If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, only you know just how much it impacts your daily life. It can be quite uncomfortable and even prevent you from attending major events in your life.
According to recent statistics by the Central for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 23% of the nation's population has been diagnosed with arthritis. This is over 54 million people!
Arthritis is one of the most common ailments, yet most people are unaware of how simple diet changes can help treat their symptoms. One of the most common causes of arthritis pain is poor diet. Diet and nutrition have been most closely linked to the onset of gout. Certain types of food can increase inflammation, thus worsen symptoms of arthritis and provoke a response from the immune system.
You should avoid foods that are:
- Fried or processed
- Filled with sodium and preservatives
With all the restrictions on what you cannot eat, you might be wondering what few options you have left. There are plenty of healthy and delicious options to incorporate into your diet that will not increase your symptoms or risk of arthritis. Here is a list of the top ten foods you should eat:
- 1. Fish:
There is a variety of fish you can incorporate into your diet including salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout. Fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Dishes including fish are also high in vitamin D. Therefore, regular consumption of fish can reduce vitamin D deficiencies as well.
- 2. Foods with garlic:
Garlic has been known to have plenty of health benefits. For instance, it has cancer-fighting properties and can reduce symptoms of heart disease and dementia. Garlic is also anti-inflammatory and may strengthen the immune system. Garlic is mostly used as a spice and can even be the main ingredient in several recipes.
- 3. Foods with ginger:
Ginger has been associated with reducing inflammation and symptoms of arthritis. It can either be consumed in a fresh, powdered, or dried form. It is commonly used to add flavor to teas, soups, and sweets.
- 4. Broccoli:
Broccoli is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, although there have not been definite results on this topic. However, it does contain compounds that can reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Broccoli can be consumed by itself or in several recipes.
- 5. Walnuts:
Walnuts are full of nutrients and compounds that can help reduce symptoms related to arthritis. Like fish, walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. Walnuts can be eaten as snacks or in baking.
- 6. Berries:
Berries are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that have great health benefits. Two of those compounds are quercetin and ruin. Researchers believe that all of these together account for the role berries can play in reducing arthritis symptoms.
- 7. Spinach:
Spinach, among with other leafy greens have been shown to reduce inflammation. Studies show that the daily intake of fruits and vegetables is quite effective at reducing symptoms. Spinach can be incorporated into baked goods and plenty of recipes.
- 8. Grapes:
Grapes, like berries, are high in antioxidants and have high anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown that grapes possess compounds that are very useful in the treatment of arthritis. Grapes can be eaten as a snack or in the form of raisins.
- 9. Olive oil:
Olive oil is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Consumption of this oil can also lower your risk for arthritis. Olive oil can be substituted for other forms of oil and used in baking and recipes.
- 10. Cherry juice:
Cherry juice is a popular drink derived from the Prunus cerasus tree. This juice has an array of health benefits and is packed with nutrients. If consumed regularly, this drink may decrease your symptoms of arthritis and decrease inflammation.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is the inflammation and tenderness of the joints (the area where 2 or more bones meet). However, the name, "arthritis" is commonly used as an umbrella term to describe over 200 existing conditions that affect joints, the surrounding tissues, and connective tissues.
Arthritis is known as a rheumatic condition. A rheumatic condition is one that is painful and can affect any of the joints, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, or muscles in your body. Also called musculoskeletal diseases, rheumatic conditions can onset suddenly or gradually. In some cases, they can also involve the immune system as well as other internal organs.
Forms of Arthritis
There are four common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease is a condition in which cartilage (protective tissue at the ends of bones) gradually erodes over time. This condition worsens as time progresses.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain in the hands, lower back, neck, knees, or hips. There are four stages of this condition based on its progression and severity.
Gout, also known as gouty arthritis occurs when excess uric acid crystallizes and deposits on the joints. It is known for only affecting one joint at a time and the most commonly afflicted joint is the big toe.
The symptoms are not continuous and come in the form of sudden, severe attacks involving inflammation, redness, pain, and tenderness on the affected joint. Acute attacks have milder symptoms and can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications.
Fibromyalgia, also called fibrositis is a disorder involving widespread musculoskeletal pain. The symptoms often include sleep, memory, fatigue, and mood issues. What is unique about this disorder is that it does not involve any inflammation at all. It is commonly believed that fibromyalgia influences your perception of pain, therefore amplifying it.
While this is not an autoimmune disorder, it can occur simultaneously with other disorders. Fibromyalgia is treated through talk therapy, medications, and stress reduction.
- Rheumatoid arthritis:
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system of our body mistakenly attacks the linings of specific joints. This disorder is long-term and involves heated, swollen, and painful joints. This form of arthritis most commonly affects the wrists and hands on both sides of the body.
If this condition is left untreated, it can result in major damage to the joints and organs in your body.
Risk factors of arthritis include:
Age is one of the most common risk factors for arthritis. The likelihood of being diagnosed with this condition increases as you age. Older people are more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis. The age range for arthritis is from ages 25-74.
There are plenty of reasons for why this occurs, however, the main reason is that our bones get weaker as we age. This makes it easier for our joints to erode and can lead to various forms of arthritis.
Your gender impacts whether you are more prone to being diagnosed with a particular form of arthritis. For instance, women are more commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or osteoarthritis while men are more afflicted by gout. It is not exactly known for sure why this gender preference occurs.
It is important to monitor your weight, especially at an older age. This is because having excess pounds can put a strain on your bones and joints. The joints that may be most affected are your knees, spine, and hips.
Being obese or overweight puts a person more at risk for developing arthritis. Studies have shown that being just 10 pounds overweight can greatly affect the amount of pressure being put on your joints and bones.
Some forms of arthritis are genetically inherited. This means that if a family member was diagnosed with the condition, there is a possibility that you might develop it as well. If exposed to the same environmental conditions, there is a high chance you might develop arthritis. The form of arthritis that is most commonly known to be genetic is rheumatoid arthritis.
- Previous injury:
If you have ever injured a joint, you may be more susceptible to developing arthritis on that specific joint. This joint has already been weakened and if you are at a later age, it may not heal sufficiently. Therefore, it is an optimal location for arthritis to develop.
Typical Causes of Arthritis
There is most often not one specific cause for the development of arthritis. The causes vary in terms of the form of arthritis, however here are a few common causes and the forms they are associated with:
- Injury: degenerative arthritis
- Inheritance: osteoarthritis
- Immune system dysfunction: rheumatoid arthritis
- Infections: Lyme disease arthritis
- Abnormal metabolism: gout
Many forms of arthritis are accompanied by a variety of symptoms that cannot be traced to one specific cause. Some may even be unpredictable.
As mentioned before, individuals with the genes for arthritis may be more susceptible if met with the same environmental conditions such as smoking, infection, injuries, and high physical-demand occupations.
Early Signs of Arthritis
Arthritis can onset either suddenly or gradually. Regardless, arthritis is mostly a chronic disease and symptoms can disappear quickly or persist for durations of time. Here are a few warning signs to look out for if you believe you may be at risk of arthritis:
Pain can affect multiple regions of your body or just one. It can also be persistent or inconsistent.
Some types of arthritis involve inflammation and redness in the affected region of your body. This area may become very warm to the touch.
Stiffness occurs when it feels as if your joint is frozen. This may feel uncomfortable and occur at random times during the day. It mostly occurs after exercise or following any strenuous physical activity.
- Difficulty moving joint:
If you are having issues moving your joint and this has been occurring often, you might have a joint problem. Be sure to contact your primary care physician.
This article has not been paid for by any advertiser. Living.Guide does not endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. This content is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice or analysis.