Arthritis can be extremely painful, inconvenient, and frustrating. Regardless of where your arthritis flare-ups happen on your body, the pain and swelling can be devastating to experience.
Two of the most common types of arthritis that people experience are rheumatoid arthritis, which involves the immune system, and osteoarthritis, which involves the breaking down of your cartilage.
To find out more, we talked with a few dietitians to get their advice on the best eating habits you can adopt if you are currently living with arthritis.
Avoiding inflammatory foods.
Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements, who lives with rheumatoid arthritis herself, says that following an anti-inflammatory diet is ideal if you have arthritis.
“There are three primary food-types that should be avoided or reduced in the RA patient’s diet, which are refined carbs and sugar, gluten, and preservatives,” says Best. “Refined carbs and gluten are both highly inflammatory and can both trigger an arthritis flare or exacerbate the pain of a current flare-up.”
Eat more fish.
If you’re a lover of seafood, you’ll be relieved to know that eating fish can help ease the pain that arthritis brings.
“Fish is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and regular consumption of omega-3 rich fish has been linked to reduced joint swelling in people with arthritis,” says Paula Doebrich, RDN, MPH, and owner of Happea Nutrition.
Doebrich says that the best fish sources of omega-3s are fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines, or mackerel. If you’re not a seafood lover, you can always talk with your doctor about implementing an omega-3 supplement instead.
Here are 26 Best Omega-3 Foods to Fight Inflammation and Support Heart Health.
Incorporate nuts and seeds into your diet.
Just like fish, “nuts and seeds are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, that are known to reduce inflammation,” says Doebrich.
But that’s not the only thing that makes them a great choice for those with arthritis. According to Doebrich, “nuts and seeds are also a good source of selenium and vitamin E, which act as antioxidants in the body.”
The Cleveland Clinic notes that nuts not only contain healthy nutrients, but they’re high in protein and low in saturated fat, which makes them a good replacement for foods like red meat, which can cause flare-ups for those with arthritis.
Use olive oil.
Lastly, using olive oil as a replacement for butter or vegetable oil can help reduce swelling and pain that so often comes with arthritis.
“This is because olive oil is an excellent source of healthy, monounsaturated fats, and EVOO is also rich in antioxidants, which are known to be anti-inflammatory,” says Doebrich.
According to Cleveland Clinic, there is a compound in olive oil called oleocanthal that naturally helps reduce inflammation and can also be helpful for your heart health as well.
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