“You are what you eat”. Hardly any other quote describes the importance of nutrition for our health better. It goes without saying that the wrong lifestyle can also have negative effects on our health and wellbeing. For decades, researchers have been investigating how a healthy diet can also be used as a cure for various diseases, such as the treatment of arthritis. Scientists assume that individual nutritional factors and eating habits could be related to the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (rheumatism). Because of this, changing your diet could help prevent joint problems such as arthritis and osteoarthritis, and it could also have a strong impact on joint pain relief. In today’s article, we explain what to eat and drink with arthritis or osteoarthritis.
A diet high in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, and fish is not only good for overall health, but can also help with pain and joint discomfort. Certain foods stop inflammation, support cartilage build-up, relieve pain and also strengthen the immune system. Simple things like cherries and almonds or tuna and broccoli have real super powers.
Anti-inflammatory foods are good for arthritis / osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis and arthritis are joint diseases with similar symptoms but different causes. At a arthrosis the complaints are based on the mechanical overload of the joints and the associated damage to the cartilage. At a arthritis on the other hand, inflammation of the joints is the cause of the pain. The osteoarthritis is also called wear arthritis and among other things in the Anglo-American literature Osteoarthritis designated. Symptoms include joint swelling, pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.
In both cases, it is important to control and reduce inflammation to reduce pain and swelling in the affected joints. The inflammation associated with arthritis is often treated with medication to improve symptoms and reduce pain. Certain foods also have anti-inflammatory properties, making them a powerful complementary treatment for arthritis.
Researchers have found that the Mediterranean diet May help reduce pain and swollen joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. One study looked at the link between the Mediterranean diet and the pain associated with osteoarthritis. She concluded that within the study group of 4,330 subjects, there was a lower risk of osteoarthritis symptoms and pain in those who followed the Mediterranean diet.
Other studies have looked at the Anti-inflammatory diet and its effects on arthritis. One research study found an anti-inflammatory diet had a positive effect on disease progression in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
What not to eat for arthritis?
Both the Mediterranean diet and the anti-inflammatory diet are based on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. You should mainly avoid high-fat, sugared and fried foods. The “red” list includes, for example:
- high-fat meats and sausages
- fatty dairy products
- White flour products
- Salty nibbles
- Caffeinated drinks and alcohol
What foods to eat for arthritis?
Many fruits are rich in antioxidant plant compounds, called Flavonoids and polyphenols. Polyphenolic flavonoids are associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. Recent research shows the positive effects of fruits and their polyphenols in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In particular Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and pomegranates have shown promising results in reducing pain and inflammation in clinical trials of arthritis. Other fruit polyphenols, such as quercetin, anthocyanins, and citrus flavonoids, have also been studied for relieving symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Eat colorful fruits like Cherries, berries, apples, pomegranates, grapes, oranges and grapefruit. They all contain beneficial polyphenolic compounds that can help fight the inflammation associated with arthritis. Nutritionists recommend consuming 1 to 2 cups of fruit a day. These are not just fresh fruits and juices, but also dried and frozen fruits.
This fruit is good for arthritis: Strawberries, apples, blueberries, pomegranates, raspberries, grapes, cherries, oranges, cranberries, grapefruit
Which vegetables to eat for arthritis (rheumatism)?
Vegetables are an excellent addition to any diet, but vegetables like that dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, beetroot, sweet potatoes and cabbage are especially good for people with arthritis. They contain many healthy nutrients like antioxidants, polyphenols, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The antioxidant effects of the nutrients in vegetables are linked to immune function and anti-inflammatory processes in the body. Vitamin A and Carotenoids play a key role in immune function, which can benefit people with arthritis. Carotenoids are like in red and orange vegetables Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and red peppers abundant.
A Vitamin K deficiency was at an increased risk for developing Knee osteoarthritis connected. Dark leafy vegetables are often rich in vitamin K, which plays a role in mineralizing bones and cartilage. This is especially important for people with osteoarthritis. Turnip greens, leaf cabbage, spinach, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all good sources of vitamin K.
