Grapefruits are full of vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, vitamins C and E, niacin and pantothenic acid. Studies show that grapefruit can help to reduce the inflammation and pain in joints caused by arthritis. The high levels of vitamin C in grapefruit are also shown to be key in the formation of both collagen and proteoglycans, two major components of cartilage tissue that provide the cushion-like function and lubrication necessary for joint movement and proper function (26).
Studies show that a substance called C-reactive protein (CRP), which is produced by your liver, can increase inflammation in your body (27). Beans are not only an excellent source of fiber, but they also help to lower CRP, according to numerous studies.
One 2012 study published in The Journal of Food Composition and Analysis looked at the nutrient content of 10 common beans. IT found that they are full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that can lower CRP (28).
Strawberries contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanidins, which not only give fruit like cherries, raspberries and strawberries their natural reddish color, but help to reduce inflammation. A 2007 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows that people who eat more strawberries tend to have lower CRP levels (29).
Carrots are full of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in your liver. They also contain beta-cryptoxanthin, another powerful antioxidant in the carotenoid family. A 2003 study published in Phototherapy Research shows that people who eat more foods containing beta-cryptoxanthin are better protected against arthritis. In fact, the effects from eating carrots are “significant when compared to Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Celebrex.” (30)
Celery is most commonly associated with dieting because it is so high in fiber and low in calories, but this crunchy vegetable has some powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can also help to lower inflammation, according to studies.
Researchers showed that certain unique polysaccharides in celery, like apiuman, produce significant anti-inflammatory effects.
As well, scientists have identified at least 12 other types of antioxidants in celery that include dihydrostilbenoids like lunularin, as well as furanocoumarins like bergapten and psoralen.
These antioxidants protect you against oxidative damage and inflammation to your cells, blood vessels, and organs (31).
18. Brussel Sprouts
While Brussel sprouts are not always a favorite at the dinner table, these potent cruciferous vegetables are filled with sulforaphane, a substance known to help slow the cartilage damage in your joints caused by osteoarthritis. According to a 2013 study, this powerful substance can block any inflammation and protect against cartilage destruction (32).
Turmeric is probably one of the most widely known and studied substances for fighting inflammation. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is responsible for a laundry list of health benefits, including powerful anti-inflammatory properties. A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences even claims that curcumin may be beneficial for managing chronic inflammatory-related joint disease (33).
You don’t need to take a lot of this spice to experience its many health benefits. According to experts, just 50 milligrams of turmeric over a period of several months (equivalent to approximately 1/50th of a teaspoon) can do the trick (34).
Pineapple contains a potent digestive enzyme called bromelain, which studies show has immune-modulating abilities. Bromelain helps by regulating your immune response, which, if left unchecked, is responsible for creating excessive inflammation. This can help ease pain. Pineapple is also a significant source of vitamin C, a known antioxidant that can help prevent and reduce inflammation (35). You can eat fresh pineapple or take a bromelain supplement of 500 mg to 2,000 mg, three times daily between meals.
Bananas are a wonderful food to eat on the go, especially if you are looking for a quick energy boost. They are high in potassium, as well as many other vitamins and minerals your body needs like folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Bananas are also full of other potent antioxidants like dopamine and catechins that are linked to countless health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and degenerative diseases like arthritis (36, 37).
Mangoes are high in a number of antioxidants like vitamins E and C. They are also filled with beta-carotene, which is known to help prevent arthritis. Several studies also show that mangos contain powerful polyphenols that may even limit inflammatory responses in both cancerous and non-cancerous breast cells (38).
These tasty fruits are also shown to inhibit intestinal inflammation in animal studies (39). When in season, just add fresh mango to salads or eat on its own. You can also drink fresh mango juice in a highly nutritious, anti-inflammatory smoothie or on its own.
23. Sweet Potatoes
Like all orange and brightly colored foods, sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant linked to lowering inflammation. In fact, in some cases, a single serving of sweet potatoes can provide up to 90 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. They are also packed with fiber, as well as a number of other beneficial vitamins and minerals (40).
Just cut sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch slices and steam for 7 minutes to bring out their amazing flavor and bounty of nutrition. For a little zest, add a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or cloves.
Walnuts contain the most omega-3s of any other nuts. Like many of the other foods in this list, walnuts are shown in studies to help lower CRP, a marker for inflammation that is associated with an increased risk of arthritis and cardiovascular disease (41). Walnuts are more anti-inflammatory than other nuts because they contain substantial amounts of α-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant omega-3 fatty acid that is one of the more anti-inflammatory fatty acids (42, 43).
