Pineapple: This Fruit’s Enzymes Can Decrease Swelling
Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and the enzyme bromelain, which has been linked to decreased pain and swelling in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, Sandon says. So, add this tropical fruit to your diet every chance you get. Try it cubed in fruit salad, baked in savory dishes, blended into a smoothie, or added to stir-fries to give a sweet-and-sour zing.
Bromelain is also available in supplement form, but check with your doctor before taking it because it can increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you also take blood thinners such as Plavix , Coumadin, or aspirin. Bromelain may also interfere with the action of antibiotics and sedatives.
Search For Rheumatologists Near You And Schedule Your Next Appointment Today
Dietary choices are always important to overall health, but if you have arthritis, the foods you choose can have a surprising impact on your joint health. You may find some arthritis trigger foods cause pain, stiffness, and swelling, while others actually alleviate your symptoms.
There are several common trigger foods to avoid if you have arthritis. For happier, healthier joints, try these simple food swaps.
Evidence About Diet And Arthritis
People with gout may find that avoiding certain foods, in combination with gout medication, may prevent a gout attack.
However, theres no substantial scientific evidence that other forms of arthritis can be improved or alleviated by avoiding particular foods.
There is no conclusive evidence that the following foods trigger or aggravate the symptoms associated with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions:
- acidic foods such as lemons, oranges and tomatoes
- nightshade foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants
These foods all contain important nutrients and avoiding them may cause other health problems.
People who have an intolerance to certain foods have found that excluding them from their diet can make them feel better overall. However, its unclear how this affects arthritis symptoms. If youre thinking of excluding foods from your diet, speak with a dietitian to make sure youre not eliminating important nutrients.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake And Up Your Exercise
Its not just about getting the right vegetables in your diet. You also need to look at the foods that are possibly causing your rheumatoid arthritis and consider other ways to help improve your health.
One of the main food groups that you want to avoid is added sugar. Unnatural sugar processes in the body differently to natural sugar, since most natural sugar includes plenty of fiber. The refined sugar goes straight to the bloodstream and sets off the insulin response. The body must combat that, and it can lead to the immune system setting off the inflammatory response. Even if you have a healthy diet in other ways, too much sugar is going to make your rheumatoid arthritis worse.
And while the diet can be beneficial, it isnt a magic cure. You will still need to improve your overall lifestyle. Adding more exercise, reducing your alcohol intake, and quitting smoking are three things that you can do. Exercise is one of the most beneficial as it helps to boost the blood flow around your system. When you have better blood flow, you reduce the amount of pain that you feel. You also improve the release of happy hormones, which include the bodys natural painkillers.
What Is The Arthritis Diet
For people with arthritis, following an anti-inflammatory diet may help with managing symptoms such as pain and swelling. Many of these foods are found in the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruit, vegetables, beans, fish, and healthy fats such as olive oil, notesDeborah McInerney, clinical nutritionist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
Those with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of heart disease because they experience systemic, or body-wide, inflammation. Therefore, a heart-healthy diet can help manage arthritis symptoms and lower the risk of developing other chronic illnesses such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, says Hinkley.
People with obesity are at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis because carrying extra weight puts more strain on the joints, especially those in the lower body, Hinkley adds. Due to that elevated risk, those with osteoarthritis often benefit from following a heart-healthy diet due to its ability to help with weight loss.
Citrus Fruits Vitamin C Is An Important Ingredient In Tissue Repair
Citrus foods, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and limes, are rich in vitamin C. This dietary component is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which helps build and repair blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone, and is therefore helpful for people with osteoarthritis, Sandon says.
Citrus fruits are also good sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, which are helpful for those with rheumatoid arthritis.
So start your day with a glass of orange juice, have half a grapefruit for a snack, and squeeze lime or lemon juice on foods when youre cooking to take advantage of the healing power of citrus. Aim for a total vitamin C intake of 75 milligrams per day for adult women, and 90 mg per day for adult men, the current U.S. recommended dietary allowance. If you are pregnant, aim for 85 mg and if you are lactating, 120 mg.
How Added Sugar May Worsen Arthritis Symptoms
Consuming too much processed sugar causes the body to release pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines, says Bruning. Cytokine levels are already high when you have inflammatory arthritis that chronic inflammation is what causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints.
Overindulging in high-sugar foods also stokes your appetite and can cause weight gain. Added sugar contributes calories with no nutritional value, explains Joy Dubost PhD, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and food scientist in the New York City area. When youre overweight or obese, that fatty tissue produces hormones that can put you into more of an inflammatory state.
In fact, a review of research found obesity can lead to more active and severe rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. Extra weight also puts more pressure and stress on the joints, which can worsen the pain and stiffness associated with inflammatory arthritis, say experts.