Cook the vegetables briefly and gently or eat them raw so that the nutrients are not lost. Avoid cooking or frying the vegetables over high heat. Also, the carotenoid compounds and vitamin K in vegetables are better absorbed with a little fat, such as olive oil, so drizzle some in your pan before sautéing your spinach or dipping your carrot sticks in some hummus. It is optimal if you eat at least 300 grams of raw or only slightly heated vegetables per day.
The best vegetables for arthritis: Dark leafy green, cauliflower, carrots, beets, broccoli, winter squash, onions, red peppers, cabbage, corn, peas, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, bok choy
Legumes in arthritis
Legumes are considered a great source of fiber and vegetable protein in the Mediterranean diet. Beans, peas, and lentils are excellent alternatives if you want to cut down on your meat consumption. Legumes are also good sources of iron, folic acid, potassium, and magnesium.
Rice beans (anasazi), adzuki beans, black beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, soybeans and lentils are all good choices. Canned or dried, they all offer many health benefits. If you go for cans, choose products with little or no added sodium and be sure to rinse them off with water.
Legumes are great staple foods because they are inexpensive, storable and easy to prepare. Legumes belong to the group of proteins as well as to the group of vegetables. It is recommended that you add 1 handful of legumes per day to your diet.
Add more legumes to your diet by garnishing your salad with black beans, adding peas or lentils to soups and casseroles, making homemade hummus with chickpeas, or adding beans to your tacos.
The Best Legumes for Arthritis: Black beans, rice beans, chickpeas, adzuki beans, kidney beans, black-eyed beans, pinto beans, soybeans, lima beans, lentils.
whole grain products
Whole grains contain more antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients compared to refined grains. A 2017 review found that the results of two longitudinal studies showed that one higher total fiber intake was associated with a lower risk of osteoarthritis.
Antioxidants and other phytochemicals found in whole grains such as vitamins E, B vitamins, selenium, and magnesium also provide anti-inflammatory effects for people with arthritis. Three to six servings of whole grains per day are recommended. A slice of wholemeal bread, half a cup of porridge, quinoa or rice counts as one serving.
Eat These Whole Grains: Oats, barley, brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, farro, corn flour, millet, Andean millet, sorghum
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are an essential part of the Mediterranean diet. You are a good one Source of healthy fats like anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts belong to the protein food group, so they are a good source of vegetable protein and fiber.
Enjoy a small handful of nuts or seeds daily, including walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds. Choose raw or lightly roasted and unsalted nuts.
Mix flax seeds with baked goods, sprinkle chia seeds in smoothies, top your salads with almond flakes or top your noodles with crushed pistachios.
If you have osteoarthritis, eat these healthy nuts and seeds: Walnuts, flax seeds, almonds, chia seeds, pine nuts, hemp seeds, pistachios
Low fat dairy products
Dairy products are one of the best sources of calcium in our diet. Thanks to the fortification of the milk, some yogurts are also good sources of vitamins A and D. A 2015 review found that cutting off dairy products in people with arthritis shows no evidence of benefit and that dairy consumption appears to be safe and for bone health can be beneficial.
Vitamin D and calcium work together in the body to build and maintain bone health, which is important for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that are commonly found in dairy products like yogurt and kefir. Several randomized controlled trials have shown an association between probiotics and inflammation improvements in rheumatoid arthritis.
Low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and kefir are all good dairy products to keep in your refrigerator. The 5 types of cheese with the lowest fat content are Harz cheese, feta, mozzarella, Parmesan and Camembert. Eat three servings of dairy products daily to meet your daily needs for calcium, vitamin D, and probiotics.
Suitable dairy products for arthritis: Low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, kefir
fish and seafood
Fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, inhibit inflammation. EPA (eicosapetaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaeonic acid) are two important omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.
A 2018 study of 176 people found that those who ate fish at least twice a week had significantly lower disease activity than those who ate fish less than once a month or never ate it. The disease activity continued to decrease with each additional serving of fish per week.
The amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in fish vary. Herring, salmon, scallops, sardines, anchovies and trout usually contain higher amounts.
Mackerel is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. King mackerel is high in mercury, however, and the FDA recommends that pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, as well as young children, avoid king mackerel. Pacific chub mackerel and Spanish mackerel are both alternatives with lower mercury content. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are Tuna, crab, clams and sea bass.
In addition to the omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood, vitamin D is also found in fatty fish like Salmon, sardines, trout and tuna contain. Vitamin D has been shown to affect autoimmunity and reduce disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis.
