.st0{fill:#FFFFFF;}

The Best & Worst Foods For Arthritis. 

 June 26, 2024

By  Linda Rook

Fresh Healthy Fruit and Veg.

Introduction.

Understanding Joint Health.

Your joint gives you movement, stability and flexibility. Your joints are a complex structures made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and synovial fluid. They all work together to help with smooth and pain-free movement. However, when you age or injure yourself you then may develop arthritis as the joints can develop pain and inflammation such as conditions like arthritis, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

The Role of Diet in Joint Health.

Dieting plays a vital role in helping support your joints and manage the conditions.  This blog will help you to find the good foods for unhealthy joints, these are called anti-inflammatory foods.  I shall also go through the bad foods that you should not have as these will worsen the symptoms.

Key factors of the science behind food and joint health.

Inflammation is a key factor of joint damage; certain foods can worsen inflammation but some can help such as omega-3 fatty acids or antioxidants such as fruit and vegetables.

Bone density is another factor of arthritis, certain foods like calcium and vitamin D can maintain healthy bones.

This blog will help you to provide information on the best and worst foods for your unhealthy joints, support your joints and alleviate the symptoms of joint conditions.

But: first I shall explore the understanding of arthritis and joints.

Understanding Arthritis.

There are 100 different types of arthritis, the main two groups are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms can include pain, stiffness, swelling and a decrease in movement.  Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, and can affect millions of people worldwide, it can also develop in people of any age and background.    The two most common types include:

Types of Arthritis

1. Osteoarthritis (OA):

  • Definition: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, this one is called wear and tear of the joints as it slowly breaks down the cartilage in the joints. The cartilage is the cushion that is between the joint bones, this can lead to deterioration of the joints.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms include pain when you move, also you may hear creaking or cracking sound as you move, other symptoms include stiffness in the morning or after periods of inactivity, joint tenderness, and occasional swelling.
  • Risk Factors: Ageing is an important risk factor for OA, because your cartilage naturally wears down over time. Other risk factors can include: if you have had a joint injury, as in my case, if you are obese, through genetics, and occupations that involve repetitive joint stress.

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):

  • Definition: Whereas Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, which is the lining of the membrane, that surround the joints. RA can attack multiple joints equally, with both sides of the body having developed the disease.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms can include inflammation leading to joint damage, pain, swelling, and eventually deformity and loss of function. Other symptoms can be fatigue, fever, and weight loss. Joint stiffness is typically more pronounced in the morning and may last for hours.
  • Risk Factors: The risk factors could include genetics, environmental factors such as smoking, infections, and hormonal changes.

Other Types of Arthritis can include:

  • Psoriatic Arthritis: This type of arthritis develops on the skin such as psoriasis. It can affect any joint in the body and may involve swelling of fingers and toes.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: Primarily affects the spine and can lead to stiffness and eventual fusion of vertebrae, causing a hunched-forward posture.
  • Gout: Caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints, particularly in the big toe, leading to sudden and severe pain and swelling.

The Best Foods for Arthritis.

Eating the proper foods can play an important role in helping the arthritis symptoms, especially reducing the symptoms of inflammation, and supporting joint health. If you are struggling with inflammation of the joints then you should be eating foods called anti-inflammatory foods. Anti-inflammatory foods can also reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling. These foods are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that helps with healing and protects the joints against cellular damage.

Key Nutrients and Their Benefits.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

•        Sources: Omega-3 fatty acids include oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, omega 3 can also be in chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

•        Benefits: Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents, helping to reduce inflammation in the body, improve joint pain and stiffness, particularly if you have rheumatoid arthritis.

•        Recommendation: Therefore, you should aim to have fatty fish at least twice a week.

Salmon Fish
Fruit and Veggies

2. Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Sources: The best fruit and vegetables that you should have to reduce the symptoms of arthritis are berries, these include blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, the vegetables that increases the symptoms include kiwi, spinach, kale or broccoli.
  • Benefits: Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, vitamins C and E, these nutrients help deactivate free radicals and reduce inflammation, and protect the joints from damage.
  • Recommendation: You should aim to fill half you plate with fruit and vegetables at each meal. they can be fresh or frozen, or canned but look at the label for no sugar option.

