When it comes to osteo or rheumatoid arthritis pain, remember that every pound of weight you lose relieves four pounds of pressure from your joints. And, while you’re dieting, you can do even more to help your joints by incorporating foods known for their anti-inflammatory properties into your meal plan.
- Pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes contain Carotenoids – ie. they’re orange. When your body eats orange, it converts the plant pigment into Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that fights joint discomfort (and cancer!).
- Avocado, nuts, and wild salmon are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Omega-3s reduce swelling and discomfort in the joints, while vitamin E helps with healing.
- Grapefruit, papaya, oranges, and mangoes are rich in Vitamin C. A study from Duke University shows that the right amount of Vitamin C reduces risk of rheumatoid arthritis. However, too much vitamin C accelerates joint damage from osteoarthritis. The USDA recommends 75mg per day for women and 90mg per day for men as the happy medium between the two extremes.
- Brazil nuts, salmon, oatmeal and brown rice all contain selenium, a trace mineral that we don’t need a lot of, but deficiencies can lead to major problems. Surveys indicate that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers tend to have lower selenium levels in their blood. Selenium may reduce arthritis symptoms by controlling levels of free radicals. Skip the pricey supplement and eat one Brazil nut a day. It’s that easy.
- Turmeric, the yellow spice that gives curry powder its color, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that Ayurvedic healers have used for centuries to relieve arthritis pain. Other curry spices, like ginger, work well with turmeric to further reduce inflammation, so try out that new Indian restaurant around the corner!
Just like there are foods that reduce inflammation, there are foods that increase it. Refined carbohydrates, like those in breads, muffins, and packaged cereals – anything using white flour and/or sugar – will increase your inflammation. This includes sweetened fruit juice, beer, wine, soda, and sweet tea!