While there is no specific “diet” that people with arthritis or RA, should follow, but there are researchers have determined that certain foods that can help control inflammation. Many of them are found in what’s labeled the Mediterranean diet, which basically emphasizes fish, vegetables and olive oil. Here are some of my best suggestions. I have found even for myself if I follow the below guidelines I don’t have any of after food aches or that feeling you have when you eat too much salt. Know what I mean? So….
Certain types of fish are rich in inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce C-reactive protein (CRP).
How much: At least 3 to 4 ounces, twice a week
Best sources: Salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies and other cold-water fish
Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, which support the immune system – the body’s natural defense system – and may help fight inflammation.
How much: At least 1½ to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of veggies per meal
Best sources: Colorful foods such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries, strawberries, spinach, kale and broccoli
Have a Handful of Nuts or Seeds
Nuts are full of inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fat, protein and filling fiber, too – a bonus if you’re trying to lose a few pounds. I know you’re thinking, “nuts are fattening”, they are not. It is a misconception due to the belief that fat is bad for you. Nut fat is good food.
How much: Eat 1.5 ounces of nuts daily (about a handful)
Best sources: Walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds
Break out the Beans
Beans have several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. They’re a low-cost source of fiber, protein, folic acid and minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium.
Olive oil contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, antioxidants and oleocanthal, a compound that can lower inflammation and pain.
How much: Two to three tablespoons per day for cooking or in salad dressings or other dishes
Best sources: Extra virgin olive oil is less refined and processed. It retains more nutrients than standard varieties. I do Olive oil Shots!
Peel Some Onions
Onions are packed with beneficial antioxidants. They may also reduce inflammation, heart disease risk and LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. Try them sautéed, grilled or raw in salads, stir-fries, whole-wheat pasta dishes or sandwiches.
Should you eat Nightshades or Not?
Nightshade vegetables – eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes – are central to Mediterranean cuisine. Some people believe they trigger arthritis flares, but there’s limited scientific evidence to support this theory. Try cutting nightshades from your diet for two weeks to see if symptoms improve. If you feel great then maybe you should cut them for the most part. Or at least limit.
Eat your Fiber
Fiber lowers C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance in the blood that indicates inflammation. Getting fiber from foods lowers CRP levels more than taking fiber supplements. Foods that have carotenoids, the antioxidants that give carrots, peppers and some fruits their color, are quite good at lowering CRP.
No Processed Food
Processed foods such as cookies, chips and other snacks can be high in unhealthy fats, which are linked with inflammation. Opt for fresh fruit instead. Canned goods – vegetables and soups – are often high in sodium, which boosts blood pressure. Look for low sodium options, or go with fresh or frozen vegetables.
Limit the Salt
There are conflicting reports about just how bad excess salt is for us. We know it causes fluid retention – one of many factors that can lead to high blood pressure. Again, this goes with limiting processed foods. Processed foods contain high amounts of sodium.
Fill Your Plate
The Food Pyramid many of us grew up with has been replaced with a colorful plate that emphasizes proper proportions. One important message: Fill half your plate with vegetables. (or 75% if you are adventurous.)
Aromatherapy provides one of the most effective treatments for arthritis, not only in retaining the mobility of the joints but in giving pain relief and helping to ease inflammation and swellings. In all cases of arthritis, however, the first area of attack must be diet which, when changed, can in some patients completely transform their condition.
- Rosemary Oil: Great for: Treatment of muscle and joint pain and improving circulation
- Marjoram Oil: Great for: Treatment of stiff, painful joints
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Great for: Improving circulation and natural healing
- Lavender Essential Oil: Great for: It’s mood boosting, relaxing properties. Good for dull, throbbing pain.