Arthritis is a group of diseases that affect the joints of the human body. Disease and normal wear and tear can cause degeneration of these joints, leading to a host of uncomfortable symptoms that can negatively affect your quality of life.
Researchers are learning that the foods people eat can improve, or worsen, arthritis symptoms. If you choose the right foods, you can improve your ability to stay comfortable and active as you age.
Osteoarthritis is a common condition that occurs with aging. The ends of the joints of the human body are covered with a rubbery material that acts as a cushion for the bones to allow them to slide smoothly together for normal movement.
When this material, called “cartilage,” begins to wear away, the individual may experience pain, swelling and stiffness in the joint. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition, and symptoms can worsen over time, as less cartilage is available to allow smooth, comfortable movement.
The Problem of Inflammation
Inflammation has been found to be the cause of many chronic diseases in the human body, including heart disease, asthma and even cancer. In arthritis, inflammation is caused by dysfunction in the tissues that make up the joints.
The goal of many treatments for arthritis is to reduce inflammation in joint tissues, and many physicians recommend NSAIDs drugs, dietary supplements and other measures to reduce the inflammation that leads to pain and swelling.
Today, physicians are learning that diet can also play a role in reducing inflammatory response in the body. Many foods contribute to increased inflammation. Other foods help to calm inflammation in the body. This information has led to greater interest in anti-inflammatory diets to help manage arthritis symptoms.
Foods That Reduce Inflammation
You can help to decrease your arthritis symptoms by consuming foods that have been found to reduce the effects of inflammation in the human body.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids –These are compounds found in certain foods, such as fish and flaxseed. Fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Healthy oils –Oils such as olive, safflower, walnut and avocado contain compounds like oleocanthal, which acts like an anti-inflammatory drugs in the body.
- Colorful fruits –Fruits like cherries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries contain anthocyanins that reduce inflammation.
- Broccoli –This vegetable contains the compounds sulforaphane and calcium to calm inflammation and strengthen bones.
- Green tea –This type of tea is rich in polyphenols and a compound called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate” to soothe inflammation.
- Garlic, onions & leeks –This category of plant contains disulfine that can be helpful in reducing inflammation in tissues.
- Whole grains –Foods made with whole grain help to lower c-reactive protein and calm inflammation.
- Nuts –Nuts of all kinds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, vitamin E and zinc to lower inflammation levels in the body.
Foods Associated with Increased Inflammation
To ensure you get all the benefit of eating healthy foods, you should avoid consuming foods that are known to increase inflammation in the body.
- Sugar –Although a sweet candy or pastry may please the taste buds, they can also increase inflammation in the body that can worsen arthritis symptoms.
- High fructose corn syrup –This compound is present in many pre-packaged foods. Many experts feel it is the culprit behind the increasing rates of type-2 diabetes in adults, because it is absorbed into the bloodstream so quickly.
- Artificial trans fats –These compounds are included in many products on the supermarket shelves. They are often listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
- Vegetable oils –These oils, made from corn or soybean oil, contain omega-6 fatty acids, which are associated with a number of negative health effects.
- Refines carbohydrates –These are carbohydrate components that have gone through the food manufacturing process, removing their fiber and many important nutrients.
- Processed meats –Any food that has gone through a preparing process, such as sausage, bacon, or smoked meats, has been cooked at high heat, which creates unhealthy chemicals that increase inflammation in the body.
You can reduce the amount of inflammation throughout your body by consuming foods that provide antioxidants, nutrients and compounds that produce beneficial biochemical processes. By limiting the amount of inflammatory compounds in your body, you will allow these beneficial compounds to provide their optimum effects to relieve pain, inflammation and problems with mobility.