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ARTHRITIS

FOODS THAT HARM

  • Red meat, butter, and other foods with saturated fats egg yolks
  • Processed foods that contain trans fats
  • Refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour

    FOODS THAT HEAL

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Trout
  • Anchovies
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwi
  • Pumpkin
  • Peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Collard greens
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Pineapple
  • Beans
  • Soy products Inflammation in one or more joints is known as arthritis
    There are two main types—osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
    Medications for the two types of arthritis are different but diet and lifestyle treatments are similar
    Osteoarthritis causes your joints to gradually lose their cartilage—the smooth, gel-like, shock-absorbing material that prevents adjacent bones from touching
    Most commonly affected are the fingers, knees, hips, neck, and spine
    (Carpal tunnel syndrome, a common condition of median nerve connecting the wrist and fingers to the forearm, may be caused by osteoarthritis, as well as by repetitive motions such as typing
    ) As cartilage loss continues, the friction of bone rubbing against bone can cause pain and joint instability
    It’s a degenerative disease, meaning that symptoms will continue to get worse over time
    Osteoarthritis may be the result of decades of joint wear and tear, though genetic factors, excess weight, and impairments in the body’s ability to repair cartilage may also play a role
    Some cases are linked to a specific cause, such as a previous injury to a joint; the overuse of a joint occupationally or athletically; or a congenital defect in joint structure
    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) develops when an overactive immune system attacks connective tissue in the joints and other organs, causing inflammation and pain
    The cause is believed to be the result of both genetic and environmental factors
    Symptoms vary, but can range from stiffness, inflammation, tenderness and warmth around the joints to severe pain, decreased range of motion, deformed joints, fever, fatigue and weight loss
    Rheumatoid arthritis may be diagnosed through blood tests or x-rays
    There is no cure for RA, but medications, therapies and surgery can help with pain management, minimize joint damage, and slow the progression of the disease

    Nutrition Connection

    There are certain nutrients that may help reduce inflammation in the joints and pain
    Here’s your guide to easing osteoarthritis with diet: Pump up antioxidants
    Eating more foods that are rich in antioxidant powerhouses like vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene can benefit people with arthritis by helping to manufacture collagen, reduce inflammation, and slow the progression of this debilitating disease
    The best food sources of these vitamins include citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, melons, pumpkin, broccoli, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cabbage

    QUICK TIP:

    Eat a fish a day The human body uses omega-3 fatty acids to manufacture prostaglandins, chemicals that play a role in many processes, including inflammation and other functions of the immune system
    Several studies have found that a diet that includes fish oil equivalent to the amount in an 8 oz (227 g) daily serving of fish may help relieve the painful symptoms of arthritis
    Add vitamin D and calcium
    Additionally, vitamin D and calcium may reduce your risk of arthritis and fortify weight-bearing joints that have deteriorated as a result of the disease
    To get more vitamin D and calcium, incorporate salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, dairy, egg yolks, collard greens, rhubarb, and spinach into your diet
    Look for omega-3s
    Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and minimize pain and swelling
    Enjoy fish like sardines, anchovies, and trout, as well as flaxseed, chia seed, and walnuts
    Fresh or powdered ginger adds a pleasant bite to many foods
    Incorporate more bromelain in your diet
    The bromelain enzyme in pineapple may also help cut down on swelling, so go for fresh, frozen, or canned pineapple without added sugar
    Find phytoestrogens
    Phytoestrogens may lower the risk of osteoarthritis and stave off the negative influence of estrogen on osteoarthritis-affected joints
    The two major classes of phytoestrogens are isoflavones and lignans
    Food sources include beans and soy
    Steer clear of saturated fats, omega-6 fats, trans fats, and refined carbs
    Saturated and omega- 6 fats found in red meat and egg yolks, as well as trans fats found in processed foods, may exacerbate inflammation
    Together with refined carbs such as sugar and white flour, they also lead to excess weight, which puts more pressure on your joints

    QUICK TIP:

    Distract yourself from pain When arthritis pain flares, avoid dwelling on it by keeping yourself occupied
    Any engaging activity such as reading, working a puzzle, watching TV, visiting friends, working on a craft, or going to an artistic performance can help
    If you’re stuck with nothing to do, try mind games such as counting backward from 100, listing the 50 states, or remembering the names of all your primary school teachers

    Beyond the Diet

    Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can be treated with medications (including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or, for rheumatoid arthritis, steroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors) or surgery, if severe
    Engage in regular, gentle exercise
    Easy-on-the-body exercises such as tai chi, yoga, and swimming can help manage symptoms of arthritis
    Drop some pounds
    Even a little extra weight, strains the knees and hips
    Following a healthy diet, losing weight and increasing exercise often improves symptoms
    Apply ice or heat
    Ice is one of nature’s painkillers and helps reduce inflammation
    Use ice for acute, occasional pain and apply heat for more chronic aches
    Seek physical therapy
    Working with a physical therapist can help you learn how to maintain flexibility in your joints
    Look into alternative interventions
    Some people with arthritis find pain relief from acupuncture, tai chi, yoga and nutritional supplements like glucosamine sulfate
    Walk barefoot
    Going shoeless reduces the load on knee joints, minimizing pain and disability from osteoarthritis by 12% compared to walking with shoes
    That’s the finding from a study conducted by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago