The number of adults suffering with arthritis has been increasing rampantly, and in the US alone, it increases 1 million each year, according to the recent stats released by the CDC. Arthritis is not just a minor pain associated with old age, but rather a complex musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than a 100 different conditions that can affect anyone, regardless of age, race or gender. Most people rely on over-thecounter drugs for immediate relief while others begin by changing their nutritional intake with anti-inflammatory foods.
Arthritis is a joint disorder wherein joints become inflamed and painful. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Several symptoms include joint pain, inflammation around the joints and muscle strains. There is no actual cure for arthritis, but there are various treatment options that could reduce inflammation and minimize the pain -- including physical and occupational therapy, medications and dietary changes.
Foods can either spur or curb inflammation, thus we should be careful in choosing what we should include in our daily diet. Always seek the advice of your doctor or dietician before changing your diet and taking supplements. Listed below are nutrient-rich foods that can help calm the pain of arthritis and enhance our health as a whole.
Most people are not aware that spices are part of nutrition. Spices are derived from plants and they too can have powerful effects on the body.
● Garlic - based on several researches, garlic has been found very helpful in alleviating arthritis. This may be due to garlic’s sulfur content, which has been known in relieving certain arthritis symptoms. It also works similarly like NSAID pain medication (like Ibuprofen) by shutting off the pathways that lead to inflammation.
● Onions - this pungent bulb contains anti-inflammatory chemicals, which include the phytonutrient quercetin and the compound allicin. When these compounds break down, they produce free-radical fighting sulfenic acid.
● Ginger - contains chemicals that work similarly with anti-inflammatory medications. If taken in a supplement form, it has been shown to reduce inflammation.
● Turmeric - is a spice derived in Asia and usually used in Asian and Indian cooking. Several studies show that turmeric has the capability to suppress NF-Kappa B, which is a protein that regulates the immune system and triggers inflammation.
Extra virgin olive oil =>
In a recent study where a group of people started supplementing their diet with fish oil and olive oil, it was found that they achieved greater relief of pain and inflammation. The reason may be due to the compound oleocanthal, which gives olive oil its distinct taste and also provides a similar effect like NSAID painkillers in our body. It also has polyphenol, which is an antioxidant that protects the body against inflammation.
Another source of inflammation fighting healthy fats are nuts -- particularly almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts.
These are good sources of boron, which is a mineral that helps keeps bones strong and several arthritis symptoms minimal. Nuts also contain high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid and antioxidants, which help the body fight off and repair the damage caused by arthritis.
Omega fatty acids =>
Studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids, also known as the most powerful inflammatory compounds in food, help relieve pain and inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the polyunsaturated fats that work to decrease inflammation by means of inhibiting the production of enzymes and cytokines that erode the cartilage. Study participants reported reduced joint stiffness, swelling, tenderness and pain.
● Fish - Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids which combat joint pain and morning stiffness. Based on a study from the University of Maryland, people with rheumatoid arthritis were able to lower their dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) after taking fish oil as part of their daily diet.
● Anchovies - This is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. With as little as three and half ounces, anchovies contain almost a gram and half of omega-3. It helps regulate prostaglandins, which play a key role in the generation of inflammatory response.
● Shellfish - Shrimp and mussels are the best sources of shellfish, which ease achy joints and inflammation. Shrimp is also a great source of vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C.
There are several fruits proven to aid in fighting arthritis. Listed below are some of the fruits that are advisable to include in our daily diet.
● Apples - contains boron, which reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis and relieves pain
● Bananas - are good sources of arthritis-fighting vitamin B6, folate and vitamin C.
● Cantaloupe - contains large amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which help control oxidative and free radical damage that may contribute to arthritis.
● Grapes - are a good source of mineral boron, which is important in making bones stronger.
● Mangoes - are packed with antioxidants -- such as beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C -- which aids joints flexibility and may slow bone loss.
● Papaya - contains three times the RDA for the antioxidant Vitamin C and beta-carotene.
Tart cherries - have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food based on a recent study of Oregon Health and Science University.
David Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline. To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit http://www.healthline.com/.