Arthritis is an inflammation caused due to swelling and tenderness of the joints. A Joint is a place where two bones meet. This inflammation can affect one or multiple joints of the body. There are wide varieties of arthritis. Among them, the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Other forms of arthritis are psoriatic arthritis, gout, and lupus. The signs and symptoms of arthritis may vary according to the type of arthritis. These symptoms may include tiredness, early morning joint stiffness, pain, mild fever, decreased range of motion, and loss of weight. Women are more susceptible to arthritis than men. According to the reports of the CDC, About 24 million adults are limited in their activities from arthritis, and more than 1 in 4 adults with arthritis report severe joint pain. Moreover, arthritis is more common with other chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. (1), (7)
One of the most common forms of arthritis. In a joint, two bones move on cushion cartilage making it a frictionless joint motion. The condition osteoarthritis arises due to wear and tear of the joint’s cartilage. This may be due to aging, joint injuries, or obesity which exerts extra pressure on the bones. The condition of osteoarthritis develops gradually over months or years. Knees, hips, feet, and spine are more susceptible to getting affected by osteoarthritis.
A type of chronic, progressive, autoimmune disease, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. The cause of the disease is unknown. This condition mainly affects females more than males. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause painful swelling and further, lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. Also, rheumatoid arthritis can attack non-joint structures like skin, eyes, lungs, kidneys, salivary glands, blood vessels, bone marrow, and nerve tissue. Unlike osteoarthritis, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can get worsen quickly. (1)
Role of diet in arthritis
Actually, there is no diet treatment for arthritis. But certain food items can strengthen the bones, alleviate pain, and can boost the immune system. Many research studies have found that dietary modification might be useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
A diet rich in fiber and antioxidants is more beneficial in decreasing joint stiffness and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis patients. Furthermore, gluten-free vegan diets are more beneficial in managing signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. A vegan diet is composed of fewer dietary fats and also alters the composition of fats. Foods that trigger obesity need to be avoided as extra body weight exerts extra pressure on the joints. Dairy foods, citrus fruits, and nightshade vegetables like eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes can aggravate the symptoms of arthritis. It is because these foods contain different kinds of chemicals that induce pain and inflammation. Following it mentions different food varieties that ease the symptoms of arthritis. You may modify the diet with the below-mentioned food items and get rid of pain and inflammation that disturbs daily life. (2)
Food remedies to avoid arthritis
Garlic contains an anti-inflammatory compound called diallyl disulfide that limits the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Particularly, garlic helps to prevent cartilage damage, pain, and inflammation associated with arthritis. It is also found that garlic can strengthen the immune cells and boost the immune system. (3)
Ginger processes anti-inflammatory properties due to the chemical compound gingerol and shogoal. Inflammatory mediators are blocked by these chemical compounds and aid in reducing symptoms of arthritis. Fresh ginger, dried or powdered form of ginger can be added to one diet. (3)
The active chemical present in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin blocks enzymes and cytokines in the inflammatory pathways. So it is beneficial in reducing inflammatory symptoms of arthritis. (3)
Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants like cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid which inhibit cell damage due to free radicals. Also, cinnamaldehyde avoids the release of arachidonic acid and reduces inflammation at the joints. In addition to this, cinnamon reduces the activity of osteoclasts that involve in retarding the bones. Cinnamon can be added to one diet as a spice or as a drink (4)
5. Fatty fish
Fish oils help to restore joint tissue and keep the joints healthy. Especially, fish oils can reduce the arachidonic acid content of the cells and slow down the development of arthritis. This is because fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids which are potent inflammation fighters. The omega-3 fatty acids are involved in reducing the intensity of joint symptoms and reducing inflammation in joints. Similarly fish contains vitamin D and its deficiencies are associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Examples of fatty fish with high omega-3 content are salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel. Research studies have found that eating fatty fish frequently can reduce inflammation. (5)
All fruits contain a wide variety of nutrients such as antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to different extents. Among them, there are some fruits with promising health benefits to alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
Anthocyanin which is an antioxidant provides strawberries with anti-inflammatory activity. Furthermore, strawberries contain more vitamin C per saving than oranges. vitamin C is the best solution to reduce the risk of gout, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Avocados contain many anti-inflammatory components like monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and lutein carotenoids. Taking avocados helps to reduce the risk of joint damage that occurs in early osteoarthritis.
