If you’re living with arthritis, then you’ve probably tried everything in the book to help cope with your chronic pain. From medications to therapy to surgery, treating arthritis pain can often feel like an uphill battle. However, by making small changes to your diet, you can drastically improve your arthritis pain. So what are the best foods to ease arthritis pain?
What we eat can have a profound impact on our bodies, especially for those with chronic inflammation from arthritis. Along with the use of medications, a proper diet can curb the inflammatory responses from the body that cause pain. While many factors play a role in inflammation, your diet is one easiest ways to relieve pain, as you can easily make changes to it.
5 Best Foods to Ease Arthritis Pain
Now that you know how certain foods can help ease arthritis pain, it’s time to go over what foods you should start incorporating into your diet.
One of the most important things to look for when finding the best foods to ease arthritis pain is foods that help reduce inflammation. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are your best bet when looking for anti-inflammatory foods. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation, such as inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines. Studies have shown consistently that there is a connection between higher omega-3 intake and reduced inflammation. This not only can help ease your arthritis pain but help prevent your symptoms from worsening.
It’s important to always talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or daily routines and to ensure that you are doing everything possible to help handle your arthritis properly. With that said, here’s our list of the five best foods to ease arthritis pain.
Fatty Fish Contain High Levels of Omega-3
Along with a plethora of known health benefits, certain fatty fish varieties have been shown to help with arthritis pain. Fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects.
In one small study, 33 participants were fed either fatty fish, lean fish, or lean meat four times each week. After eight weeks, the fatty fish group had decreased levels of specific compounds related to inflammation.
One analysis of 17 clinical studies found that taking a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement decreased joint pain intensity, morning stiffness, the number of painful joints, and the use of pain relievers in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Fatty fishes are also a great source of vitamin D, which is an essential part of a healthy body. Multiple studies have found that rheumatoid arthritis may be linked to vitamin D deficiency, which can make symptoms worse. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to autoimmune problems, certain cancers such as breast, prostate, or colon, and cardiovascular conditions.
Garlic Is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Food
Garlic is another food that has long been touted for its numerous health benefits. It grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its strong smell and delicious taste. However, throughout ancient history, the main use of garlic was for its health and medicinal properties.
One such medicinal property is its anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Garlic has long been thought to help with inflammation, which is why it lands on number two of our best foods to ease arthritis pain list. One study of 1,082 twins found that those who ate more garlic had a reduced risk of hip osteoarthritis, likely thanks to garlic’s strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Some research has also found that garlic may enhance the function of certain immune cells, which can help strengthen the immune system. Scientists believe that this may help prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases.
Garlic is also jam-packed with several essential nutrients. One clove of raw garlic contains manganese, vitamin B6, Vitamin C, selenium, and fiber. Garlic also contains trace amounts of several other nutrients such as potassium, iron, and phosphorus.
Walnuts Are High in Omega-3s
High in a type of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), walnuts are one of the best foods to ease arthritis pain. Walnuts have the highest omega-3 content of any nuts or seeds, which means they are a great anti-inflammatory snack.
One meta-analysis of 13 studies found that eating walnuts was associated with significantly lower levels of inflammation in patients with and without arthritis.
Another recent study of 90 patients with rheumatoid arthritis examined participants who took supplements of omega-3 fatty acids or olive oil (a popular anti-inflammatory food). Compared to the olive oil group, those who received omega-3 fatty acids experienced lower levels of pain and were able to reduce their use of arthritis medications. It’s important to note that this study examined omega-3 supplements, not raw walnuts. However, eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like walnuts, has been shown to have a similar effect.
Eating walnuts regularly has also been shown to lower cholesterol, relax blood vessels to lessen stress on the heart, and reduce blood pressure.
Green Tea Can Help With Chronic Inflammation
Green tea is probably the most well-known, scientifically-researched tea when it comes to reducing inflammation. It’s also thought to be one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, more commonly known as the tea plant, and is rich in micronutrients, which have been suggested to help slow the aging of the brain and improve brain function, help with weight loss, and reduce inflammation.
Green tea contains a natural antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This ingredient has been shown to stop the production of certain inflammatory chemicals in the body, including those involved in arthritis. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that EGCG “inhibited the production of several molecules in the immune system that contributes to inflammation and joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis.” The Arthritis Foundation has also backed these claims, adding it to their list of ‘Best Drinks for Arthritis’.
Ginger Can Add Some Spice Into Your Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Coming in at number five on our list of the best foods to ease arthritis pain is ginger. Ginger is another food that has long been used for its supposed medicinal properties. Ginger is a plant native to Asia. Its root is used to make the spice that we commonly associate with it.
Aside from its bold flavor which is typically used in teas, soups, and sweets, ginger may also help ease the symptoms of arthritis. A 2001 study examined the effects of ginger extract in 261 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. After six weeks, 63% of participants experienced improvements in knee pain.
Another study found that treating mice with ginger extract decreased levels of specific inflammatory markers typically associated with rheumatoid arthritis. While studies on ginger use for arthritis are limited, the evidence that exists suggests a probable link between the two.
Other benefits of regular ginger consumption include helping with nausea, weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels, and chronic indigestion.
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