According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 20% of Americans suffer from some form of arthritis. Painful, inflamed joints are not pleasant. However, there are many ways to treat arthritis and reduce pain. There are also many claims about diets that help manage arthritis. Some are proven while others are not supported by any evidence.
Foods that Help Arthritis
Can foods really reduce your symptoms? Evidence is mixed.
- Vegetarian diet: In one-month studies, some arthritis symptoms improved, and over years the improvement continued gradually. You can experiment with a vegetarian approach and see how it works for you.
- Alternative fats: Omega-6 fatty acids can make inflammation worse. Replace meat and poultry with fish like sardines, mackerel, trout, and salmon, which have omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation.
- Certain oils: Extra-virgin olive and flaxseed oil are full of “good” monounsaturated fat that contains antioxidants called polyphenols to protect the body. Try to use those instead of other oils.
- Green tea: The polyphenolic compounds in green tea have been shown to improve rheumatoid arthritis in mice, but human studies have not been conclusive.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables: These foods contain boron, which can reduce arthritis symptoms.
- Fish oil: It can help relieve arthritis pain.
- Ginger: Fresh ginger has anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects.
- Antioxidants: Foods rich in vitamin C, selenium, carotenes, and bioflavonoids can decrease inflammation.
- Diet supplements: Glucosamine and chondroitin may be most effective when taken together.
In addition, any diet that results in weight loss can take pressure and strain off the joints and reduce arthritis pain.
Not all dietary restrictions to reduce arthritis pain are supported by studies. If you try other diets, monitor your health carefully, and eliminate one food at a time to isolate the results. Some foods that people think should be eliminated to decrease arthritis pain include dairy products, citrus fruits, tomatoes, eggplant, and other nightshades like potatoes and peppers.
Have questions? Talk to your doctor about ways to manage your condition. The team at JFK Medical Center is ready to help. If your symptoms are hard to control, consult our Orthopedic & Spine Center to get relief.