While many people tend to think that arthritis is not a diet-related condition, it is well-known that what we eat impacts our health, our joints included. What’s more, getting old shouldn’t mean a life with pain. Therefore, if you’ve just been diagnosed with arthritis or you’re more into the prevention mindset, there are some steps to take in order to keep this condition at bay or reduce its symptoms.
Even if there is no diet cure for arthritis, a healthy and balanced eating plan that includes vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains will improve your overall health and that will directly impact your joint health. Eating foods that will fight inflammation, support your immune system, and strengthen your bones should help you prevent or cope with arthritis.
Here are a few foods you might want to make part of your eating habits in order to enjoy stronger bones and immunity, healthier joints, and, thus, improved overall health.
Make fish part of your diet
There are many conditions that fall into the arthritis category and some of them might benefit from the fatty acids found in fish. Consuming fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel is recommended for rheumatoid arthritis since they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation.
Health care experts recommend 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week. Therefore, try to add such foods to your eating habits in order to reduce inflammation and, thus, alleviate arthritis symptoms caused by it.
Not a fish buff? Try soy!
If you’re not that keen on fish yet you still want to diversify your diet with foods that will help you fight inflammation, you might want to try the heart-healthy soybeans. Having tofu or edamame on a regular basis won’t just help you enjoy the inflammation-busting benefits of omega-3 fatty acids but will also provide you with the necessary proteins and fibers you need to support your health.
They are also low in fat and make a great food for rheumatoid arthritis. Plus, soybeans can be cooked in many ways, so there is a variety of recipes you can choose from in order to enjoy culinary novelties using the same ingredients.
… and oils!
In order to supplement your intake of heart-healthy fats, you can also opt for oils. Extra virgin olive oil is known for being rich in such fats and providing benefits similar to the ones delivered by non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. There are many recipes including this oil, so introducing it in your diet is nothing complicated.
In case you want more diversity, you can also try avocado and safflower oils as they can lower the bad cholesterol, or walnut oil since it contains 10 times the omega-3s you find in olive oil. Using oils as the ones just mentioned is great and recommended for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Don’t give up on dairy
One of the things to focus on when it comes to preventing arthritis is bone health. Eating foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D is, thus, essential in fighting various forms of arthritis. Vitamin D is needed for good calcium absorption and is essential for supporting the immune system.
Calcium is essential as far as bone health is concerned. Weak bones are prone to breaking more easily and they will, thus, contribute to the development of arthritis and joint pain. A senior multivitamin product is great but it’s best to try to meet your nutritional needs by having a balanced and healthy diet.
Therefore, you might want to try low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you’re not that much into dairy, though, you can supplement your calcium and vitamin D intake by having leafy green vegetables. The use of low-fat dairy and such vegetables is recommended for osteoarthritis. It can also be part of osteoporosis treatments.
Go green with broccoli and tea
Besides being a rich source of vitamins K and C, broccoli is also an excellent provider of sulforaphane, a compound researchers think could help prevent osteoarthritis or slow its progression. Furthermore, the calcium it contains will support bone health, which is essential in keeping such conditions at bay or reducing their development.
And since we’re at the green goodies section, we would also recommend a cup of green tea now and then. The antioxidants this tea contains, polyphenols, are believed to have inflammation-fighting properties and reduce cartilage destruction.
Research studies have concluded that the EGCG antioxidants green tea contains can inhibit the production of the molecules that cause joint damage in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Don’t forget about grains
Whole grains come with many benefits, some of them directly affecting certain types of arthritis. Such foods are appreciated for lowering the C-reactive protein in the blood, a marker of inflammation that is usually associated with rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.
Making them part of your eating habits is thus a wise thing to do. Diversify your eating routine with oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, and rice to enjoy such health benefits.
Before introducing any of the foods mentioned above into your diet, it is essential to see your healthcare expert or dietitian in order to get a custom-made eating plan as, otherwise, you can limit your food intake unnecessarily or have too much of certain foods, and that can have a negative impact on your health.
Also, taking supplements without the consent of a doctor might interact with your condition and lead to unpleasant reactions.
A healthy diet should be coupled, experts say, with sports activities suited for your fitness level, even if they’re low-intensity ones. It is believed that the human body is made to be in motion and being physically active will help you enjoy a healthy weight, which will directly affect your bone and joint health. It is always best to prevent than to treat. So, you might want to revisit your diet and buy some quality senior exercise equipment instead.