Walnuts are also a significant source of ellagic acid, which is known to have potent anti-inflammatory properties in studies (44, 45). Eat a handful of walnuts daily to stave off hunger pangs, or add them to your dishes for a nutritional, anti-inflammatory meal.
An apple a day really does keep the doctor away. According to studies, apples are a significant source of iron and vitamins. They are rich in phytochemicals, including the flavonoids quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid (46). Apples help fight inflammation in several ways.
First, apples have the ability to help form hemoglobin in your blood, which improves its oxygen carrying capacity. This, in turn, helps lower inflammation, including in your joints.
Secondly, the high polyphenol content in apples helps to reduce pain and inflammation (47). In fact, a recent study has even shown that apple polyphenols may have a protective effect on exercise-induced muscle damage (48).
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that eating apples can reduce the cellular markers of inflammation and regulate gut bacteria (49).
You can eat apples raw or cooked, juiced, whole or pureed. Anyway, you want to eat them, they will improve your health.
26. Bone Broth
Homemade chicken soup is one of the healthiest things you can eat when you are sick. The reason is because it is typically made from simmering a chicken carcass for several hours to create a nice, rich broth. Broth made from animal bones contains numerous minerals in an easily digestible and absorbable form—calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur, and others.
The bones contain chondroitin sulfates, and glucosamine, all the same compounds touted in supplements for inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain (50). All of the nutrients, as well as the collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine, work together to heal inflammation. You can easily make bone broth and use it as the base for any soups, sauces or other dishes you eat every day.
27. Coconut Oil
The benefits of coconut oil are enormous. Apart from turmeric, coconut oil is probably one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It treats an astounding number of ailments and can act as a carrier oil for any number of spices, increasing its effectiveness. When coupled with turmeric, for example, the anti-inflammatory effects are substantially compounded (51).
On its own, coconut oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. One Indian study shows the high levels of antioxidants in virgin coconut oil can significantly reduce inflammation and heal arthritis more effectively than many of the most common conventional drugs used to treat arthritis (52).
And because coconut oil is shown to fight oxidative stress and free radicals, two key components of arthritis, coconut oil is the perfect natural remedy for inflammation caused by arthritis.
To include coconut oil in your diet, simply switch out all other oils, especially any oils you currently use to fry foods. You can also take a tablespoon of coconut oil daily by mixing it with warm milk and turmeric, a mixture known as Golden Milk. This is an unbeatable anti-inflammatory remedy that will also help you sleep.
28. Leafy Greens
Countless studies show the benefits of eating plenty of leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and chard. These vegetables are extremely rich in antioxidants that not only protect your cells from oxidative stress, but they can help restore cellular health.
They are also full of anti-inflammatory flavonoids that can protect your entire body from deadly inflammation. These greens contain numerous vitamins like vitamins A, C, and K, which studies show can also protect your brain and all of your vital organs and systems from oxidative stress and inflammation caused by free radical damage (53).
You can add leafy greens to any meal. Eat them raw in salads or add them to eggs, as a pizza topping, or as a stuffing in meat dishes. If you find it hard to get enough greens into your diet, try juicing them. Add them to juiced fruits for a delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory smoothie.
29. Chia Seeds
These tiny little seeds are jam-packed with beneficial fatty acids. Chia seeds are even referred to as one of the super foods. They provide both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in perfect proportions (54).
Apart from the essential fatty acids, alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, chia seeds are rich in antioxidants. Plus, they are full of powerful anti-inflammatory agents and vitamins A, B, E, and D. They also contain a bounty of minerals, including sulphur, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin and thiamine.
Chia seeds become “mucilaginous” (gluey) when mixed with water so make sure to eat them right away after mixing in liquid. They will absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, so they are also perfect to mix with any baked goods to keep them nice and moist.
You can also mix chia seeds or use a ground chia flour in things like your favorite muffin recipe. You can even sprinkle a handful of chia seeds on your yogurt or salad.
Tomatoes are one of those foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet. They are extremely versatile as well as delicious and they come in a variety of types, colors, and sizes. When it comes to health, tomatoes are just as valuable. They are widely shown in countless studies to be potent antioxidants, including a bounty of lycopene, which new studies have linked to bone health and osteoporosis (56).
Although raw tomatoes are perfectly nutritious, cooking tomatoes actually increases their lycopene content, according to studies, so make sauces, soups or simply sauté your tomatoes for extra nutrition and anti-inflammatory benefits (57).
There you have it! Eat one or more of the ingredients above daily and that stubborn joint pain will be gone in no time! If you only have to pick one, go for the turmeric! It’ll have the biggest impact by far!