Many of us have felt the pain, stiffness and loss of mobility that comes with arthritis. The feeling can range from a dull ache to debilitating pain. There are over 100 different types of arthritis – all with varying symptoms, causes and treatments – and while many of the treatments offer some relief, there are other steps that can be taken to help lessen the effect arthritis has on your daily life.
As we have learned more recently, what you put into your body daily has a huge impact on your overall health and on more specific symptoms of certain ailments. This can prove true for many of the different forms of arthritis. So, let’s look at five foods that help minimize the pain associated with arthritis
Momma always said you had to eat your vegetables, and with good reason! Eating vegetables has a measurable benefit to your overall health. In terms of arthritis, certain greens can be incredibly beneficial. We are speaking specifically about broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
That’s right, a trifecta of greenery packed with a pretty awesome compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is known to help slow the damage done to the cartilage in joints caused by osteoporosis, as found in a 2013 study. While it’s still a little early to call this a “can’t miss” finding, adding more veggies to your diet is never a bad thing.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: fish is a good and healthy choice. Yup, we’ve been hearing it for years, fish is awesome! In this case, it’s about the fattier varieties like salmon, trout, mackerel and, of course, tuna. These fatty fish are bursting with omega-3 fatty acids, which is one of the best naturally occurring substances when it comes fighting inflammation and, therefore, arthritis. Those who don’t have a taste for fish can consider taking an omega-3 supplement in order to get all the benefits without the fishy taste.
Is there anything that garlic can’t do? It’s a staple of cooking all over the world; it’s incredible for your immune system; and it can ward off vampires. All right, so maybe only two of those three are fact-based.
What is proven is that garlic is a member of the allium family alongside onions and leeks. This incredible group of foods contain a compound called diallyl disulfide. According to clinical professor at the University of Texas, Scott Zashin, who also happens to be an MD and rheumatologist, “This compound may have some effect in limiting cartilage-damaging enzymes.”
As we’ve already established, you save the cartilage, you reduce the inflammation and ease the symptoms of arthritis.
When it comes to the fight against inflammation, one of the best-researched weapons is a spice, not a food. That spice is turmeric, which contains a compound called curcumin that, according to a 2012 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, “could be beneficial in the management of chronic inflammatory-related joint disease.”
That’s the recent research on turmeric, but for centuries the people of India have been using the aromatic spice to treat inflammatory diseases, and it’s a critical ingredient in many Indian foods, including curries.
Not a food, per se, but what it lacks in taste, it more than makes up for in its inflammation-fighting ability and, in particular, fighting osteoarthritis. A study done in 2011 at the University of South Florida found that people who took vitamin C supplements were 11 per cent less likely to develop osteoarthritis in the knee that those who didn’t.
Thankfully, there are more delicious ways to get your vitamin C than just through supplements. Oranges, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe and kiwi all contain high amounts of vitamin C. If you go the supplement route, however, note that it’s not recommended to take supplements with more than 85 milligrams as large doses of vitamin C can increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
Cherries are not only delicious, they also contain anthocyanin. A 2013 study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage found that subjects who drank tart cherry juice found improvements in pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis.
Arthritis can cause pain, inflammation and stiffness and, let’s face it, no one wants to live like that. While adjusting your diet isn’t going to be a cure-all, adding these foods to your diet – and following the advice of your doctor – can help manage or minimize your pain.
Lorne Marr is a fitness enthusiast and blogger. Visit his site at http://lornemarrfitafter45.ca