Arthritis is a disease that affects several people causing painful joints and disability for many sufferers
There’s now increasing evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet could ease arthritis symptoms , and a new book explores if food could be an effective alternative to medication. Caroline Jones reports
Arthritis is a disease that affects a shocking 10 million people in the UK, causing painful joints and disability for many sufferers.
But whether you have osteoarthritis, the most common wear-and-tear type, or the debilitating autoimmune variety, rheumatoid arthritis, there’s increasing evidence that what you eat could influence symptoms.
And although experts are quick to point out there’s no proven diet cure, certain foods have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones and boost the immune system, all of which can help ease symptoms.
10 foods you should be eating
- READ MORE
- 1. Six tips for parenting your teen boy
- 2. Why you should consider scheduling intimacy
- 3. How to deal with back talk from your kids
- 4. Six ways to manage fever in your child
- 5. Sh100 and I was all set for my first henna client
- 6. China planning new policies to take on ageing population, state media
- 7. Netflix's The Crown is 'sad' for Princes William and Harry and royals 'don't watch it'
- 8. Woman left in stitches as she reads back list of goals she made in January 2020
- 9. #Confessions: I still love my cheating ex but he can’t make up his mind
- 10. Glee star Amber Riley announces engagement
These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
What’s more eating a portion each week may halve the risk of even developing rheumatoid arthritis, says a Swedish study published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Eat more: Aim for at least one portion of salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna or tinned sardines per week.
These can lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood.
CRP is a marker of inflammation associated with heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
The fibre they contain is also useful for feeding the good bacteria in your tummy, which are important for fighting inflammation and boosting immunity.
Eat more: Ditch white varieties and swap to wholemeal bread and pasta, oats and brown rice.
Oleocanthal, a molecule found in olive oil, has similar anti-inflammatory properties to ibuprofen – and can help to alleviate both the chronic and acute inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, according to research published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Antioxidant-rich olive oil is a staple part of the Mediterranean diet.
Eat more: Drizzle on to salads and steamed veg.
Oranges, grapefruits and limes are rich in vitamin C.
Research shows that getting the right amount of vitamin C aids in preventing inflammatory arthritis and maintaining healthy joints for those with osteoarthritis.
Eat more: Start the day with a grapefruit and add slices of lemon and lime to plain water to liven it up.
This is packed with polyphenols – antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction.
Studies also show that another antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Drink more: Swap your morning cuppa for a green tea.
Eat plenty of this and you’ll lower your risk of developing osteoarthritis, according to researchers at King’s College London.
They found that allium vegetables – a group that also includes leeks and onions – appear to have a protective effect by limiting the amount of cartilage-damaging enzymes.
Eat more: Add freely to flavour sauces, casseroles, soups and curries.
Many spices have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
One study in Alternative Medicine Review found that taking a turmeric upplement improved long-term pain and mobility in patients with osteoarthritis, while a University of Miami study found that a ginger supplement reduced arthritis pain by 40%.
Eat more: Use liberally to flavour curries and stir-fries, but also sprinkle them on to soups, sauces and salads.
Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, could be key to preventing or slowing the progress of osteoarthritis, according to a study at the University of East Anglia.
The researchers believe it works by blocking the enzymes that cause joint damage.
Eat more: Add to stir-fries and soups or enjoy raw in salads.
Basically home-made chicken or meat stock contains minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others.
These minerals also contain chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine, which may help reduce inflammation and joint pain.
Eat more: Make your own wholesome broth by boiling up the chicken carcass or meat bones, after your Sunday roast, with water and veg for several hours. Any excess can be frozen and used in soups and sauces.
Fermented foods can help increase the number of good bacteria in your gut, which keeps the immune system strong and reduces inflammation in the body.