Over 52.5 million adults in the US and UK suffer from stiff joints and inflammation from arthritis.
The majority of those people are women. But you don’t need to reach for a pill to manage your pain.
The cure could be in your kitchen.
Follow this arthritis diet and take control of your symptoms before they take control of you.
Turmeric contains an antioxidant called curcumin, which is responsible for the spice’s deep yellow-orange hue. Curcumin acts by suppressing pro-inflammatory enzyme pathways, and several studies have shown it helps reduce arthritis pain and swelling. It’s recommended a teaspoon of turmeric each day — add it to curry dishes, blend it into chicken or tuna salad, or add it to dips for a nice earthy flavor.
We know ginger can soothe digestion and stomachaches, but it also has a big effect on inflammation. Studies have even shown the impact to be similar to that of ibuprofen. Try a thumbnail equivalent of the root chopped up on top of a salad.
Spices, like cloves, are a very powerful way to help with arthritis. Simply rubbing clove oil onto your joints can soothe pain thanks to an anti-inflammatory compound in cloves called eugenol. Embrace the season of pumpkin spice everything or try a teaspoon of cloves steeped in hot water for a soothing tea three times a day.
A key component to arthritis diets are omega-3s — essential fatty acids that act as natural anti-inflammatories. The word “essential” means your body can’t make them, so you need to find them in foods or oils. Get the daily dose by taking about a teaspoon of flax oil — by the spoonful, added to shakes, or tossed in salad dressing.
Chia seeds contain plant-based sources of omega-3 fats which have been shown to fight inflammation by minimizing the production of enzymes that erode cartilage. It’s recommended a tablespoon of chia seeds each day either sprinkled on Greek yogurt, mixed in a smoothie, baked into your muffin batter, or added to your oatmeal.
Salmon, herring, and sardines also have high levels of the anti-inflammatory, omega-3s. Aim for a 3-1/2-ounce daily serving. That’s roughly the size of a deck of cards. Look for wild salmon where possible, as farmed salmon tends to have lower levels of omega-3s. Not feeling fish? Soy products like tofu and edamame are also packed with the essential fatty acids. “They’re low in fat and high in protein, and are a good alternative for a source of omega-3s.
Tart cherries contain special antioxidants called anthocyanins, which protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals. These powerful anti-inflammatory compounds can help slow the progression of arthritis and relieve the acute pain from the disease. Puree 2 cups of no-sugar-added tart cherry juice with 1 cup frozen pitted sweet cherries, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger, then top it off with 3 cups of cherry-flavored sparkling water. It’s recommended you take 4 ounces of the cherry spritzer a day — or a handful of dried tart cherries tossed into your trail mix.
Dark green vegetables are rich in minerals that help bring your body’s acidity level down, which essentially brings down inflammation. Spinach and kale are obvious good choices, but don’t overlook arugula. Arugula is actually in the same family as broccoli and cauliflower, and way more nutrient dense than regular lettuce. Aim for five servings a day, or 2 1/2 cups of dense veggies like broccoli, snap peas, or green beans, and 5 cups of leafy greens.
We all know oranges for their vitamin C content and potential to enhance immune function, but vitamin C plays another vital role in building healthy collagen, the major component of cartilage. Studies show those who are deficient in the vitamin are at a greater risk for developing arthritis, so make a point to incorporate at least one citrus fruit into your diet every day. Add an orange to your Turmeric Smoothies with carrot and ginger for another arthritis-fighting food.
Whole grains are a good source of fiber which helps lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) a marker of inflammation. Add 1/2 cup of cooked whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice, or 1 cup of whole-grain cereal to your diet, daily.