Along with working closely with your medical team, some people respond well to diet in controlling or mitigating their arthritis. Arthritis is characterized by pain in the joints caused by inflammation. It can hit almost any joint in the body and any person – and in fact, there are more than 100 types of arthritis. Some forms of arthritis are permanent and create visible changes in joints while others come and go or become worse over time.
If you have arthritis, you should be working with a medical provider on a complete care regimen in some cases, including physical therapy, but if you’re like many people, you want to know if there is anything you can do with your lifestyle to reduce stiffness, inflammation and pain.
So what are some things you can do with your diet?
It’s known now, that some foods can create inflammation in the body. These aren’t necessarily dangerous foods, or even foods to which you are allergic to, but they are foods that can create a small inflammatory response andcan trigger conditions like arthritis. Foods like nightshades (which include eggplant, tomatoes etc.) or foods high in salt can both be problematic are a good place to salt. Reducing salt consumption and doing some eliminations for two weeks can help you assess the impact of that change on your diet.
While you may want to eliminate nightshades, a diet with lots of other vegetables and fruits is highly recommended, especially leafy greens like kale and spinach. Whole grains like quinoa and brown rice are also recommended. In fact, if you are looking for an entire plan, consider the Mediterranean Diet, which has been found to be a great option in maintaing weight and health.
Next up is adding foods, or focusing on foods that can have an anti inflammatory effect in the body.
- Did you know broccoli and blueberries are both known to have these properties?
- Did you know that snacking on nuts and seeds can also help?
Incorporating these foods into breakfast or dinner is always a good idea. Frozen blueberries especially can make a great treat at night. Ginger is another great anti-inflammatory option that can be included in everything from a delicious stir fry to a hot cup of ginger tea. Ginger is also known to be fantastic for digestion and acts as a great warming ingredient in the winter months.
Related to ginger is turmeric root, a primary spice used in curry, that can also be incorporated into all kinds of foods and teas and has excellent inflammatory properties. For example, simply adding a small amount to mashed avocado to spread on toast, for example, offers a subtle smoky flavor.
Finally, incorporating healthy oils to increase joint lubrication can also be a great idea for your anti inflammatory diet. Use olive oil in your cooking and salad dressings and incorporate healthy fish in your diet each week.
Living with arthritis isn’t easy, but you can manage it with your care provider and you can support your own health at home with a healthy diet and plenty of gentle movement and exercise. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your diet and find more anti-inflammatory foods with which to experiment.
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