According to the CDC, over 54 million Americans suffer from arthritis. But if you’re part of the 54 million, you’re not stuck with achy joints forever. Nutrition for arthritis is essential to keep your mobility and reduce inflammation.
How can you eat for the health of your joints? Let’s dive right in.
Specific Nutrition for Arthritis-
Whether or not you have arthritis, fish should be a staple part of your diet. With arthritis, the omega-3’s and fats in fish can help ease inflammation.
However, it takes a lot of fish to get the recommended amount of omega-3’s. So unless you live close to the water and have access to a lot of high-quality fish, it can be helpful to supplement with fish oil capsules as well. When it comes to choosing a fish oil supplement, the quality of that supplement matters. We can help you get the right supplement for you.
Collagen works to strengthen your hair, nails, skin, and, most importantly, for arthritis, the collagen between your bones. This collagen that makes up the cartilage is what arthritis wears down on, so adding more to your diet can help strengthen your joints.
Most collagen is taken from chickens, which may not be the best quality. If you want, you can add a collagen supplement to your diet. Just make sure you get the highest quality version. We recommend collagen from grass-fed cattle.
If you prefer using whole foods rather than supplements, incorporate bone broth into your diet to naturally boost your collagen levels.
Bone broth has a lot of other benefits, on top of collagen. You may want to add it to your diet anyway.
Arthritis acts when inflammation occurs in your joints. By following an anti-inflammatory diet, you can keep some of this at bay.
Unfortunately, an anti-inflammatory diet isn’t a one-size-fits-all prescription. What inflames you will be different than what causes inflammation in others.
To avoid inflammation, avoid processed foods and refined sugars. Other common offenders include gluten, cheese, eggs, or dairy. You may want to try an elimination diet to see if it helps, and slowly add these foods back in, one at a time. We also have food sensitivity testing to help narrow down foods that don’t work well with your body.
What can you eat to fight inflammation? Try tomatoes, fruits, nuts, leafy greens, olive oil, or berries!
Fruits and vegetables should be a staple in any holistic diet, but they are particularly beneficial for nutrition and arthritis patients.
Why? Fruits and vegetables have the most nutrients, the most vitamins, and the most anti-inflammatory properties to keep arthritis at bay. On top of that, by filling your plate with non-processed foods, you’re cutting out the unhealthy fats that can cause inflammation to spike.
As a rule, processed fats in foods will only cause inflammation to spike and make your arthritis worse. However, natural oils such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil can ease inflammation. Grass-fed butter is another good source of healthy fat.
To easily incorporate more healthy oils into your diet, consider cooking with low heat or adding them to a salad as a dressing with vinegar. High heat can damage many healthy fats making them more inflammatory.
As with other berries, cherries have anti-inflammatory properties. These same properties can also be seen in other red or purple fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries.
The anti-inflammatory properties come thanks to anthocyanins.
Fun fact: anthocyanins are what give these foods their blue or purple color.
Too little vitamin D increases your risk for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore it’s essential to get plenty of Vitamin D to prevent further joint damage.
The best food sources for vitamin D are oily fish, fortified milk, or orange juice. A free and easy way to increase Vitamin D is to add a 10-minute sunscreen-free sunbath.
Unfortunately, that may still not be enough Vitamin D to protect your joints, so consider a supplement as well, and talk to a doctor to see if your levels are normal or too low. We check your Vitamin D levels as a part of our standard blood work.
Since you’re cutting out low-quality meat to fight inflammation, you need to add protein back into your diet. Beans are a perfect substitute.
Beans are chock-full of everything you need from fiber to folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium. All of this helps to fight inflammation and boost your immune system, resulting in a happier, healthier you.
To help you digest your beans better, soak them for at least 24 hours before you cook and eat them.
So far, most studies of ginger and arthritis have been performed on animals, but the results are promising. Adding ginger to your diet definitely won’t hurt unless you’re allergic.
Ginger is another excellent anti-inflammatory food to add to your diet. Ginger is particularly popular in Asian cuisine, so it may be time to break out the recipe book and try a few new things.
You may also want to try ginger tea. The taste will be potent, but it creates a lovely drink.
Green tea is another great choice for arthritis patients. Green tea has natural antioxidants, which can fight inflammation and strengthen your cartilage.
Green tea is especially important for rheumatoid arthritis nutrition since a natural compound in the tea called epigallocatechin-3 or EGCG stops the production of molecules that lead to joint damage.
Another anti-inflammatory, turmeric, is a yellow spice traditionally found in Indian cuisine. But since it’s an anti-inflammatory, it can prevent joint swelling and keep your arthritis from acting up.
If you decide to use a supplement, quality and your body’s ability to use it are essential. We can help you find the right turmeric supplement for your body.
Yes, you are reading this right. Dark chocolate contains compounds called flavanols. Flavanols are potent antioxidants and can significantly reduce inflammation. Here is the catch, the chocolate you eat needs to be made with 70% cocoa or greater to get these essential compounds. If you can find a bar of dark chocolate with less sugar, it is even better!
Nutrition for Arthritis Management Is Under Your Control
Understanding nutrition for arthritis doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow the core of what creates a healthy diet, and focus on incorporating anti-inflammatory foods and foods that support joint health.
Unfortunately, there’s still no cure for arthritis, but following a healthy nutrition plan can keep your weight manageable and ease your symptoms.
Are you ready to see we can help you ease your arthritis pain and symptoms? We can help you dial in your nutrition plan today and help you live the life you have always wanted!
With over 20 years in the field, Dr. Dody is a seasoned chiropractor specializing in Functional Nutrition, Neurofeedback, and the Koren Specific Technique (KST). His unique ‘whole person approach’ identifies the root causes of health issues, offering patients not just relief but lasting wellness. Recognized for his expertise, Dr. Dody’s treatments often yield dramatic improvements from the very first visit.