Foods that Help with Arthritis Pain
July 19, 2016
By Anna Derhak, MS, LN
Have you ever wondered if there was a way to control and eliminate your arthritis pain through nutrition? Good news, there is! In fact arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints and cartilage. The inflammation leads to the cartilage becoming thin or absent in some places and degeneration of the joints. This obviously can be very painful and sometimes debilitating.
There are two main types of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which are caused by inflammation of the joints. They differ in that rheumatoid arthritis is considered to be an autoimmune disease whereas osteoarthritis is not. For a person with Rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system is attacking its own tissues, causing chronic inflammation of connective tissue, primarily in the joints. No matter what type of arthritis you have, food can help relieve to your pain!
Foods that alleviate arthritis pain
It all starts with lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, buffalo, venison, grass-fed beef, turkey and organic eggs. All of these sources of protein help reduce inflammation in the body, but also help rebuild and maintain the cartilage in your joints. Protein also helps the body heal itself. Take a look at your diet and make sure you are getting 4 oz. of healthy protein at each meal (6 oz. for men).
Not only is it delicious and satisfying, but it will also provide you with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are known for reducing inflammation all over the body.
Another powerful food group for reducing inflammation and arthritis pain is vegetables. When it comes to vegetables, you can never have too many. Vegetables are full of polyphenols, which are very potent antioxidants that help reduce inflammation (caused by free-radicals) in the body and protect you from cancer. Vegetables also contain high levels of vitamins—especially vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. You want to eat a wide variety of vegetables to get an abundance of these natural anti-inflammatories. Try Brussels sprouts or kale sautéed in butter. They are both delicious!
And last, but not least, are the inflammation-stopping healthy fats. The right fats can actually eliminate inflammation in the body. One fat in particular is coconut oil. Coconut oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and also for improving immune function (it has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties). Coconut oil can help lubricate the joints by keeping the cartilage hydrated with beneficial fat. Other healthy fats that reduce inflammation include avocados and olive oil. Monounsaturated fats like these are heart-healthy and beneficial for joints. So don't be afraid to put half an avocado on your salad with olive oil vinaigrette. A perfect combination for your joints!
Healthy proteins, nutrient-rich vegetables, and good fats are powerful in healing the body naturally and reducing the inflammation that causes arthritis pain.
Foods that contribute to arthritis pain
Although there are many great foods that can help alleviate your arthritis pain, there are also some foods that can increase inflammation and cause more pain. These foods include: gluten, soy, sugar and sometimes even dairy products. Try eliminating these foods completely from your diet and see how you feel.
Eating real foods can help you manage your arthritis, no matter what type you are battling! I have a client with psoriatic arthritis, another type of autoimmune joint disease. He has been able to eliminate all his medications (including methotrexate) and is managing his pain and inflammation through his balanced diet. Now if that doesn't give you hope, I don't know what will.