Another effect of too much sugar in your diet: too many harmful compounds called AGEs form in the blood, which also contribute to chronic inflammation.
Antioxidants Which Help Quell Inflammation Are Plentiful In Fruits And Other Food Sources
The most troubling symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis pain, stiffness, and swelling stem from the same source: inflammation. What to do? Part of the answer may involve your diet.
Findings from a study published in April 2021 in Arthritis Research & Therapy, showed that patients with rheumatoid arthritis had significantly more pro-inflammatory diets, and those individuals with RA who were able to lower diet-associated inflammation between 2011 and 2017 were also able to maintain low disease activity. That particular result was extraordinarily strong and consistent as indicated by more than 3.5 times greater odds of maintaining good control over the disease compared with those who did not adopt a more anti-inflammatory diet, said study coauthor James R. Hébert, MSPH, ScD, Health Sciences Distinguished Professor and director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Even more important, since the study was conducted over a number of years, it shows that the beneficial effect of a low inflammatory diet is long-term. Because such a diet can be extraordinarily diverse and sensually pleasing, it can be very easy to maintain over very long periods of time, added Hébert, via email.
Healthy Eating And Arthritis
Your body works best when you eat a wide range of healthy foods. Most people find that they feel better if they eat a balanced and varied diet to get all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients their body needs.
Try to eat a Mediterranean-style diet which includes fish, pulses, nuts, olive oil and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Eating a balanced diet and having an adequate fluid intake can also help provide you with better energy levels, help to maintain your weight, and give you a greater sense of wellbeing, which may improve your symptoms.
Always seek the advice of your doctor or dietitian before changing your diet. You may be restricting your food intake unnecessarily or taking too much of certain products that may have no impact on your condition at all. Some supplements may also interact with your medication.
Recommended Reading: Does Acupuncture Help Rheumatoid Arthritis
Is There A Link Between Nightshade Vegetables And Inflammation
Some people feel that eating foods from the nightshade family, also known as solanaceous vegetables, may make their arthritis worse. But research has shown that there is no link between inflammation and solanaceous vegetables.
Examples of nightshade vegetables include:
Its possible to have food allergies that are linked to the nightshade family, so if youre concerned about this, we recommend you speak to a healthcare professional.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with important vitamins and minerals that you need for a balanced diet. So, if you’re considering cutting them out, you should speak to a healthcare professional first.
Do Any Foods Make Arthritis Worse
Some people feel that certain foods are bad for arthritis and that cutting them out helps with their symptoms. Some of the foods people worry about include:
- citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit
- vegetables from the nightshade family including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, chillies and aubergines
- gluten, a protein found in pasta, bread and cereals.
Theres no evidence that diets where certain foods are cut out, also known as exclusion or elimination diets, are helpful for people with osteoarthritis. They have been shown to sometimes help people with rheumatoid arthritis, though the food that may cause symptoms is likely to be different for each person.
This could be for a number of reasons, including the person being allergic or intolerant to the food they cut out, rather than being directly related to the arthritis. If healthy foods are not affecting your symptoms, you dont need to cut them out of your diet.
If you want to try cutting certain foods out of your diet to see if it improves your symptoms, the important thing to remember is to speak to a doctor or dietitian first. Theyll be able to support you and make sure youre trying out the change to your diet safely. Some foods are present in things we dont realise, so they can also help make sure you really are cutting out everything you plan to.
Dont Miss: How To Help Arthritis In Your Hands
Recommended Reading: How To Eat For Arthritis
How Diet Affects Ra
Although there is no demonstrable link between diet and RA, studies have shown that the type of inflammation experienced in RA could be modulated by certain foods. Increased inflammation has been attributed to processed foods or foods cooked at higher temperatures.
It is recommended to increase consumption of foods that are considered to be anti-inflammatory, such as fruits, veggies, and cold water fish . As a result, inflammatory symptoms may improve and possibly lead to fewer flare-ups.
Dont Miss: Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Make You Feel Tired
Look For Added Sugars On Food Labels
You never really know how much sugar a given food has until you read the nutrition facts label and ingredients list. Seemingly non-sugary foods like crackers, nut butters, or frozen dinners can have a lot more hidden added sugar than you might realize. Reading labels can give you a sense of whats in the foods you eat regularly so you can start comparing.
Youll start to see the new FDA-mandated nutrition facts panels on more packaged foods, which includes a separate line for grams of added sugar per serving. Companies have until January 1, 2020 to change their labels, though. If your favorite foods havent made the switch yet, you can check the manufacturers website for the info, suggest Dubost or look for a SmartLabel, where you can scan a QR or digital code on the package and get detailed information on the product.
