6 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Help You Ease Arthritis
Arthritis, like several other health conditions so many of us deal with, is a product of inflammation in the body.
There are two types of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis – when the cartilage between the ends of the bones are worn down and they begin to rub together
Rheumatoid Arthritis – an auto-immune disease that causes softening of the synovial membrane, leading to bone loss and cartilage damage
Whichever kind you have, arthritis can lead to swollen joints, stiffness, severe pain and discomfort, a poor range of motion, weakness and muscle wastage.
Many arthritis sufferers are very familiar with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, but long term use of these drugs can lead to health issues like heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, and kidney damage.
Although these natural remedies can’t cure your condition, they can make a tremendous difference in how you feel and function.
These six foods work to soothe your pain and cut back on inflammation, helping to alleviate arthritis symptoms:
1. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil has very similar anti-inflammatory properties to NSAIDs.
This has been attributed to the compound in the oil called oleocanthal, (a natural form of pain relief) which prevents the production of tCOX enzymes, which are associated with inflammation at a cellular level.
By inhibiting them, the inflammation and the increase in the severity of pain are dramatically reduced.
A study in the American Journal of Biological and Pharmaceutical Research reported that extra virgin olive not only helped with chronic inflammation but that it relieved acute inflammation.
Researchers have reported that three half tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil is as effective as a 200 mg tablet of ibuprofen.
That said, a daily dose of 3 half tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil equates to about 500 additional calories per day, so use it in moderation, and within your macro target to avoid unwanted weight gain.
Note, if you don’t like extra virgin olive oil, you can also try these oils as they also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties: avocado oil, grapes oil, safflower oil, walnut oil and flaxseed oil.
Ginger is one of those natural anti-inflammatory foods that can treat arthritis symptoms, but it’s also great for a whole host of other issues like upset stomach and nausea.
A study from the University of Miami reported that ginger extract reduced knee pain associated with osteoarthritis by as much as 40% when compared to the placebo group.
If you’re going the supplement route, bear in mind that not all supplements are created equally so look out for the purest form of ginger.
For the best results in terms of reducing inflammation, consume between 100-200 mgs on a daily basis.
Onions add flavour to our cooking , but did you know it’s an anti-inflammatory food that is packed with antioxidants?
Onions are packed with flavonoids and it’s these anti-oxidants that help remove any free radicals before they get the chance to cause any harm.
The main flavonoids found in onions are ‘quercetins.’
Specifically quercetin inhibits the leukotrienes, prostaglandins and histamines that are associated with inflammation in both forms of arthritis.
Eating onions also helps with bone growth and this may aid in repairing some of the osteoarthritis induced damage.
Onions can also help to improve heart health, lower your blood cholesterol levels and help with the prevention of certain cancers.
However, not all onions are as healthy as one another!
Research has indicated that anti-oxidants are higher in shallots, yellow and red onions. Conversely, white and sweet onions contain a lower amount of anti-oxidants.
Generally, the rule of thumb is this: the more pungent the smell of the onion; the more powerful it actually is!
Though it’s one of the juiciest and most delicious anti-inflammatory foods around, the cherry has also been found to be one of the most powerful ; this All is now being backed up by some promising research substantiating the use of cherries in reducing inflammation.
A study from the Philadelphia medical centre reported that patients who consumed 8 ounces of tart cherry juice per day for 6 weeks had a significant reduction in joint pain, stiffness and joint range of motion.
The researchers attributed the active compound ‘anthocyanin’ as the potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent in cherries.
The compound can also be found in raspberries and blueberries, but is considerably higher in cherries.
5. Fish Oil
You’ve probably heard about the beneficial powers of Omega- 3 fatty acids.
Studies have reported that Omega- 3 fatty acids can help reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis and allow individuals to cut back on their NSAIDs and other medications?
By adding fish oil to your diet, you can be more proactive and treat your arthritic symptoms in a far healthier and safe manner.
In terms of dosage, supplementing your diet with 3-4 grams of Omega- 3 fatty acid oil has some positive therapeutic benefits for those suffering with arthritic symptoms, but also helping to improve cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.
6. Green Tea
If you are drinking white tea or black tea, I strongly recommend you also start drinking the far healthier option: green tea.
Green tea is loaded with polyphenols which are plant derived compound that actually boost your immune system via the production of T-cells.
Inadvertently, this could help sufferers of arthritis because the traditional medication they are taking can actually suppress the immune system.
The active compound in green tea is EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) which is a polyphenol that blocks inflammation on the tissue of the cartilage.
Green tea also promotes heart health, fights cancer, improves bone strength and protects your brain from cellular damage.
When incorporated into your diet, these natural anti-inflammatory foods will do wonders for your overall health, so even if you’re not suffering from arthritis, try incorporating them today!
“A final note to this blog. Never underestimate the importance of regular exercise, which undoubtedly help ease symptoms of arthritis. This can be in its very simplest form, walking.
I will also be offering one-one and small group sessions of orthopaedic Pilates in January 2017. This will, among other conditions, target and help ease the often debilitating side effects of arthritis. “
1) Hanam J et al. American Journal of Biological and Pharmaceutical Research. 2015;2(2):51-61.
2) R. D. Altman Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis Arthritis & Rheumatism Volume 44, Issue 11, pages 2531–2538, November 2001
3) American Chemical Society. Onion Compound May Help Fight Osteoporosis. Science Daily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2005.
4) Schemarder h. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. Randomized double-blind crossover study of the efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. August 2013 Volume 21, Issue 8, Pages 1035-1041
5) F. Berenbaum. Inflammation in osteoarthritis: changing views .Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Volume 23, Issue 11, November 2015, Pages 1823–1824