Health - General
By: - at September 25, 2013

Top 15 Foods That Help Relieve Arthritis

Arthritis is known as the pain, inflammation, and the stiffening of joints. There are many different types of arthritis, and these various forms of arthritis affect the body in different ways. However, one common trait of all forms of arthritis is that they cause those who suffer from it an excruciating amount of pain. There are countless drugs out there to help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. What some people arenít aware of is that there are also several foods that can help manage, as well as prevent, different types of arthritis. Whether or not you already have arthritis, adding these foods to your diet can either help prevent or reduce the pain and inflammation associated with it.

arthritis

Foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids are great for people with arthritis. These foods contain different types of vitamins and minerals that slow down the production of the chemicals that cause pain and inflammation in the body. Many of the foods that are responsible for helping to decrease pain and inflammation can be purchased in local food stores and supermarkets. These foods are typically inexpensive, healthy, and taste great. If you have a green thumb, some of them you can even grow in your own backyard.


15)  Yogurt
Although known for its abilities to aid in supporting a healthy digestive tract, this probiotic-rich food also does its part to combat against arthritis pain. According to a report found in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, when consumed, the bacteria in yogurt caused a noticeable decrease in C-reactive protein levels found in the body. C-reactive proteins are known blood markers for inflammation. Eating yogurt decreases inflammation, and decreasing inflammation means decreasing pain. The helpful bacteria found in yogurt are also responsible for lowering the amount of cytokines produced in body chemicals that activate joint inflammation. Yogurt is also related to leveling glucose and insulin surges. These surges can cause various levels of inflammation in your arteries, but yogurt fights them by slowing down the digestion process.

Yogurt and Honey
yogurt and honey

Some types of yogurt may even contain vitamin D, which is an added benefit. There are many brands and flavors of yogurt to choose from, but be careful. You should choose unsweetened, plain, yogurt and avoid any yogurt that has added sugars, sweeteners, chemicals, and other additives. Selecting any of these yogurts will destroy the effectives of the good bacteria found in yogurt and will not aid in fighting the painful symptoms of arthritis.


14)  Ginger
Ginger is a popular spice used in everything from savory and spicy dishes to delicious desserts. It is also an extremely powerful aid used for fighting the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Gingerols and phytonutrients are substances that fight pain and inflammation in the body, and ginger contains dozens of these potent substances. Studies found in the Journal of Medicine and Food suggest that the effects of using ginger to combat arthritis pain and inflammation is similar to the effects of taking NSAIDís such as Motrin, Aleve, Advil, and other related drugs. Like NSAIDs, ginger inhibits certain genes and enzymes that contribute to pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Ginger can be used and prepared in various ways.

Raw, Powdered, and Grated Ginger
Raw, Powdered, and Grated Ginger

You can purchase it fresh or as a powder to add flavor to your favorite soups, chilies, or other dishes. You can even chop and boil fresh ginger to prepare your very own homemade ginger tea. Not only is ginger a powerful spice used to tackle arthritis pain and inflammation, it is also contains hundreds of minerals and nutrients that can be used for digestive issues. In fact, studies show that ginger may also be helpful for combating nausea and even migraine headaches.


13)  Carrots
Youíve probably heard that carrots are good for your vision all of your life, but did you also know that carrots can combat that harmful effects of arthritis? Carrots are full of both vitamin A and beta-carotene, the pigment that gives a carrot its color. Both vitamin A and beta-carotene are heavily believed to combat inflammation, and if prepared correctly, cooked carrots provide even more of these compounds. Carrots are known for their orange color, but if you happen to spot some purple carrots at the supermarket, grab them!

Seemingly Strange, Purple Carrots Are Amazing for Combating Arthritis Pain
Seemingly Strange, Purple Carrots Are Amazing for Combating Arthritis Pain

Purple carrots have almost thirty times the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant levels of the orange carrots, according to Sky News. Carrots are inexpensive, easily accessible, and a definite plus for arthritis suffers. They can be prepared in hundreds of meals and even some desserts. Add shredded carrots to your salad, use them in stew, roast them, eat them raw, or add them to a quiche. If you donít like the texture of carrots, you can even juice them to make carrot juice. In the mood for something sweet? Try mini carrot cakes or carrot-walnut cookies. Remember to make sure that the desserts you choose do not counteract the helpful pain and inflammation fighting properties of the carrots, though.


