Anti-inflammatory foods that could ease arthritis joint pain
Health experts advice on incorporating these anti-inflammatory foods into an arthritis-friendly diet to ease joint pain
Arthritis, a common medical condition characterised by inflammation and stiffness in one or more joints, affects people of all ages, genders and backgrounds but it is more common among the elderly and though it encompasses over 100 different types, the two most prevalent ones are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. According to health experts, a diet for arthritis should focus on reducing inflammation and providing nutrients that support joint health.
Though there is no cure for arthritis, various treatments including medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes and in some cases, surgery, can help manage symptoms and improve joint function. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for arthritis, certain foods and dietary habits can help manage symptoms but it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to create a personalised plan.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Suparna Mukherjee, In-Charge of Clinical Nutrition Department at Narayana Health City in Bangalore, shared, “Certain foods, such as berries (blueberries, strawberries), berries are known to be rich sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help protect our cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. leafy greens (spinach, kale), fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), turmeric, and walnuts, contain antioxidant compounds that have shown promise in mitigating inflammation and potentially alleviating joint discomfort.”
She added, “Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are particularly high in antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals. Consuming a variety of berries as part of a balanced diet can provide you with these antioxidant benefits and contribute to your overall well-being. These foods can be incorporated into a well-rounded diet to support joint health. Berries can be added to smoothies or consumed as snacks, leafy greens can form the base of salads, fatty fish can be grilled or baked, and turmeric can be included in curries or soups. Walnuts can be sprinkled over yogurt or oatmeal. However, it's vital to remember that these foods should complement, not replace, medical treatment and guidance from health care professionals.”
Highlighting that superfoods such as flax seeds are indeed beneficial for several reasons, she said, “They are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Flax seeds are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are important for heart and brain health. A balanced quantity of calcium-rich food along with sun exposure for vitamin D, will enhance and maintain bone health for an overall well-balanced lifestyle.”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Deepa Mishra, Nutrition and Dietetics at RN Tagore Hospital in Kolkata, said, "There are several "anti-inflammatory" foods that may help ease arthritis joint pain. These foods are known for their potential to reduce inflammation in the body, which is a common underlying factor in arthritis. Some examples include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids known for their anti-inflammatory properties."
According to her, “Other options include colourful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, cherries, spinach, kale, and broccoli, which are packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals that can help fight inflammation. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats are also beneficial due to their fibre content and potential anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, certain spices and herbs like turmeric, ginger, and garlic have shown promising anti-inflammatory properties. It's important to note that while these foods may have potential benefits, they should not replace medical treatment or prescribed medications. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian is recommended for personalized advice on incorporating these foods into an arthritis-friendly diet.”
She listed the anti-inflammatory foods for arthritis as:
- Nuts (almond, walnuts)
- Oilseeds (flaxseed)
- Berries (strawberry, blueberry, cherry, orange)
- Opt for Mediterranean diet which is high in fruits and vegetables, nuts whole grains fish and healthy oils.
She warned against the following foods that cause inflammation:
- Refined carbohydrates (white breads, pasta, refined sugar )
- Sweetened drinks, sodas
- Red meat and processed food
- Salty food (chips crackers)