Arthritis is a family of musculoskeletal disorders that consists of more than 100 different conditions, affecting people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.
Of the many forms arthritis can take, the three most common forms are osteoarthritis (a progressive degenerative joint disease), rheumatoid arthritis (a systemic disease characterized by chronic inflammation), and juvenile arthritis (an umbrella term used to describe forms of arthritis that affect children under the age of 16).
Rheumatoid arthritis in particular is notoriously difficult to manage, especially because so many of the foods we eat today can exacerbate chronic inflammation.
Fortunately, there are just as many foods that are good for chronic inflammation, and there’s concrete science to back up their effects.
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, and people living with other chronic pain diseases that are linked to inflammation (such as fibromyalgia), can follow a diet that can help them manage their conditions. Here are some foods to start with when you’re planning a diet to help manage chronic inflammation and pain.
Commonly used in making curries and other Indian dishes, turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Studies have shown that turmeric can be effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other inflammatory conditions.[1,2]
Coriander is commonly used as an antimicrobial agent, but it also contains compounds which produce a mild anti-inflammatory effect. It is often used in the management of arthritis and other inflammatory disorders due to it’s anti-granuloma activities.
3. Olive Oil
Freshly-pressed olive oil has been shown to have ibuprofen-like properties, primarily due to the compound oleocanthal. Switching out fats like margarine for the leaner option of extra-virgin olive oil is not only good for your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but for your joints as well.
4. Green Tea
One the most commonly consumed drink in the world after water, tea is a common source of antioxidants, especially green tea. But the health benefits of green tea go beyond just that – it can also help with weight management, which is vital for those dealing with chronic joint pain, and serve as an anti-inflammatory agent for cardiovascular protection.
As an herbal medicinal product, ginger shares many characteristics with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and has fewer side effects.
Recent studies have shown that dietary supplementation with fresh pineapple juice can decrease inflammation in mice. The reason? An enzyme complex known as bromelain, which has significant potential for clinical applications.[8,9]
Studies have shown that blueberries – in particular wild blueberries – are a good source of antioxidants, which can help reduce the damage done by eating high-fat meals and reduce your risk of degenerative diseases.
Rosemary extract has been proven to help alleviate pain symptoms in patients suffering from arthritis, but its benefits don’t end here – studies have shown that when used in aromatherapy sessions, rosemary essential oils can have a significant impact on symptoms of pain and depression, improving the overall life satisfaction of arthritis patients.[11, 12]
With good nutritive value and high antioxidant activity, kale – especially when eaten raw – can help neutralize free radicals and protect your body from cell degeneration.