3. Whole Grains:

•        Sources: Whole grain that help arthritis symptoms can include quinoa, brown rice, oats, barley and whole wheat.

•        Benefits: The benefits of whole grain are full of carbohydrates that help with continued energy and fibre, leading to digestive health. Fibre also helps the inflammation and supports a healthy gut.

•        Recommendation: Always choose whole grains over refined grains which are white bread, white rice etc. To keep your meals interesting and varied it would help if you experiment with different grains.

Nuts Seeds and Grains
Nuts and Seeds - walnuts etc.

4. Nuts and Seeds:

•        Sources: There are many types of nuts but the main ones that can reduce inflammation are: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds.

•        Benefits: Nuts and seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and antioxidants. They help to reduce inflammation, also support your heart health, and essential nutrients for maintaining your joints.

•        Recommendation: On a daily basis it would help if you had a handful of nuts or seeds that you can have as a snack or sprinkle them over salads, yoghurt, or oatmeal.

5. Lean Proteins:

•        Sources: Skinless poultry which could be either chicken, or turkey, lean cuts of beef or pork, tofu, or legumes (beans, lentils).

•        Benefits: Protein is essential for repairing and maintain your muscles. Lean proteins provide good amino acids, without the excess saturated fats, which can contribute to inflammation.

•        Recommendation: Choose baked, grilled, or steamed instead of  fried options. If you are a vegetarian there are other options of having protein that include plant-based proteins, that include tofu and legumes.

Collagen - Chicken Broth

6. Herbs and Spices.

  • Sources: Fresh turmeric, or ginger are the best two herbs and spices.
  • Benefits: Turmeric contains curcumin that is a potent anti-inflammatory products, that helps to reduce joint pain and  stiffness.
  • Benefits: Ginger contains gingerol, that also has anti-inflammatory properties, however ginger has also antioxidant, that can help reduce the pain and improve mobility.

Practical Tips for Incorporating Anti-Inflammatory Foods.

1.      Meal Planning: Planning meals beforehand that includes a variety of anti-inflammatory foods, including  colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

2.      Snacking Smart: Choose nutrient-dense snacks, these include fresh fruit, raw vegetables with hummus, or a handful of nuts and seeds. All these can satisfy hunger that provide essential vitamins and minerals.

3.      Cooking Techniques: Cooking methods that are healthy and retain nutrients, include steaming, baking, grilling, or sautéing with healthy oils like virgin olive oil or avocado oil.

4.      Hydration: Staying hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. You could also drink herbal teas, the best is green tea, can also provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.

The Worst Foods for Arthritis.

Introduction to Pro-Inflammatory Foods.

Whereas inflammatory foods help with reducing inflammation and helping the symptoms of arthritis, pro-inflammatory foods worsens the inflammation and joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Avoiding or minimizing these pro-inflammatory foods is vital for managing arthritis effectively.

The pro-inflammatory food include processed foods:

  • Fast foods including burgers, fries, pizza, sorry no more KFC.
  • Packaged snacks like chips, crackers, crisps and cookies.
  • Processed meat these can include hotdogs, sausages, and deli meats.
Avoid Junk Food

Negative Impact:

  • High in unhealthy fats, these are trans fats and saturated fats, also refined sugars, which can trigger inflammation.
  • Often contain additives and preservatives that may contribute to inflammatory responses.
  • When you eat unhealthy fats on a regular basis it can cause high levels of inflammatory markers like CRP.

Alternatives:

  • Instead, try unprocessed foods including fresh fruits, and vegetables, also lean poultry such as chicken.
  • Prepare homemade versions of your favourite snacks using healthier ingredients.

Refined Sugars:

Refined sugars could cause spikes in your blood glucose levels, this can lead to diabetes as well as increased inflammation, high intake of sugar can also contribute to weight gain, that can put more pressure and stress on your joints.

  • Sweets like candy, cakes, buns, cookies.
  • Sugary drinks include soda, sweetened teas or coffee, and energy drinks.
  • Processed can also be cereals and breakfast bars.

Alternatives:

If you have a sweet tooth you should change to natural sweet foods like fruit and berries.

or when you need sugar in your drinks you should go for natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, or stevia, but in moderation.

