More than 54 million American adults suffer from some form of arthritis according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, the CDC predicts that by the year 2040, an estimated 78 million adults are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
But experts say that eating the right, anti-inflammatory diet can help protect your joints and alleviate some of the symptoms of this potentially painful disease. These same anti-inflammatory foods can also stave off other dreaded diseases as well, because we know that inflammation plays a major role in almost every major disease. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it’s the culprit in many forms of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even depression.
According to Health Fitness Revolution, here are the top 10 foods and nutrients to eat to treat your arthritis — and improve your health:
- Foods rich in calcium. Dairy products that are low in fat like milk and yogurt are rich in calcium and vitamin D, which can help increase the strength in your bones and joints. If you are lactose intolerant take a supplement or eat leafy, green veggies.
- Vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin is essential to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Consume more fruits like strawberries, pineapples and kiwis.
- Broccoli. Aside from being rich in vitamin C, broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that can help prevent and slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.
- Garlic. Garlic contains diallyl disulfide, a compound that can help alleviate arthritis. Chop garlic into your pasta, soups and stews or take supplements such as Kyolic Aged Garlic extract. Adding garlic to your diet could benefit not only arthritis symptoms but also your overall health since it has also been associated with reduced risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
- Fish. Fatty fish contains inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce the inflammation in your joints and relieve pain. Aim for at least 4 ounces of fish, like salmon, herring, sardines or cod, twice weekly to reap the benefits.
- Soy. Like fish, soy also contains omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re aren’t a fan of fish, try eating soybeans with your meals. Soybeans are low in fat, with lots of protein and fiber.
- Tart cherries. You may find relief from these cherries that are chock full of powerful anthocyanins, antioxidants that give the cherries their red color. You can find tart cherry supplements at your health food store or eat the actual cherries themselves. Tart cherry juice is a great tasting option but look for the unsweetened variety.
- Green tea. Studies have shown that an antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) actually cancels the molecules that come together to cause joint damage. Green tea is also full of polyphenols that are great for healthy joints.
- Whole grains. Whole grains should be your new best friend. They contain a compound called CRP which can help reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Eating breakfast of whole grain cereal or oatmeal is a great way to introduce whole grains into your diet.
- Ginger. A recent study assessed the effects of ginger extract on patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. A whopping 63% experienced improvements in knee pain after only six weeks. You can consume ginger in fresh, powdered or dried form or use the extract itself.
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