12)  Green Tea
Green tea is becoming more and more popular all over the world. This delicious tea can be prepared at home or purchased in stores. You can get a bottle of ice cold green tea, or you can enjoy the flavor and fragrance of hot green tea while sipping it from your favorite mug. Scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School claim that a certain compound in green tea may lower joint damage, inflammation, and pain associated with arthritis. A natural antioxidant by the name of epigallocatechin-3-gallate is found in green tea, and that is why green tea is so effective for arthritis sufferers. The antioxidants contained in green tea work to lower the production of certain chemicals found in the body that produce arthritis inflammation.

Loose Green Tea
Loose Green Tea

Some studies even suggest that these antioxidants combined with other substances in tea may do their part in preventing the breakdown of cartilage, extending and preserving the joints longer. Green tea is extremely accessible. You can buy it prepackaged in tea bags or in loose tea leaf form. You can purchase plain green tea, or try one of the hundreds of flavors that many supermarkets and specialty stores have to offer. Some tea stores even allow you to sample the tea before you buy it and sell it by weight, allowing you to buy just a little bit of tea or a whole bunch if it is to your liking.


11)  Sweet Potatoes
Already healthier than the white potato, the sweet potato is a great food for arthritis sufferers. Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, a nutrient found in many different fruits and vegetables. These carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that help to fight pain and inflammation associated with different types of arthritis. Like carrots, sweet potatoes have certain beta-carotenes that, when eaten, supply the body with minerals and other nutrients that fend off pain and inflammation. Sweet potatoes are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased at local supermarkets, or generally anywhere where a variety of produce and vegetables are sold. Sweet potatoes can be cooked in numerous ways. Instead of consuming French fries all of the time, give sweet potato fries a try instead.

Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet Potato Fries

For an even healthier tip, prepare them in the oven instead of the deep fryer. Have a baked sweet potato instead of a russet potato. In the mood for something sweet? Make yourself a serving of candied yams. Make sure to use sugars, sweetener, or any other added ingredient sparingly. You want to absorb the minerals and nutrients of the sweet potato and too many added sugars will lessen the effect. If youíre worried about starch, sweet potatoes are said to be a friendly type of starch, and best of all, theyíre tasty.


10)  Olive Oil
You can enjoy the benefits of reducing the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis with something that is probably already in your kitchen. Olive oil contains tons of monounsatured fats (the healthy ones), but it also contains oleocanthal, a natural compound that may aid in preventing inflammation related to arthritis. Much like ginger, olive oil contains compounds that block inflammatory pain in a similar manner as NSAIDs. Many arthritis suffers have claimed to feel some relief from pain after eating foods prepared with olive oil.

olive oil pouring

Not only is olive oil great for fighting the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, itís also tasty and much lighter and healthier than using butter or vegetable oils. You can use olive oil to enhance the flavors of your favorite dishes or dipping sauces. You can also use it in addition to other foods used to fight arthritis pain. Even though olive oil is better for you than other oils, use it sparingly if youíre trying to lose weight, as it is high in calories. If you want olive oil with the highest amount of antioxidants, select extra virgin olive oil and enjoy its stronger flavor.





9)  Oranges
Oranges and other fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of vitamin C, are great foods for combating the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Vitamin C is a nutrient that supports collagen, and collagen is found in cartilage. If you have a diet rich in vitamin C, you have a better chance of increasing the health of collagen, strengthening your bodyís cartilage. While oranges can be used in preparation of several dishes and desserts, you should consider eating them whole or drinking natural orange juice to preserve the flavor, vitamins, and minerals found in oranges.

fresh organic oranges on tree

Donít like oranges? You are still in luck. There are several other foods that you can eat that are high in vitamin C. These foods include: bell peppers, broccoli, papayas, kidney beans, kiwi, and pineapples. Choose a food rich in vitamin C as a healthy alternative to a sugary snack. Oranges and other foods containing high amounts vitamin C also have other health benefits. Not only does vitamin C help combat the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, it also helps aids in the support of the absorption of iron. Healthy teeth, gums, and a stronger immune system are just some of the effects of adding more vitamin C to your diet.


