There are a lot of diets and recommendations out there, but when it comes to managing joint inflammation, the bulk of the research leans towards foods with anti-inflammatory properties. This means focusing less on meats and sweets, and more on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish. Here’s the rundown on anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help you better manage your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms.

01 Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation like there’s no tomorrow.

The American Heart Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend three to four ounces of fish, twice a week. Arthritis experts claim more is better. Not a fish fan? You’ve got options:

There’s also a strong body of research that says fish oil supplements help reduce joint swelling and pain, duration of morning stiffness, and disease activity among people with RA.

02 Nuts and seeds are a fantastic source of omega 3s, vitamin B6, and inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fat.

Arthritis.org recommends eating a handful (or about 1.5 oz) of nuts daily. Although they’re higher in fat and calories, studies show nuts promote weight loss. This is due to their make-up of protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.

03 Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which has properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs.

Go for the bottle that says extra virgin. It’s been through less refining and processing, so it’s got more nutrients than standard varieties. Arthritis.org recommends 2-3 tbsp a day.

04 Fruits with Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Anthocyanins found in cherries and other red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are known to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and limes are rich in vitamin C, which aids in preventing inflammatory arthritis and maintaining healthy joints.  Aim for 3-4 servings a day (one serving = 1 cup).

05 Veggies with Vitamin K

Other research suggests eating vitamin K-packed veggies (broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale, and cabbage), dramatically reduces inflammatory markers in the blood. Aim for 6 or more servings a day (one serving = 1 cup, or 2 cups for leafy greens).

06 Whole Grains

Some studies have shown that fiber and fiber-rich foods can lower blood levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. Eat foods made with the entire grain kernel, like whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, bulgur, brown rice, quinoa, but try to avoid refined carbs (found white bread, white rice, many kinds of cereal). You might also want to try a gluten-free diet. Gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains, has been linked to inflammation for some people. Bonus tip: Be sure to track what you’re eating along with how you’re feeling. This will help identify any sensitivities and which anti-inflammatory foods work best for you.

Want help eating healthier and managing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis? For a limited time, you can get a year of membership with Pack Health (and a complimentary kit with tools to help you track things like the foods you eat and how you feel) at no cost to you. Sign up here.

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