Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints and bones. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. In the country, over 30 million adults are affected by this condition. It occurs due to the wearing down of the cartilage that surrounds your joints for protection. It can occur at any joint, but they mostly affect the knees.
It’s not possible to completely cure osteoarthritis through your diet but certain top foods can help manage arthritis pain to a great extent, especially the following:
1. Oily fish
Fish that contain a lot of healthy fats include sardines and mackerel which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats help in reducing inflammation. Those who prefer to not eat fish can take supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Apart from oily fish, there are other oils that can help reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis and help manage arthritis pain. These oils include extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil. You can use these oils to cook your food.
Calcium and vitamin D are directly related to improving bone strength and all dairy products have high amounts of these compounds. Try including milk, cheese, and yogurt to your diet on a daily basis. Dairy also helps in developing and strengthening your muscles which can help with keeping your joints more flexible and secure.
4. Dark leafy greens
Leafy green vegetables contain antioxidants, stress-fighting phytochemicals, and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium and improve immunity. Some leafy greens are:
- Collard greens
A compound called diallyl disulfide that is present in garlic may be useful against the enzymes in your body that destroy your cartilage.
6. Mediterranean diet
Studies show that following a Mediterranean diet can help manage arthritis pain caused by osteoarthritis. This diet mostly comprises fruits, vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, healthy fats, and legumes.
To change your diet to resemble a Mediterranean diet, you only have to make a few changes
- Include high fiber, starchy foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, bread and pasta made of whole grain flour in your diet.
- Include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet which help improve your immunity and keep you nourished.
- Include different types of fish that contain healthy fats and oils in your diet. If you’re vegan, include soybeans and tofu.
- Eat less meat to avoid heart problems that are already associated with arthritis.
- Include oils like olive oil and other vegetable oils.
- Choose wholemeal over refined sugar or flour.
Other than what you should eat, also take care to avoid food that you should not consume when you are affected by osteoarthritis. Some foods contain compounds that contribute greatly to the worsening of the inflammation and pain in your joints. These foods are sugar, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol. Sugar, including added sweeteners in beverages, sweets, etc, prompts the release of cytokines which increase inflammation. Saturated fats present in pizza, red meat, and buns increase inflammation of the fat tissues in your body. You can also take help from a nutritionist to plan your daily diet.