Healthy Weight And Arthritis
If youre overweight or obese, the extra load on your joints may be making your arthritis symptoms worse, especially if the affected joints include your hips, knees, feet or spine. Theres also a clear link between being overweight and an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.
To lose excess weight you need to be active, but this can be challenging for people with arthritis due to pain or stiffness. See your doctor, dietitian or health professional for information and advice.
Best Fish For Arthritis
Adding more marine life to your meals could help calm inflammation
Arthritis is for the most part a disease of inflammation. When your joints swell, turn red and feel warm to the touch, what youre witnessing and feeling are inflammatory processes in motion.
One way to calm inflammation is with medicine your doctor prescribes. Another way is to add a few key anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Among the most potent edible inflammation fighters are essential fatty acids called omega-3s particularly the kinds of fatty acids found in fish.
Omega-3s and Inflammation
Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are called marine fatty acids because they come from fish. What makes these omega-3 sources worthwhile menu additions for people with arthritis is their ability to inhibit inflammation. Omega-3s interfere with immune cells called leukocytes and enzymes known as cytokines, which are both key players in the bodys inflammatory response.
The marine omega-3 fatty acids nip inflammation in the bud before it ignites. They really help to tamp down inflammation in the body on a cellular level, says Kim Larson, a Seattle-based nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson.
Research finds that people who regularly eat fish high in omega-3s are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis . And in those who already have the disease, marine omega-3s may help reduce joint swelling and pain.
Which Fish are Best?
Farm-Raised, or Wild-Caught?
Read Also: What Foods Are Not Good For Arthritis
What Fruits Are Bad For Arthritis
If youre an avid fruit lover who also suffers from arthritis, has the question of what fruits are bad for arthritis ever crossed your mind? If so, youre right in your cautious assumptions that some fruits you regularly eat might be aggravating your arthritis. Even though many fruits contain essential vitamins and minerals which help to fight inflammation, many others have been reported to aggravate the inflammatory symptoms of arthritis.
These fruits are found in the nightshade family and produce a natural chemical called Solanine. Solanine is used by plants as a defense system against fungus and other pests and therefore, triggers inflammation in some individuals with arthritis. Being aware of Solanine containing foods and how to substitute them will save you a lot of pain if they worsen your arthritis. Want to know more about the harmful effects some fruits may be having on your arthritis? If so, read on to understand how to identify these fruits and substitute them for safer alternatives.
Canola And Olive Oils
Skip the vegetable oil or corn oil and reach for these two varieties, which have a good balance of the omega-3 and omega-6 acids, both of which are essential fatty acids. Studies have found that a component in olive oil called oleocanthal has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to be especially good for heart health, too, Dunn says.
Read Also: Can Cracking Your Back Cause Arthritis
Onions Garlic Leeks And Shallots
Allium vegetables, such as shallots, onions, leeks and garlic, are succulently pungent and brimming with quercetin, a highly beneficial and powerful antioxidant. Research reveals that quercetin is capable of eliminating the symptoms of inflammation caused by ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis.
These vegetables also contain diallyl disulphine, a naturally occurring compound that is capable of reducing the enzymes that cause severe damage to the cartilage. You can enjoy these vegetables to make delicious soups, sauces and casserole meals.
The Myths About Nightshade Vegetables
Nightshade vegetables, such as potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers, are packed with solanine, a chemical that supposedly tends to worsen the pain-related symptoms of arthritis, along with triggering inflammation. So, should one avoid nightshade vegetables all together?
There is very little evidence to validate the above mentioned claim through scientific data. It may have proven true for some individuals, but no studies have been conducted to prove that nightshade vegetables actually worsen the symptoms or cause inflammation.
If anything, research claims that nightshade vegetables are brimming with essential nutrients, and they are a very beneficial addition to our daily diets. However, if you feel they are triggering or worsening arthritis-related symptoms and pain, avoid eating them.
You May Like: What Foods Reduce Arthritis Inflammation
Is There An Ra Diet
In one study of women with RA, those who took a cooking class on Mediterranean-style foods and ate that way for 2 months had less joint pain and morning stiffness and better overall health than those who didnât take the class.
Aim to eat a healthy diet with:
- Lots of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. They should make up two-thirds of your plate.
- Low-fat dairy and lean proteins, which should make up one-third
- Small amounts of saturated and trans fats
- Limited alcohol
Although no food plans are proven to help with RA, you may read about some that claim to do so or about people with RA who say a diet worked for them.
Before you try one, itâs a good idea to discuss it with your doctor, especially if it calls for large doses of supplements or cuts out entire food groups.
Instead of getting fixated on fasting or finding the perfect foods, be sensible about eating. Don’t make huge changes to your diet. Don’t skip meals. Eat three healthy meals and a couple of small snacks a day, says M. Elaine Husni, MD, director of the Cleveland Clinicâs Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Treatment Center.