Mango is enriched with polyphenols with excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, watermelon contains carotenoid, beta-cryptoxanthin that can reduce the risk of arthritis. Eating more watermelon reduces inflammatory markers in the body. Also, grapes contain resveratrol, a potent anti-inflammatory polyphenol that helps to reduce symptoms of arthritis. Other than polyphenols, fresh grapes are a rich source of antioxidants. Furthermore, pomegranates contain polyphenolic compounds too. Vitamin C-enriched citrus fruits like oranges, lime, and grapefruits slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Antioxidant vitamin C helps to hold off inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. (6)
Vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants and other varieties of nutrients. The antioxidants involve in scavenging free radicals that are implicated in developing inflammation. Spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale are green leafy vegetables enriched with antioxidants. Furthermore, broccoli contains a chemical called sulforaphane that slows cartilage damage. Carotenoids, a type of antioxidant present in carrots, sweet potatoes, red pepper, and squash reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Adding more of these vegetables to one diet will help to ease the symptoms of arthritis. (3)
It is better to choose whole grains instead of refined grains, as they can worsen the symptoms of inflammation. It is because refined grains are linked to higher levels of inflammatory markers in the blood. Whole wheat, whole oats, sorghum, rye, barley, brown rice, and millet are some better choices of whole grains that can be replaced with refined grains. (3)
Healthy oils with high amounts of unsaturated fats are beneficial in preventing inflammatory conditions associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants and polyphenols oleocanthal, oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and lignans which are related to reducing joint damage in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, olive oils are high in monounsaturated fats. Another study result shows that consuming olive oil helps to reduce the development of arthritis, reduce joint swelling, and slow cartilage destruction.
Avocado oil is a good source of antioxidant vitamin E. Also it shows anti-inflammatory effects by reducing inflammatory mediators. Walnut oil shows anti-inflammatory activity due to the presence of polyunsaturated fats including alpha-linoleic acid. Soybean oil contains soy proteins that reduce inflammatory mediators in the serum. Furthermore, grapeseed oil is a by-product of the wine industry. It also contains a high amount of vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids that alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. In the cooking process, tropical oils like coconut oil and palm oil can be replaced with the above-mentioned oils for better health benefits. (3)
10. Nuts and seeds
Walnuts are packed with alpha-linoleic acid, a type of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid. So replacing snacks with walnuts provides promising health benefits including anti-inflammation. Almonds contain lots of fiber that reduces weight gain. Furthermore, almonds contain the antioxidant vitamin E. Peanuts are a rich source of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Especially monounsaturated fats reduce markers of inflammation. Other than these nuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are also comprised of anti-inflammatory alpha-linolenic acid and fiber. Symptoms of arthritis can be avoided by replacing unhealthy snacks with these types of nuts. (3)
Water is a magical drink with lots of advantages. Drinking enough water helps to flush toxins out of the body. When the body has enough water, it keeps joints lubricated and reduces friction. Moreover, drinking a glass of water before a meal helps to eat less and maintain body weight. (3)
Coffee is a worldwide popular energy-boosting beverage. It is loaded with antioxidant polyphenols and fights against free radicals present in the body. Cell damage is reduced and arthritis inflammation is reduced. Therefore coffee will be a beneficial drink for arthritis patients. (3)
13. Green tea
Green tea is a beneficial drink for rheumatoid arthritis patients as it reduces cartilage damage and reduces inflammation. The chemical compounds responsible for the above-mentioned health benefits are polyphenols and antioxidants like epigallocatechin-3 gallate. Replacing soft drinks with green tea will be more beneficial to achieve many health benefits. (3)