  • Saturated and Trans Fats:

Saturated and trans fats are bad fats that can cause rapid spikes in your blood sugar level, these include, for example red meat, like beef, pork or lamb.

Examples:

  • Red meats: these are beef, pork, or lamb.
  • Full-fat dairy products including butter, cheese, cream.
  • Fried foods these are any foods that can be fried such as fried chicken, chips, doughnuts, French fries.
Olive Oil

Negative Impact.

  • Saturated and trans fats increase LDL cholesterol levels, which can lead to inflammation.
  • These fats contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases, which can complicate arthritis.
  • Trans fats are linked to systemic inflammation.

Alternatives

  • Choose lean protein like fish, poultry, and plant-based.
  • Use healthy oils in your cooking or dressing such as virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil for cooking.

Refined Carbohydrates.

You should also avoid refined carbohydrates as they can spike you blood sugar and insulin levels, meaning that you may become diabetic. It would be best to choose whole grain flour when baking.

Examples:

  • Some examples may include white bread, and which rice.
  • Also you should avoid pastries and any backed goods that are made from white flour.  

Negative Impact:

  • Refined carbohydrates are high in glycaemic index, this causes a rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • These spikes can increase the inflammation and therefore worsen arthritis symptoms.
  • They also have little nutritional value, and can contribute to weight gain.

Alternatives.

  • The alternative from refined carbohydrates can include quinoa, brown rice, oat or whole wheat bread.
  • Combining more fibre into your foods can stabilize the blood sugar levels.
Whole Wheat Bread

Excessive Alcohol.

Examples.

alcohol that are bad for you could be: Beer, Wine, or Spirits and cocktails.

Negative Impact:

  • Excessively drinking alcohol can lead to higher levels of inflammation in the body.
  • Alcohol can also interfere with any medications you are taking for your arthritis.
  • Drinking alcohol can contribute to weight gain and an increased uric acid levels, which can trigger gout attacks.

Alternatives.

  • Drinking alcohol should be in moderation, it is recommended that women should have up to one drink and men two drinks per day.
  • You should choose non-alcoholic beverages like herbal teas, infused water, or sparkling water.

Certain Additives.

Examples:

  • Additives - Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Aspartame
  • Certain food colourings and preservatives

Negative Impact.

  • Additives, like MSG and aspartame, may trigger inflammation if you are sensitive.
  • These additives are found in processed and packaged foods.
  • They can worsen your symptoms if you are food sensitivities or have allergies.

Alternatives.

  • You need to read the food labels carefully and avoid products with artificial additives.
  • And cook your meals from scratch, using whole, natural ingredients.

Supplements and Alternative Therapies.

Supplements and alternative therapies is also crucial to alleviating symptoms. Understanding which supplements are beneficial to you, and exploring different types if alternative therapies, can provide improvement to your joint health and overall well-being.

BUT, YOU NEED TO SEE YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL BEFORE TRYING ANY SUPPLEMENTS. as some supplements can interfere with some medication. Also always read the labels.

Supplements for Arthritis.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

  • Sources: Fish oil, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts.
  • Benefits: Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that helps reduce joint pain and stiffness, particularly in rheumatoid arthritis.

2. Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

  • Sources: Supplements derived from shellfish or synthesized in labs.
  • Benefits: These compounds are naturally found in cartilage and may help slow cartilage degradation, reduce pain, and improve joint function, particularly in osteoarthritis.
Tumeric root

3. Turmeric/Curcumin.

  • Sources: Turmeric root, curcumin supplements.
  • Benefits: Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric that has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which can help reduce your joint inflammation and pain.

4. Vitamin D.

  • Sources Sun exposure, fortified foods, supplements.
  • Benefits: Vitamin D is vital for bone health and may help reduce the risk of arthritis. But low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased arthritis symptoms.

5. Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense).

  • Sources: Extract from the Boswellia tree resin.
  • Benefits: Boswellia is another supplement that has anti-inflammatory properties, it can help reduce pain and improve function in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

6. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).

  • Sources: Naturally occurring compound in certain foods, supplements.
  • Benefits of MSM may help by reducing pain and inflammation and improve joint function.

