On any given day, the health condition that keeps the largest number of people sitting on the sidelines is the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Have you ever felt stiffness in your knee joints or perhaps pain in your upper back? That could very well be one form of the 100 different types of arthritis. Arthritis loves to live in your body’s joints, right where your two bones meet.
Arthritis can damage the cartilage, which is a shock absorber that helps you bend and move easily. Cartilage is your bone and joint’s best friend; If arthritis gets in the way, it keeps cartilage from giving that much-needed cushion. As we age, the cartilage between your bones can start to wear away. When the cartilage is worn away, the bones start rubbing against each other, causing pain and stiffness, even swelling. The most common type of arthritis that occurs in young and older people is Osteoarthritis.
Unfortunately, arthritis cannot be cured. However, with the right treatment, it is possible to keep it from getting worse and allow you to get your flexibility back. It’s always best to consult with your doctor for the right treatment plan specific to your arthritis.
It is also possible to ease the pain and perhaps prevent arthritis, if it’s early enough, by making the right food choices. Food is everything. Certain foods can reduce pain and joint inflammation. Eating a healthy diet and incorporating these specific foods can help ease arthritis pain.
Here are 4 foods to try for an anti-arthritis diet
1. Green Vegetables
Green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, kale, swiss chard, and bok choy are all packed with antioxidants that protect the cells from free-radical damage. These vegetables have vitamins A, C, and K, and are filled with calcium for your bones. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, and cauliflower also have a natural ingredient called sulforaphane, which blocks the inflammatory process and can slow down cartilage damage in some forms of arthritis.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Fish
Did you know that fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are rich in omega 3-fatty acids, which help fight inflammation? Eating fatty fish can also boost your heart health. When you’re at the store buying your omega 3 fatty fish, try choosing the wild-caught fish, whenever possible.
3. Garlic, Onions, Leeks, and Shallots
These strong, potent, but flavorful vegetables all have antioxidants that relieve inflammation in some forms of arthritis. Have you ever heard of garlic as the cure for many health conditions? This is true because garlic contains an ingredient called dallul disulfide, and this can help with arthritis, as well as numerous other diseases. Garlic is part of the allium family, which includes onions and leeks. However, garlic seems to be the natural treatment of choice and has been proven to be effective in relieving inflammation.
4. Cherry Juice
There is something special about this red tart juice. Have you heard of anthocyanin? This is the magic ingredient found in cherries that helps with joint symptoms. Anthocyanins are also anti-inflammatory compounds that can help combat arthritis and some chronic diseases. Drinking two 8-ounce bottles of tart cherry juice per day for 6 weeks can significantly improve mobility, stiffness, and pain.
Other Foods to Avoid
There are some foods that should be avoided in order to avoid irritating arthritis. Did you know that eating some of these foods can really aggravate the pain in your joints? Foods such as eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, and most peppers can all increase arthritis pain. Foods high in fat, such as saturated and trans fats can also irritate and aggravate arthritis. Fried foods, packaged foods, and processed meats should all be avoided. Not only do they make arthritis symptoms worse, but they can also lead to weight gain. Sugary sodas are also a no-no. Not only are sodas bad for you, but they contain a lot of sugar. Consuming a lot of sugary soda can cause more pain, and stiffness in your joints. Sugary drinks can also cause arthritis, especially in the knees, to get worse.
Helpful Tips for People Living With Arthritis
Along with eating a healthy diet full of veggies, omega-3 fatty acids, garlic, and vitamin C, there are helpful tips that are important to follow if you are living with arthritis pain. Sleeping is important- getting at least 8 hours of sleep is important for your joints to rest. Lower your stress level or lose weight if needed. Extra weight can also cause joint pain. Make sure you move around and change up your position often so your joints don’t get stiff. Avoid those positions that cause you pain. If it hurts to bend your knees, sit in a different position or add a footrest to help alleviate the pain. Make sure you’re taking vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E and C.
Taking a vitamin C supplement every day can help with arthritis in your knees. Vitamin C is not only good for your immune system, but it also helps fight infections and joint inflammation. When your immune system is weak and attacks joints, it can cause Rheumatoid arthritis. Normally, your body’s immune system fights off illness, and taking vitamin C regularly does help strengthen your immune system. However, a weakened immune system can affect people of all ages. Genetics and hormones can also play a role, as well as viral or staph infections. Strengthening your immune system is key. In some cases, taking vitamin supplements such as vitamin C and calcium will help with preventive health, and you may be less likely to develop arthritis if taken daily and early on.
There are also creams to help ease the pain of arthritic joints. Because there is no cure for arthritis, getting the right treatment and eating the right anti-inflammatory foods will help with chronic pain. The best way to combat arthritis is to really take care of yourself. Make sure you speak with your doctor about over-the-counter pain relievers, low-impact exercise, strength training, and stretching, and perhaps physical therapy. Remember to eat the right veggies, fatty fish, garlic, and cherry juice to help alleviate pain. Heat, ice, and massage are also very beneficial and feel good on those arthritic joints.