.
Foods to fight inflammation
Modifiable factors like weight-loss in case of obesity, avoiding certain occupations/activities that put excessive strain on the joints, and avoiding smoking help alleviate the symptoms. Another very effective method of managing this condition is through a healthy diet. Food and nutrition management can help manage many types of the condition, especially gout. Some of the top foods to help manage the pain caused by arthritis and alleviate the symptoms can be found easily in your kitchen, pantry, or the nearest supermarket.
Traditional medicine has always prescribed dietary changes for the management of pain due to arthritis. Some foods tend to aggravate inflammation, while others help reduce it, so introducing changes in your diet accordingly can help alleviate the pain and other symptoms. Several studies reveal that following the Mediterranean diet can significantly lower inflammation as it emphasizes the consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruit and vegetables, and fish. Also, it recommends moderate consumption of dairy products and wine and low consumption of meat. Some of the top foods that can help you to manage pain and inflammation due to arthritis are mentioned here:
- Beans and legumes as they are rich in folic acid, magnesium, iron, and potassium
- Whole grains and cereals instead of processed alternatives like oats, brown rice/bread, and quinoa
- Spices like turmeric and ginger
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, soybeans, and flaxseeds
- Fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and lean meat
- Vitamin C supplements or fruits like kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, melon, apples, and tart cherry
- Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, artichokes, sweet potato, dark greens like kale, spinach and collard, garlic, onions, and leeks
- Green tea, smoothies, fresh juices, yogurt, and herbal teas
- Olive oil as it’s a rich source of healthy fats
- Dark chocolate as it’s rich in antioxidants and boosts heart health as well
It’s important to make a meal plan that includes these top foods to manage arthritis pain, maintain healthy body weight, and ensure that you get regular exercise and the right amount of sleep.