Load Up on Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Some of the anti-inflammatory foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Add fatty fish like mackerel, herring, salmon, and tuna to your diet, or take a fish oil supplement.
If fish is not your favourite food, try eating more nuts like walnuts and almonds. You can also grind up flax seeds to add to your cereal, yogurt, or baked goods. Chia seeds are also high in omega-3s,
Antioxidants, compounds that can destroy damaging free radicals, may also reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidants may reduce the pain and inflammation in joints affected by RA.
Some important dietary antioxidants are vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the mineral selenium. Include more of these in your daily diet by eating fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, and by drinking green tea.
Fill Up on Fibre
Research has shown that foods high in fibre may reduce the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP) in your blood. CRP is a marker that indicates the level of inflammation in your body.
Get more fibre in your diet with foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. Strawberries, in particular, seem to reduce CRP while adding fiber to your diet. You can eat them fresh or frozen.
Don’t Forget Your Flavonoids
Flavonoids are compounds that are only made by plants. They make their way into our diets when we eat fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids may reduce inflammation in your body and could help reduce your RA pain and swelling.
Foods that are particularly high in flavonoids include berries, green tea, grapes, broccoli, and soy. Chocolate is also high in flavonoids, but stick with dark chocolate that has a high percentage of cacao and is low in sugar.
Spice up Meals
Certain spices, although they might feel inflammatory, actually reduce inflammation in the body. Turmeric, common in Indian food, contains a compound called curcumin that has anti-inflammatory properties. It is related to ginger, which may have a similar effect.
Capsaicin, the compound found in chili peppers, also helps to reduce inflammation in the body. According to National Institutes of Health, capsaicin is also known to be an effective pain reliever.
The Mediterranean Diet
Certain diets are naturally high in anti-inflammatory foods, such as the Mediterranean diet. Native people from the Mediterranean region have long eaten a diet based on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil. They eat little red meat and instead get more protein from fish. They also drink red wine regularly
Avoid Trigger Foods
While including foods that reduce inflammation, you should also try to avoid foods that cause inflammation to increase. Foods that may trigger inflammation include processed carbohydrates like white flour and white sugar, as well as saturated and trans fats, such as those found in fried foods, red meat, and dairy.
Drink More Alcohol?
Perhaps a controversial suggestion, drinking alcohol in moderation may actually reduce your inflammation. Alcohol has been shown to drop CRP levels, but if you drink too much, it can have the opposite effect. Discuss it with your doctor before you increase your alcohol consumption.
Sugars & Refined Carbs
High amounts of sugar in the diet result in an increase in AGEs, which, as discussed in an earlier slide, can result in inflammation.
What you can do: Cut out candies, processed foods, white flour baked goods, and sodas to reduce your arthritis pain.
Dairy products may contribute to arthritis pain due to the type of protein they contain. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, for some people this protein may irritate the tissue around the joints. Some sufferers of arthritis pain have success switching to a vegan diet—which contains no animal products whatsoever.
What you can do: Rather than getting protein from meat and dairy, get the bulk of your protein sources from vegetables like spinach, nut butters, tofu, beans, lentils, and quinoa.
If you haven’t started cooking with olive oil yet, now’s the time. It’s incomparably rich in oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that keeps inflammation down. Ditch the vegetable oil for healthier options like olive, grape seed, and avocado oils. Use extra virgin olive oil in cooking and on salads and get your food working faster for you. It’s good for your heart and your brain, too
Red meat has earned its bad reputation for a reason. It’s higher in cholesterol and salt, which can trigger inflammation. To get your protein, switch to fish – like salmon, snapper, tuna, cod, halibut, and bass – that are high in omega-3 fatty acid. If you’re absolutely craving a steak, opt for grass-fed beef. It’s higher in healthy omega acids
Nuts & Fruits
Between meals, try nuts and fruits. Walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts are all great choices. So are an array of fruits like apples, blueberries, cherries, pineapple, raspberries, and strawberries.
Garlic. It tastes so good that we put up with the bad breath afterward. But our powerful little friend also packs a wallop in the healthy-foods department and works great for swollen joints. Combine garlic with herbs listed on the next page for some good cooking. And for date night, use some mint leaves to clean up your breath. They’ll help your swelling, too.
Fresh is best because it keeps the nutrients in. Choose from basil, chili peppers, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and the wonderfully powerful turmeric. Chop up an array of herbs with some garlic, and combine with olive oil for a tasty, all-purpose marinade. Incorporate ginger, too. It’s a fighter
Thankfully, eating healthy doesn’t mean missing out on the sweet stuff. Chocolate – yes, chocolate – that is at least 70% pure cocoa is the way to go. Other desserts low in fat and heavy in the fruits and nuts mentioned earlier are also great ways to keep inflammation down.
Besides reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer, green tea works like liquid vegetables as it stages an anti-inflammatory fight inside your body. Hot or cold, add some lemon juice to perk up the tea’s flavor and kick up the antioxidants. Oh, and don’t skip your water. As if you needed another reason to get your eight glasses in a day.
Simple Choices Make a Difference
We all should eat healthy, but when our food helps treat swelling and inflammation it only makes better sense.
Coupled with other treatments and therapies, a diet rich in omega acids and antioxidants could keep inflammation down so you can start living pain free.
When you make your shopping list, remind yourself that fresh is best because that’s when nutrients are at their highest. And keep these healthier choices in mind when dining out too. Skip the carne asada burrito and go for sushi: fish, ginger, and garlic all in one spot.