8)  Kale
Kale is a dark, leafy vegetable with green or purple leaves that can be purchased fresh from the produce aisle. Though the genetic makeup of kale is similar to collard and spring greens, the taste of kale is quite different. Kale contains plenty of vitamins and minerals that have been known to alleviate some of the pain and inflammation associated with certain types of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis. Kale contains a high amount of vitamin C and has a high concentration of beta-carotene. Kale is full of powerful antioxidants and supports a healthier cardiovascular system by lowering the levels of cholesterol found in your body.

Kale With Pine Nuts and Cranberries
Kale With Pine Nuts and Cranberries

Kale is also high in iron, which supports healthy hemoglobin and carries oxygen throughout your body. Vitamin K and vitamin A are found in kale, which can help prevent some forms of cancer, prevent blood clots, and supports the health of your vision and skin. Eating kale helps lower your chance of inflammation and fights not only against arthritis, but autoimmune disorders as well as asthma. This flavorful leafy vegetable is high in calcium, low in calories, and considered to be a great food for detoxing your body. Best of all, itís inexpensive and can be used in various types of dishes from salads to casseroles.


7)  Spinach
Popeye must have known the secrets of spinach because this flowering plant is chock-full of helpful benefits, especially to those who suffer from arthritis pain and inflammation. Spinach contains plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help to slow down or stop the molecules that destroy tissue and cartilage of arthritis sufferers. It contains certain fatty acids that help to ease the pain and inflammation of arthritis. It reacts to the body much in the same way as NSAIDs like aspirin, reliving the pain caused from arthritis without the worry of the risk of internal bleeding or other bodily damage like liver and kidney damage commonly associated with taking NSAIDs.

Spinach and Avocado Salad
Spinach and Avocado Salad

Spinach contains plenty of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, all of which also aid in alleviating the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Spinach also contains heaps of vitamin K, which works to lower the pain in the joints. You can grow spinach in your home garden or purchase it from local stores and markets. There are plenty of ways to prepare spinach, from salads to more complicated dishes. If youíre buying fresh spinach, remember to put it in your refrigerator's crisper to preserve the vitamins and nutrients of the vegetable. If left sitting too long, spinach begins to leech away its nutrients, including many of its pain and inflammation fighting antioxidants


6)  Berries
There are several health benefits that come from adding berries to your diet. Berries contain antioxidants that help fight off illness and pain. There are many different minerals and nutrients found in berries, and eating foods that contain lots of antioxidants can aid in keeping you healthy. Even your hair and skin can benefit from the natural health properties of eating berries. Some of the antioxidants found in berries include anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help to reduce inflammation from arthritis. Berries are full of vitamin C. Vitamin C supports the health of collagen, which supports the health and cartilage as well as the flexibility of joints. Eating berries can help lower the risk and effects of arthritis, and even the incidence of cataracts.

assorted berries

If youíre looking to lose weight, adding berries to your diet is a great idea. Berries contain mostly water, which after consumed, help to fill you up quicker. They also contain lots of fiber, which aids in the support of a healthy digestive tract. Some of the berries that help to lower the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and boysenberries. Most berries are easy to find in your local supermarkets. They can be used for baking, cooking, juicing, or can be eaten whole.


5)  Cantaloupe
The cantaloupe is a delicious and flavorful fruit that contains carotenoids, which are known for their potent antioxidants. Cantaloupe also contains beta-carotene, which works to fight the pain and inflammation that many arthritis sufferers face. This fleshy fruit has a distinct pale orange color and a natural sweetness that does over power your taste buds. Both vitamin C and vitamin A can be found in cantaloupes, aiding the support of a healthy immune and cardiovascular system. While easily accessible, the freshness of a cantaloupe doesnít last forever.

Cantaloupe

Some cantaloupes keep their flavor and nutrients for up to two weeks, but others only lasts a few days. You can purchase cantaloupe either whole or in packaged slices. If purchasing a whole cantaloupe, make sure to introduce it into your diet every day to avoid losing some of the powerful inflammatory fighting antioxidants within its shell. Cantaloupes typically grow in warm, tropical areas. Therefore, depending on where you live, you may find it a little more difficult to find them during certain seasons.