7. Antioxidants (Vitamin C and E).

  • Sources: Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, supplements.
  • Benefits: This last one has Antioxidants which helps protect cells from oxidative damage, which can contribute to inflammation and joint damage.
Boswellia or Indian frankincense.

Lifestyle Tips for Managing Arthritis. 

In this section I shall show you some exercises that you should be doing on a regular basis. As well as changing your diet, it would help if you changed some lifestyle modifications, to help with your symptoms and overall well-being. Implementing regular exercise, stress management, weight control, and good sleep hygiene can all help with joint health and improve your symptoms of arthritis.

Exercise and Physical Activity.

Benefits of Exercise:

I know it is difficult to exercise when you are in pain all the time but, doing regular exercise can:

Regular exercise can help improve your joint movement.

Keeping your muscles strong, your muscles support and protect the joints.

physical activities can reduce the inflammation and reduce the symptoms.

Exercise also helps your cardiovascular health, and your weight.  

Recommended Exercises:

  • Activities such as low-impact exercises include: walking, swimming, and cycling, These are gentle on the joints while providing cardiovascular benefits.
  • Keeping your muscles strong around the joints you need to use weights, resistance bands, or body weight exercises.
  • Another exercise is stretching routines, these include yoga, and Pilates they help improve joint flexibility and reduce stiffness.
  • and balance and coordination to help with your stability and prevent you from falls. These include Tai Chi and yoga.
Exercises
Elderly Gent with walking stick

Exercise Tips:

  • When you start doing any exercises you should start of slowly doing low-impact exercises then increase the intensity and duration.
  • Doing a proper warm-up and cool-down routines, prevents injury and reduce muscle soreness.
  • Pay attention to your pain signals and avoid overexertion. If you think you are doing too much you should either modify or stop exercising, that particular exercise.
  • You should aim for at least  2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of energetic activity per week.

Alternative Therapy:

Alternative therapy can include:

  • Hydrotherapy: This exercise is done in warm water, this can help relax muscles, reduce joint stiffness and alleviate pain.
  • Aromatherapy: Essential oils from plants for therapeutic purposes are used such as lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint that can help with reducing your pains and help relax.
  • Acupuncture: A Chinese medicine practice that involves thin needles inserted into certain areas of your body. It can help to reduce pain and joint function by stimulating the body.
  • Physical Therapy: This type of therapy uses exercises, such as a balancing ball, resistance band to improve your movement and function.
  • Message Therapy: A therapy that manipulates the muscles and soft tissue, this reduces tension and pain. 
Acupuncture

Conclusion.

When you have been diagnosed with arthritis it can take a toll on your life. Living with pain and discomfort 24/7 can make you feel depressed, anxiety and sleepy with all the symptoms you can get living with arthritis. Adjusting your diet, exercising more, have supplements and alternative therapy and in general adjusting your lifestyle can significantly reduce your symptoms and enhancing your overall well-being.  

I hope this blog has helped you. Please subscribe to my website and I will keep you updated on new blogs.  Also, if you need to know anything about arthritis, please go to my contact page and leave a message, and I will get back to you.

In the meantime, if this post is informative, I would be very grateful if you would help your friends or family if they have a similar condition to tell them. So please share it on Twitter (X) or Facebook or send them an email.

Also check out my eBook for more information on which foods to eat, and which to avoid.

I am not a medical professional, and this blog is for information only. If you have any worries, you should consult your doctor.

I hope this blog has helped.

Linda Rook

Linda is now retired and has suffered from Osteoarthritis for about 40+ years.  She struggled with her weight until she found the correct one that also helped with her arthritic pain.  Linda was in terrible pain until the physician thought her right hip needed replacement. 


Now Linda has an artificial right hip, which has left her with the left leg shorter than the right.  Therefore, her spine is now wonky, and has arthritis of the lower back, also it seems to be going all over the body, her pain is now in the knees, elbow, wrist, fingers and both hips.


Linda now spends her days writing information to help others with the same conditions, so they do not suffer like Linda.


related posts:


Natural Ways To Decrease Inflammation.


What Supplements Are Good For Arthritis?


Coping With Pregnancy and Chronic Illness.

Get in touch

>