Generally recommended, 100 grams of fish twice a week to eat. For people with arthritis, however, more may be better. If you don’t like or don’t consume fish, resort to fish oil capsules. Studies show that taking fish oil daily can help relieve joint stiffness, tenderness, pain, and swelling.
These are the fish you should eat if you have arthritis: Tuna, herring, salmon, sardines, scallops, anchovies, crab, trout, clams, sea bass, Pacific chub mackerel and Spanish mackerel
olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet and a major source of healthy fats. It consists mainly of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. A review of the studies in 2019 found that higher polyunsaturated fat intake is beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Replace saturated fats like butter with healthier vegetable oils like Olive, avocado, rapeseed, safflower, sesame and walnut oils. In addition to oils, nuts, seeds, and oily fish are other sources of healthy fats in the diet.
The best oils for arthritis: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, rapeseed oil, sesame oil, safflower oil, walnut oil
Spices and herbs
Many herbs and spices have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Even in small amounts, many herbs and spices can make a difference in inflammation when taken regularly.
In addition to adding flavor to your food, spices can help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis. Turmeric, ginger, garlic, onion, cinnamon, and chilli contain botanicals that reduce inflammation and mild symptoms of arthritis.
Sprinkle some cinnamon over your porridge, add chili powder to marinades, stir in squeezed garlic into sauces and soups, or mix in a fruit, ginger, and turmeric smoothie.
The best spices and herbs for arthritis: Turmeric, onion, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cayenne pepper
You will think that if you have a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, sweets are banned. However, there are certain sweets that you can enjoy in moderation. Cocoa and dark chocolate have been extensively studied for their role as an antioxidant, as well as for possible anti-inflammatory properties. Cocoa contains flavonoids that can protect against inflammation and oxidative damage.
Eating a piece of dark chocolate every day can satisfy your sweet tooth while getting some health benefits at the same time. Other sweet options are arthritis-friendly fruit desserts. Enjoy a berry yogurt parfait, blueberries with dark chocolate, or a fruit salad with pomegranate and citrus fruits drizzled with honey. For more healthy alternatives to chocolate, see this article.
Allowed sweets for arthritis: Dark chocolate, cocoa, berries, citrus fruits
Contain fermented foods useful probiotics, which help maintain a healthy balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your body. They also reduce bad bacteria that commonly cause infection, disease, and inflammation.
A 2015 review found that fermented soy products like natto and miso play a role in the immune system response as well as in overcoming inflammation. A 2014 randomized controlled trial looked at probiotic use in people with rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers concluded that probiotics improve disease activity and inflammation status.
Common fermented foods are Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, kefir, kombucha and pickles. Top your sandwiches with sauerkraut and cucumber, drink kombucha in the morning or put kimchi in a stew for dinner.
The best fermented foods for arthritis are: Sauerkraut, tempeh, pickles, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso
Green tea and other beverages
Many teas contain bioactive Polyphenolic compounds, that have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that people with arthritis can benefit from. A 2016 study of people with arthritis found that supplementing with green tea improved disease activity. Another 2018 study found that a green tea extract can relieve pain and improve mechanical function of the knee joint in adults with osteoarthritis.
Drink green or oolong teas, both made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. When choosing an alcoholic drink, it is best to resort to red wine, which can be anti-inflammatory.
What to drink with osteoarthritis? Water, oolong tea, green tea, red wine (in moderation)
An excellent drink for rheumatism is the golden milk. It has been used as a remedy for various ailments in India for thousands of years, including chronic joint inflammation. The traditional Indian recipe is a magical combination of healthy foods that together have a synergistic effect. The active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, is better absorbed by the body thanks to the use of cow’s milk, coconut oil and black pepper.
In addition to the positive effects on arthritis, a healthy, balanced diet also offers additional benefits. The Mediterranean Diet has been studied for its potential beneficial role in numerous health conditions, including heart health, cognitive function, diabetes, and cancer.
An arthritis-friendly diet offers a lot of flexibility and variety. Additionally, you probably already have many of the arthritis diet staples on your daily menu. The key points are to base your meals and snacks on a variety of colorful whole foods while cutting down on highly processed foods.