Arthritis is a collective term used for a class of disorder that causes stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joints. Arthritis can affect individuals of all ethnic backgrounds, genders, and ages.
There are several different types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being one of the most common ones. Osteoarthritis develops in the joints and is triggered by overuse of the joints over time. There are over 100 different types of arthritis affecting individuals of all ages, roughly including 300,000 children.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another general form of arthritis. It is classified as an autoimmune disorder wherein your immune system tends to attack your joints.
People with arthritis always seek a natural and safer alternative in the form of herbs and foods for arthritis that helps manage pain, reduce swelling, and restore mobility.
In this article, we will learn what to eat and what not to eat, to ensure not to aggravate the condition.
Did You Know!
|Osteoarthritis affects more than 30mn adults in the US and is predominantly caused by breaking down of your joints over time.|
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a chronic condition often characterized by inflammation of the joints. Typically, arthritis can affect one or more joints in the body. There are over 100 types of arthritis, each having different underlying cause and treatment procedures. Two of the most widespread ones are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).
Also, women and individuals who are overweight are more prone to arthritis than men or people who have ideal body weight, respectively.
Arthritis symptoms typically develop over time; however, they may even arise suddenly. This painful condition of the joints is most commonly observed in adults aged 65 or more, though it can also develop in younger adults, teens, and children.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies to Treat Arthritis]
What Causes Arthritis?
Cartilage is a flexible but firm connective tissue in our joints. Cartilage helps protect our joints by absorbing the shock and pressure created when we put stress on them while moving or performing our day-to-day activities.
A decrease in the ideal amount of cartilage tissue causes arthritis.
Wear and tear as we age is one of the main factors behind arthritis. An injury or infection to the joints can aggravate this natural wear and tear of cartilage tissues. Also, people having a family history of arthritis are more susceptible to this joint condition.
What are its Symptoms?
Swelling, stiffness, and joint pain are the most widespread and noticeable symptoms of arthritis. Also, your motor skills are reduced over time, and you may notice the skin around your joints reddening. The symptoms tend to get worse in the morning.
People with RA may experience a lack of appetite and feel tired because of the joint inflammation. People with RA can experience chronic anemia due to a decrease in the red blood cell count, have a fever, and notice joint deformity.
[Also Read: Herbal Remedies for Arthritis]
Types of Arthritis
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. The most common types are discussed below:
In OA, the cartilage inside your joints tends to deteriorate. It affects the mobility of the affected joint making it painful and difficult. Over time, bones of your joints rub against each other, triggering severe and intense pain.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is another common type of arthritis affecting millions of people around the world. It occurs when the immune system of your body affects the tissues. These assaults tend to impact the synovium, a tissue in the joints that nourish the cartilage and lubricate the joints.
In RA(1), the condition of the joint worsens over time, and ultimately both the cartilage and the bone are destroyed. This condition is irreversible.
3. Psoriatic Arthritis
PsA, or Psoriatic arthritis, is an autoimmune joint disorder wherein the immune system tends to attack your body, causing intense pain and inflammation. PsA affects your joints, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and the skin.
It is a central pain syndrome wherein the pain signals are processed differently by the spinal cord and brain. Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain with several other symptoms such as lack of concentration, mood troubles, fatigue, and sleep problems.
It is a type of inflammatory arthritis; however, it does not lead to body-wide swelling as PsA or RA does. In gout, the body produces excess uric acid which, if not removed properly, tends to form uric acid crystals in the joints. This leads to painful inflammation in the joints.
It is a common autoimmune inflammatory disorder that can affect different parts of your body, including joints, brain, kidneys, blood, skin, blood, and other organs. Lupus can lead to joint pain, sensitivity to light, fever, rash, fatigue, hair loss, and kidney problems.
Best Foods for Arthritis
Eating the right foods for arthritis can help you manage pain, reduce inflammation, restore mobility, and lead a normal life(2). Some of the best foods for arthritis are discussed below:
Since several types of fishes are rich in inflammation-reducing essential omega-3 fatty acids, dieticians suggest eating a minimum of 3 to 4 ounces of fish twice per week. Go for salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna.
Not crazy about fishes but still wish to try the excellent inflammation-fighting properties of omega-3 fatty acids? Go Edamame or Tofu, the heart-healthy soy. Soybeans are high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and a great choice for people with arthritis.
Oils are great for people with arthritis. Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent source of fats. Also, it is a powerhouse of oleocanthal, which is similar to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs in terms of effects. Safflower and avocado oils also exhibit excellent cholesterol-reducing properties.
