Foods for Arthritis Pain
Q: I have arthritis. Is there a special diet or foods that can help reduce the pain?
Yes. Eating foods known to fight inflammation, a symptom of both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis, may ease pain. Eat several servings each week of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids such as wild Alaskan salmon and other cold-water fish, freshly ground flax-seed, omega-3-fortified eggs, and walnuts.
Season meals with ginger and turmeric as often as possible; these spices appear to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Eating five to nine daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables from across the color spectrum can ease arthritis discomfort. You may have heard that certain vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant, can worsen arthritis pain. However, I’ve seen little good scientific evidence to support this theory.
You’ll also want to limit foods that cause inflammation. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as corn and soy oils) and the partially hydrogenated oils found in many margarines, vegetable shortenings, and processed foods contain fats that promote inflammation.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, try eating fewer animal products: According to a small study, RA sufferers who followed a vegan diet had modest improvement in joint swelling. Of course, if you suspect a particular food is exacerbating your symptoms, there’s no harm in avoiding it for a few weeks and then reevaluating how you feel.
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Source: Andrew Weil, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona and director of its Program in Integrative Medicine.
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