There are a lot of diets and recommendations out there, but when it comes to managing joint inflammation, the bulk of the research supports a Mediterranean diet. What does that mean? Basically, just cut back on the meats and sweets, and step up your game with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, legumes, and fish. Here’s what you need to know about anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help you better manage your 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 helps reduce joint swelling and pain, duration of morning stiffness and disease activity among people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
02 Nuts and seeds are a fantastic source of omega 3s, vitamin B6, and inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fat.
Arthritis.org recommends eating 1.5 ounces of nuts daily (one ounce is about one handful). Although they’re relatively high in fat and calories, studies show noshing on nuts also promotes weight loss because their protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats make them a satisfying snack.
03 Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which has properties similar to nonsteroidal, 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, to figure out what your body’s most sensitive too, and which anti-inflammatory foods work best for you.
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