Arthritis can be very painful and limit your mobility and dexterity, so anything you can do to ease the symptoms of inflammation and pain can be helpful. Pain Stop Clinics are committed to helping people safely find pain relief free from the potentially harmful effects of extensive opioid use. One of the tools that helps with arthritis symptoms is adjusting your diet to include foods that help fight inflammation and improve joint symptoms.
There are many benefits to your overall health in eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and beans, but low in processed foods and saturated fat. This type of diet is the basis of the Mediterranean diet.
Studies show the following benefits from eating foods common in the Mediterranean diet:
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Protects against chronic conditions, from stroke to cancer
- Reduces inflammation
- Benefits joints and heart
- Assists in maintaining healthy weight, which is easier on the joints
Key foods from the Mediterranean diet that that assistance with good joint health:
Eating a minimum of 3 to 4 ounces of fish a week provides inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, if you choose salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, anchovies, scallops, or other cold-water fish. If you do not like fish you can take 600 to 1,000 mg of fish oil supplements to ease joint stiffness, pain, and inflammation.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are filled with monounsaturated fat, a great anti-inflammatory. Even though nuts are high in fat and calories, they still promote weight loss because they are so filling and contain protein and fiber. Eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, or almonds daily can reduce inflammation, and losing weight can relieve pressure on the joints.
Fruits and Vegetables
Antioxidants are the body’s natural defense system; they neutralize free radical molecules that damage cells. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants. The darker and brilliant color fruits and vegetables carry more antioxidants, like blueberries, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, and limes are loaded with Vitamin C which also helps prevent inflammation and maintain healthy joints. Vegetables rich in Vitamin K, like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale, and cabbage also reduce inflammatory markers in the blood.
Your goal should be nine or more servings per day of fruit and vegetables. A serving equals one cup of fruit or vegetables, except raw leafy greens are two cups.
Oleocanthal inhibits COX enzymes which suppress the body’s inflammatory processes and reduce pain sensitivity. Olive oil is loaded with oleocanthal and heart healthy fats. Look for extra virgin olive oil, as it undergoes less refining and processing, which means it retains more nutrients. Avocado and sunflower oil offer more cholesterol lowering health benefits and walnut oil is rich in omega-3s, those inflammation fighting fatty acids we discussed in fish.
Beans are high in fiber and phytonutrients, which helps lower CRP, an inflammation indicator found in the blood. Small red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans also provide a lot of antioxidants and protein, good for inflammation and muscle health. Your goal should be a minimum of one cup of beans twice a week.
Fiber rich foods like whole grains lower CRP and help you to maintain a healthy weight. When looking for breads or flour, look for whole grains, made with the entire grain kernel. Some examples are whole wheat flour, oatmeal, bulgur, brown rice, and quinoa. Six ounces of grains per day is the goal, with at least three being from whole grains.
Nightshade Vegetables (Helpful or Not?)
Eggplant, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and potatoes are known as nightshade vegetables. While they have lots of nutrition for minimal calories, they also have solanine, what many people think causes arthritis pain. Others believe their potent mix of nutrients inhibits arthritis pain. You can test it for yourself by eliminating them from your diet for a few weeks, then slowly add them back in one at a time and watch for arthritis pain flares.
Changing your diet to include all the above will not only help to bring you pain relief and reduce your arthritis symptoms but will improve your overall health. The pain doctors at Pain Stop Clinics encourage you to follow the above healthy diet recommendations to improve your overall well-being.