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Healthy Foods to Eat to Minimize the Pain and Discomfort of Arthritis

Like most people, when I was younger, I could eat almost anything. As I got older, I didn’t devote a lot of time thinking about what I ate. I was too busy with family, my career and the other important aspects of life. That has changed.

Arthritis has given me a whole new perspective. Food matters. I had to adopt a new diet that works for me. Some food actually can reduce inflammation in my arthritic knee and other joints. Who knew? 

My diet now includes a lot of citrus for vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. That’s particularly helpful if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). For those of you not fond of citrus, other foods big in vitamin C include green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green and red peppers, garlic and cabbage. Tomatoes have a surprising amount of C as does winter squash. Broccoli also has a lot of vitamin C along with sulforaphane, which blocks cells involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

My diet has shifted to include more fish, too. Salmon, for example, has a ton of omega-3, a fatty acid is proven to reduce swelling and joint pain while blocking enzymes that trigger pain. You can get omega-3 in other fish, too, such as herring, sardines, and anchovies. 

Fatty fish also contain vitamin D, which reduces swelling and subsequent soreness. So does skim milk. The sun also triggers vitamin D production. 

A natural chemical in extra virgin olive oil, called oleocanthal, stops your body from making enzymes that cause inflammation. An estimated three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil is equivalent of 10 percent of a dose of ibuprofen, so you need to eat a lot. Still, it’s been proven to arrest arthritis by reducing joint swelling, slowing cartilage destruction and decreasing inflammation.

Nuts, including walnuts and soybeans, have plenty of the good stuff, too. Canola oil is another great source. So are onions and leeks, which contain the antioxidant quercetin that stops inflammation much like aspirin and ibuprofen.

Some studies seem to indicate ginger can reduce swelling as well. You can test its effectiveness on your own without waiting for laboratory results. Turmeric, an Indian spice, is being studied, too, and also seems to help some people.

Berries are great anti-inflammatory food, too. They come filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, along with plant compounds quercetin and rutin. Quercetin, for example, blocks some of the inflammatory processes associated with arthritis.

Grapes are another really good fighter in the battle against arthritis. Not only are they high in antioxidants, but their skin also contains the antioxidant resveratrol which blocks the formation of rheumatoid arthritis cells. The little round fruits also provide a plant compound called proanthocyanidin, which also seems to aid against arthritis.

Unsweetened tart cherry juice is another food that’s been tested and reduces inflammation. 

Finally, whole grains found in some bread and pasta have selenium, a mineral essential in diets. Those of you with rheumatoid arthritis have lower levels in your blood. While selenium doesn’t work directly on arthritis, it has lots of benefits that help maintain the rest of your body. You can get it naturally by dining on oysters, halibut, eggs, chicken breast, yellowfin tuna, sunflower seeds, Shiitake mushrooms, Brazil nuts, and halibut.

Adding supplements that are known to help manage the pain and discomfort of arthritis is critical. Check out two main staples that are included in The Arthritis Health System’s core products.

Chow down. There’s plenty on this list to meet anyone’s taste, even someone like me who used to think a donut made a great breakfast.