Foods that Fight Arthritis

According to the CDC, an estimated 50 million adults in the United States reported being told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.  In addition, arthritis sufferers have significantly worse health related quality of life than those without arthritis. Adults with arthritis report two to four times as many unhealthy days in the past month than those without arthritis.*

Working with their doctors, patients can tailor a complete treatment program for their arthritis.  One tool at a patient’s daily disposal is diet.  Several foods have been demonstrated to help ease arthritis pain.

Omega 3’s:

Why they may help: Omega 3’s may decrease inflammation by suppressing the production enzymes that erode cartilage. Ideas to try: Seafood – salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, rainbow trout, striped bass and other fish are good sources.  Not a seafood fan?  Try flaxseed oil, beans, spinach, broccoli or cauliflower.

Extra-virgin olive oil (“EVOO”): Why it may help: Contains the “good” monounsaturated fat, which protects the body against inflammation because it contains antioxidants. Ideas to try: replace butter with EVOO, or try an easy to prepare dish that includes a double dose of omega 3 from fish and olive oil (Salmon with lemon, capers and rosemary)

Vitamin C: Why it may help: Vitamin C is one of the nutrients most responsible for the health of collagen, a major component of cartilage. Best foods for vitamin C are guava, sweet peppers (yellow/red/green), oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, pineapple, kohlrabi, papayas, lemons, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, kidney beans, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, red cabbage and mangos. Idea to try: a simple spring fruit salad with any of the above

Tart Cherries: Why they may help: A Michigan State study found that anthocyanins, which make cherries red, were potent antioxidants that could prevent oxidative damage and also inhibited enzymes called cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (Cox 1 and 2), which is similar in the way anti- inflammatory drugs seek to reduce pain.  Another study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, investigated the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative promise of cherries. Idea to try: Cinnamon Lemon Poached Pears with Cherry Syrup

Garlic: Why it may help: A study in Russia concluded that alisate (a garlic preparation) was beneficial to patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Ideas to try: add some garlic to another arthritis super food, like spinach, or try a comfort food favorite like garlic mashed potatoes

What are your favorite arthritis-fighting foods?