Arthritis causes pain, stiffness and inflammation for as many as 3.85 million Australians. While there’s no special diet or miracle superfood that can cure arthritis overnight, there is evidence to suggest that changing your diet can help alleviate the condition.
Avoid inflammatory foods and products
Generally, eating a well-balanced diet that includes fruit, vegetables, protein, dairy, cereals, and grains can help you stay healthier whether you have arthritis or not. However, cutting out certain foods that are inflammatory could also be beneficial for those with arthritis. Inflammatory foods include fried and processed foods; heated, grilled, fried, or pasteurised foods; and sugars and refined carbohydrates.
Alcohol and tobacco are also to be avoided, along with salt, preserves, corn oil and other high omega-6 oils. For those with gout, it’s a good idea to avoid foods that contain purines, such as meat, seafood, and foods containing yeast.
Should you avoid nightshade foods?
While some experts suggest nightshade foods (such as tomatoes and eggplants) won’t affect your arthritis, others suggest they could have an impact. Some nightshade vegetables – including red bell peppers and potatoes – have nutritional profiles matching some superfoods, but they contain solanine, a chemical that some suggest could trigger arthritis pain. If you’re concerned, you could eliminate these from your diet temporarily to see if they impact your pain, but always seek professional advice first.
Eat fresh wholefoods
A diet focused on whole foods,such as the Mediterranean diet, is likely the best option for those with arthritis. This type of diet can not only reduce inflammation, it can also help you maintain a healthy weight range, assisting with improving joint pain in those who are overweight or obese.
Numerous studies also suggest it’s a good idea to include beans, whole grains, and healthy fats such as olive oil to your diet. Incorporate lots of colourful vegetables and fruits, including red and purple fruits, citrus fruits, andvitamin K-rich options such as spinach, broccoli, and kale.
Green tea is also linked to reduced inflammation and slowing of cartilage destruction, and garlic and onions could also reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.
Omega-3 fats are associated with a reduction in the inflammation associated with some forms of arthritis. While the impact of adding omega 3s might be modest compared to medication, these good fats can boost general overall health.
Experts recommend eating at least two servings of oily fish a week, for the omega-3 benefits. If you don’t get enough omega-3 fats in your diet, try eating more nuts and seeds, or taking fish oil or other supplements. You can also enjoy omega-3-fortified foods, such as margarines, cereals, and yoghurt drinks to boost your omega-3 intake.
Calcium and vitamin D
Calcium-rich foods such as dairy, nuts, seeds, and fish can help if you have arthritis. Getting a moderate, safe amount of sunlight is important for vitamin D, as is eating oily fish and vitamin-D-fortified foods such as cereals.
Address other risk factors
Make the most of your dietary changes by also addressing the other risk factors for arthritis. Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic conditions and diseases, as well as allowing you to build stronger bones, muscles, and joints.
Exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness, and weight-bearing exercises can enable you maintain a healthy bone mass. Exercising can also help you to avoid the increased risk of arthritis and inflammation that comes with being overweight.
Using diet and exercise to combat arthritis
Diet and other lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on arthritis. By eating more whole foods and eliminating processed and inflammatory foods from your diet, you can reduce the risk of developing arthritis or reduce the severity of its symptoms. Always check with your doctor if you have any questions or doubts.
Disclaimer: The Herron blog is interested in general community wellbeing and information, and does not imply that Herron products should be used for serious ailments without the advice or recommendation from your healthcare practitioner.All information presented on the Herron website is meant for general knowledge and never meant as a diagnosis of prescription. Please always contact your doctor for health related matters.