4)  Sunflower Seeds
Many of us know what sunflowers are, but did you know that sunflower seeds contain numerous health benefits for people suffering from the pain and inflammation of arthritis? Sunflower seeds are inexpensive and easily obtainable regardless of the season. They contain powerful agents that help to control the damage of cells and help to prevent several different forms of cancer due to the fact that they contain selenium, which fights cancer. Sunflower seeds also contain minerals that support the strengthening and health of bones. Copper and magnesium are both found in sunflower seeds as well as vitamin E, which have compounds that help to reduce the inflammation of arthritis and support healthy skin.

sunflower seeds

But itís not just arthritis pain and inflammation that sunflower seeds combat. Other painful disorders such as gastric ulcers and asthma are also lowered when you add sunflower seeds to your diet. Finally, sunflower seeds can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol, preventing it from clogging up your artery walls and helping to lower your risk of heart attacks. Add sunflower seeds to your salad, add them to sandwiches, or mix them in your granola.


3)  Salmon
Salmon is one of the richest forms of fats that are healthy for you. It is a great source for the ever healthy and popular omega-3 fatty acid. Its chances of containing high traces of toxic mercury that can be found in other types of fish are also slim to none. Along with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon also contains vitamins such as vitamin D as well as calcium. The nutrients found in salmon work to combat the pain and inflammation of arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. You can support a healthy cardiovascular system, lowering your risk of dangerous blood clots and artery damage, by adding salmon to your diet. Eating salmon also does its part in decreasing blood pressure.

Salmon Steak
Salmon Steak

Salmon may be a little more difficult and expensive than some of the other foods mentioned. You must take caution when purchasing salmon from supermarkets. Make sure to check for expiration dates of fresh salmon. Salmon should never be slimy to the touch and should be prepared quickly to avoid spoiling. While salmon is good for you, if youíre trying to lose weight, it is also full of calories. Make sure to eat it sparingly and when you do, and make sure not use additives that will only add more calories. Salmon can be prepared several different ways and tastes wonderful.


2)  Flaxseed
Flaxseeds are a tiny seeds with huge health benefits. Like salmon, flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that combat inflammatory and pain caused from arthritis. The omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed help your body to manufacture prostaglandins, which decrease inflammation and pain. They also help your body to produce its own natural anti-inflammatory compounds known as resolvins. The nutrients found in flaxseed contain selenium and zinc, which fight the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Flaxseeds help to support and strengthen the body and its connective tissue because of the amount copper they contain. This copper aids in manufacturing certain ligaments and tendons that cushion the joints.

flaxseeds

Some studies show that people who suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis have less inflammatory pain when their diets included foods with lots of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds fight against cancer, help to regulate blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. While flaxseeds definitely help to fight off the pain and inflammation of arthritis, you must use caution when adding them to your diet. Flax can interact with and counteract certain drugs, and is also a natural blood thinner. Make sure to speak with your doctor if youíre on certain medications before adding flaxseeds to your diet.


1)  Rosemary
Rosemary is a type of herb that is often seen in cooking and different types of aromatic fragrances such as air fresheners, candles, and soaps. There are several different uses for rosemary, but one of the best uses is to combat inflammation and pain of arthritis. Rosmarinic acid is found in rosemary and rosmarinic acid seems to help reduce some of the painful symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Rosemary

The rosmarinic acid found in rosemary also has powerful antioxidants that fight the inflammation of joints. There are several different ways to use rosemary when trying to fight off pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. You can use rosemary to flavor meats and fish. You can also add it to different types of sauces or fruits, especially citrus ones. If you prefer, purchase or make your own rosemary tea.


Final Thoughts
The foods listed here are just a few of the foods that can help to relive the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. There are countless ways to prepare the foods mentioned here and other foods that help reduce pain and inflammation. Start with the foods that already appeal with you, and experiment with different meals and snacks using them. Be sure to try some of the other foods, though. You may be surprised by what pleases your palate and eases your pain the most.


 

 

 

 

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