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Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. Many things in our nutrition habits can actually increase inflammation and make the pain worse. However, by adopting different eating habits, you may be able to reduce inflammation. Get ready to enjoy a healthier regimen which will not only help your joints, but your whole body. Learn how to naturally improve your arthritis and what food to avoid.
Certain foods you should avoid altogether, some you should consume more often, and herbs that can relieve arthritis inflammation and pain.
What Foods Make Arthritis Worse?
While we all wish we could eat any food we like – even junk food – without any repercussions, the reality is that we can’t. Especially when you have arthritis, you have to be mindful of what you are eating. Certain food can worsen your state and you have to do your best to avoid it.
Here are some of the foods those with arthritis should avoid:
While sometimes delicious, processed food is usually nutritionally bankrupt. However, in most people it won’t do much damage, at least not right away. But when you have arthritis, you should limit how often you eat it.
These foods often contain trans fats, which trigger systemic inflammation. If you see any food which says it has hydrogenated oils, even partially so, stay away from it.
Another food that’s bad for most but even more so for people with arthritis. Sugar contains compounds that activate proteins called cytokines which cause inflammation.
You should also avoid any form of sugar like fructose, maltose and so on.
Red meat that has a lot of saturated fats, which are high in cholesterol, can cause inflammation. It also contains elements which have inflammatory effects, especially if you roast, fry, broil or grill the meat.
Any fried food is full of elements with inflammatory effects. These elements can be found in anything from fried chicken to donuts.
White bread, pasta or crackers are your enemies. They cause a spike in the blood sugar levels which raises your body temperature and cause inflammation.
Any dairy high in fats is something you should avoid because they trigger inflammation as well.
Certain oils like peanut or sunflower oil are bad for the same reason all the other items on this list are – increasing inflammation.
The bottom line?
These types of foods may worsen your pain; if you notice inflammation after eating something, take note and avoid it.
However, don’t despair! There are many alternatives that you can consume and still be happy and healthy.
9 Food Choices to Help Ease Arthritis Pain
While it may seem like food is out to hurt you, there's plenty you can still enjoy. Some are even able to improve your health and make your arthritis symptoms better.
Make sure that you are adding plenty of these to your diet:
Omega-3’s found in fatty fishes are great at fighting inflammation. Eat plenty of fish to reduce your pain.
If you are not a big fish fan, you can get your omega-3’s from soy. It’s good for you no matter what issue you have.
Sunflower oil may be bad but you can use olive oil, sesame oil, walnut oil. These oils have various positive benefits for your health, specifically being anti-inflammatory.
Cherries reduce the frequency of attacks and have anti-inflammatory effects as well. Plus, you can use them to satisfy your sweet tooth. Remember to watch out for the pit!
High-fat dairy is off the menu for you but low-fat examples like milk, kefir, yogurt can actually be helpful. They contain a lot of calcium which is excellent at keeping your bones healthy.
Broccoli has various compounds and vitamins that can help slow down the advancement of arthritis and reduce the pain.
Green tea is well-known for its antioxidant properties. You can enjoy up to 5 cups a day as a way to reduce joint pain and inflammation. Not a fan of tea? Try adding a scoop of matcha to your favorite smoothie.
Fruit rich in vitamin C can help aid arthritis and reduce the pain that comes with it. It will also keep your joints healthy.
You shouldn’t eat white flour but whole grain breads and pastas contain healthy benefits. There are elements in these grains that reduce inflammation and help alleviate the pain. Eat oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereals.
Is Coffee Good for Arthritis?
You may like coffee – who doesn’t?
But how good is it for you if you have arthritis? Is it good at all?
There have been numerous studies done on patients with arthritis and the relation of their disease with drinking coffee. Researchers have examined coffee’s effect on inflammation and they have concluded that it’s not surprising that coffee is helping inflammation. After all, coffee has antioxidant and anti inflammatory compounds.
But another study would disagree since they found that drinking coffee actually increased inflammation with some people. Then, another study found that coffee did have inflammatory effects but only for those who drink coffee heavily.
What does this mean for you?
There aren’t studies that conclusively decided that coffee is bad for people with arthritis.
There are no contraindications when it comes to consuming coffee and medications for arthritis. However, you might want to stay away from java blends and stick to less caffeinated drinks if you take prednisone for your arthritis because it can cause insomnia.
People on methotrexate might want to even add coffee to their morning routine because caffeine can help in dealing with unpleasant symptoms of this drug.
Now, you should know when to stop drinking coffee. While there is no reason to stop drinking coffee completely, you might want to keep it down to 4 cups at most. You can also take teas as a replacement – for instance, green or black tea.
The Best Natural Anti-Inflammatory Remedies
In addition to eating healthy food, you can try reducing your arthritis pain by taking advantage of healing herbs. However, before you take them in any form, you should consult your doctor to see if any of them could damage your health or make the pain worse.
If your doctor approves of natural remedies and you'd like to give them a try, check out these well-known and time tested herbs:
Turmeric – This is a well-known spice from Southeast Asia which can be great for many conditions, arthritis included. It’s great at reducing inflammation. It has powerful antioxidants and can reduce pain.
Green tea – It was already mentioned but it’s worth another mention because the powerful anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidants from the tea can help reduce pain and inflammation.
White willow bark – This plant has been used against inflammation dating back to ancient times. It has similar effects to aspirin but with no side-effects.
Maritime pine bark – This one heals wounds and as such can be used effectively to reduce pain and decrease inflammation. It’s one of the strongest antioxidants known to date.
Chili peppers – Even though peppers are hot, they have anti-inflammatory effects. You can use it in many dishes and it can help reduce attacks.
Black pepper – It has an inflammatory effect because of piperine.
Rosemary – It has a calming effect on inflammation and pain.
Cloves – This plant has shown that it can reduce inflammation in the mouth and gums as well as joints.
Ginger – Therapeutic effect of this plant is well-known and often better than that of regular medications.
Cinnamon – A popular spice with a host of healthy properties, cinnamon can definitely help you with pain.
What Tea is Good for Anti-Inflammatory Effects?
Tea can also be beneficial if you find a blend that works well for you and your condition. Again, talk with your doctor if you have any concerns.
Here are some teas that have anti-inflammatory effects:
Black tea – Leaves contain a lot of polyphenols and flavonoids which all act as antioxidants against inflammation and pain that arthritis causes. You can drink it instead of coffee and enjoy the benefits.
Green tea – We've already mentioned several times how great this is. Seriously, go brew a cup!
White tea – It comes from the same plant as green and black tea but it contains a lot of anti-inflammatory properties and it’s delicate and lovely to drink.
Rooibos tea – It’s caffeine free but it has many healthy properties for various issues among which is arthritis.
Chai Tea – It’s made from a blend of black tea and various spices like cinnamon or curcumin which all work in unison in relieving pain and reducing the effects of arthritis.
Chamomile tea – Known to be calming, chamomile tea is fantastic at helping anyone in pain. Drink it whenever you feel more pain than usual.
Turmeric tea – Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory effect which helps those in arthritis pain and reduces the amount of attacks.
Arthritis is a painful condition that can take the fun out of your life and make you feel like you're always trying to manage the pain. Hopefully, if you avoid known triggers and enjoy herbal remedies, you can start feeling like yourself again. We'll drink (a cup of green tea!) to that.
Have you tried any of these tips? Let us know your success with managing arthritis and reducing inflammation down below!