Arthritis. The word alone elicits pictures of swollen joints and older people suffering from the disease. Arthritis is really an all-encompassing word for joint pain, tenderness and swelling or joint disease. While it’s more prevalent in older adults, arthritis can affect younger people as well. Arthritis may not be curable, but it is possible to manage symptoms and improve your movement.
Inflammation plays a key role in certain types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis and Gouty arthritis are triggered by an immune response which causes the inflammation. The main treatments for inflammation may include rest, exercise, medication and a change in diet.
Did you know there are certain foods you can add to your diet to help combat inflammation? A good place to start is to include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins (like beans and nuts), fatty fish, and fresh herbs and spices to your meals.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Choose leafy greens like spinach, kale, cabbage and broccoli. The vitamin K they contain will help combat inflammation. Fruits like cherries and any berry-raspberries, blueberries, strawberries- contain antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Whole Grains: Oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread along with any unrefined grain tends to be high in fiber. A diet that is rich in fiber may help reduce inflammation by feeding gut bacteria, which release inflammation fighting substances.
- Beans: High in fiber and magnesium, as well as being antioxidant rich, make this a versatile food to add to your diet.
- Nuts: Full of healthy fats that help reduce inflammation. Almonds and walnuts are two good choices that research has shown have the highest effect on inflammation.
- Fish: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies and trout are all good choices full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to combat inflammation.
- Spices: Here’s an easy way to help flavor foods while fighting inflammation. While many spices contain antioxidants, turmeric and garlic are two super choices because they contain higher amounts of healthy antioxidants.
Plant Based Diets and Arthritis
As you can see from the list of foods above, plants have strong anti-inflammatory properties! Choosing a plant-based diet may help fight arthritis and reduce the painful symptoms associated with it. At its simplest form eating plant-based means consuming fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other plant-based foods. Some people may choose to include meat, poultry, fish, or dairy along with plant-based foods. The biggest piece is to ensure you are choosing whole foods that are not processed.
There are several ways in which a plant-based diet can help manage your arthritis. It will fight inflammation through the antioxidant foods you consume, you’ll improve gut health by strengthening the “good” bacteria in your system, and it can help with weight loss.
Still not sure where to start when personalizing your diet to help fight arthritis and inflammation? Talk to one of our Loyalty Fitness trainers. They specialize in fitness AND nutrition and will have some personalized suggestions to help improve your food choices.