Studies reveal that cherries come handy in reducing the frequency as well as the severity of gout attacks. Cherries juices for arthritis is always recommended as cherries is an excellent source of anthocyanins that exhibit a potent anti-inflammatory effect that helps people with arthritis.
5. Dairy Products
Low-fat milk and milk products such as cheese and yogurt are an excellent source of vitamin D and calcium, which help build strong bones. Vitamin D also aids in calcium absorption and, therefore, helps people with arthritis manage their condition more effectively.
An excellent source of vitamins C and K, broccoli also consists of a compound known as sulforaphane, which helps prevent or slows down the progression of osteoarthritis.
[Also Read: 15 Fabulous Health Benefits of Broccoli]
7. Tea For Arthritis
Green tea is an excellent source of polyphenols, essential antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and slow down the destruction of cartilage. Also, green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant known to block the production of molecules responsible for causing joint damages in individuals with arthritis.
Fruits like limes, grapefruits, and oranges are packed with vitamin C, which is proven to prevent inflammatory arthritis along with maintaining healthy joints.
Whole grains are known to reduce the CRP levels (C-reactive protein) in your blood. CRP is a typical marker of inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and lower levels of CRP means considerably reduced levels of joint inflammation in people with arthritis. Foods like brown rice, whole-grain cereals, and oatmeal are rich in whole grains.
Beans are rich in fiber that helps reduce the CRP. Also, beans are an excellent source of protein that promotes muscle health. Also, beans are packed with folic acid, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
5 Foods to Avoid During Arthritis
When you have arthritis, it is imperative to know what foods to eat. However, it is just as imperative to know what foods to avoid. The last thing you’d want is to aggravate the condition by eating something you should not.
Here’s a list of foods you must avoid when you have arthritis:
[Also Read: Health Benefits of Cannellini Beans]
1. Processed and Fried Foods
Reducing the amount of processed and fried foods can considerably decrease inflammation and help restore the natural defenses of your body.
2. Milk Products
Owing to the protein content, milk products may aggravate arthritis pain and inflammation. For some individuals, this protein tends to irritate the tissues around the joints.
3. Tobacco and Alcohol
Alcohol and tobacco consumption can cause several health complications, and a lot of them can affect the joints. Typically, smokers are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while individuals who use alcohol regularly are at a higher risk of developing gout.
4. Preservatives and Salts
Most foods consist of excessive salt along with several other preservatives for promoting a longer shelf life. For some individuals, excessive intake of salt may lead to inflammation of the joints. Therefore, people with arthritis are advised to reduce their salt intake as much as possible.
5. Corn Oil
Most baked snacks consist of corn oils that have a high amount of omega-6 fatty acids. While these may be highly delicious, they generally tend to aggravate inflammation. Studies have revealed that fish oil, which consists of omega-3s, can come handy in relieving joint pain for some individuals with arthritis.
Arthritis is a chronic and painful condition affecting millions of people around the world. Though there are medications and alternative treatments to help the patients manage pain, restore mobility, and lead a normal life, most treatments offer short-term results. Also, most medications used to manage pain and inflammation associated with arthritis have severe side effects.
Therefore, people with arthritis are recommended to follow a controlled diet plan containing foods for arthritis that help manage their symptoms well along with slowing down the progression of the disease.
The foods recommended above give you enough options to adopt an arthritis-friendly diet along.
However, remember that foods for arthritis do not cure the underlying condition and you must, therefore, consult an orthopedic physician to discuss your treatment options. Living with arthritis can be tough but with the right diet and proper medical intervention, you can make it happen!
1. What foods are good for arthritis?
People with arthritis should have foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and are an excellent source of calcium, vitamin K, C, and D. Some of the best foods for arthritis include dark chocolate, fish, green tea, berries, apple, olive oil, ginger, turmeric, nuts, and whole grains.
2. What not to eat when you have arthritis?
People with arthritis should avoid foods that aggravate inflammation of the muscles and tissues. Some of the foods to avoid include foods rich in salts, corn oils, milk products, tobacco, alcohol, foods rich in salts, and corn oils.
3. Are bananas bad for arthritis?
Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B-6, and serve as an efficient food for people with arthritis. Vitamin C helps people with arthritis by promoting collagen production. Collagen helps build strong joints along with destroying the free radicals responsible for destroying the joints. Therefore, bananas make an excellent food choice for people with arthritis.
4. Are tomatoes bad for arthritis?
Long considered poisonous, tomatoes are often maligned for worsening the symptoms of arthritis since they produce a toxin known as solanine, which is a marker for inflammation(3). However, studies have found no relationship between tomatoes and arthritis pain and, therefore, they are not unsafe for people with arthritis.