Are you burdened by chronic stiffness and achiness? You’re not alone. One in 5 adults has been diagnosed with arthritis (inflammation in the joints) and the number climbs to 50% in those over 65. 1 Women are more susceptible than men due to genetic predisposition, hormones/menopause, pregnancy and physical structure.
There are two main types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is inflammation resulting from general “wear and tear” whereas rheumatoid arthritis is inflammation that stems from an immune disorder. (Lupus, gout and psoriatic arthritis are other forms.) Arthritis can be very painful and make day-to-day activities a challenge.
At the root of all types of arthritis is inflammation and following an anti-inflammatory diet can offer tremendous relief.
5 Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips for Arthritis Relief
1. Focus on fresh fruits and (non-nightshade) vegetables, beans, omega-3-rich seafood, organic/pastured meats and gluten-free whole grains.
2. Cut back on dairy, wheat and refined carbohydrates (including white sugar). These foods are notorious for causing flare-ups. Try eliminating them for a few weeks and see how you feel. If you decide to put them back into your diet, eat them occasionally – never as a staple. Instead, treat yourself with your favorite herbal tea or a natural dessert lightly sweetened with raw honey.
Note: If you cut out dairy be sure to include other sources of calcium such as dark leafy greens, broccoli and salmon.
3. Try eliminating nightshade vegetables. Nightshades often exacerbate arthritis symptoms.2 To see if you are among those who are sensitive, cut them out for a month and take note of how you feel. Plants in this family include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers (black pepper excluded) and tobacco.
4. Eat turmeric daily. This bright orange-yellow spice is a powerful anti-inflammatory thatgoes well with many foods. Pick up some ground turmeric in the spice aisle and sprinkle it over your salads and soups. Or for a more concentrated dose of curcumin, the active agent in turmeric root, buy it in its raw form (it looks a lot like ginger). You can juice it or try a turmeric lemon tonic (find the recipe at the bottom of this post).
5. Eat a varied diet. At the grocery store, think “which healing food can I try today?” Eating a wide array of foods moves you toward a more favorable balance of gut flora (gut health is key to keeping inflammation down), fewer food sensitivities and a more powerful punch of healing nutrients. It is also a very enjoyable way to eat!
Have you noticed any connections between diet and your arthritis symptoms?