Fall River Jewish Home

Fight Arthritis with Smart Food Choices

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic, degenerative disease that almost 27 million people in our country live with each day. It causes the cartilage in joints to deteriorate to the point that bones begin rubbing against each other. That creates pain, inflexibility in the joint, and impaired or total loss of movement. Part of the struggle for older adults who live with OA is that there is no cure. Lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a healthy weight and no-impact exercise can help. Researchers have also been looking closely at the role food can play in managing arthritis. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation and eating a diet rich in those believed to reduce inflammation are new ways physicians are helping patients find relief.

Foods that Cause Inflammation

Foods that should be avoided because they are known to cause inflammation include:

  • Packaged or processed meals. These are usually full of additives and oils to help preserve the food’s shelf life. Many cause inflammation.
  • Dairy products. Whole milk, 2% milk, ice cream and other dairy foods can create inflammation. Better options are skim milk and yogurt.
  • Hydrogenated and Trans fats. Such as those found in margarine, cookies, pies and other baked goods.
  • White bread and pasta. These food groups quickly break down in to sugar. That in turn leads to inflammation.
  • Animal fats. Foods like cheeseburgers and bacon can change the bacteria in your stomach. That triggers an immune response in your body that increases the chemicals in your body that cause inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory Food Choices

On the opposite side of the equation are foods that are known to act as anti-inflammatory agents including:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids. These can be found in fish or fish oil supplements, walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and avocado.
  • White, green and oolong tea –These three teas contain a natural antioxidant that is believed to help block production of some of the inflammatory chemicals in your body.
  • Ginger –This popular spice contains some of the same chemicals that are used in arthritis medications. Incorporating ginger in to your diet may be an easy way to help prevent inflammation. Try ginger tea or adding ginger to fruit salad, chicken, Greek yogurt and salad dressings.
  • Foods rich in Vitamin C – Foods like strawberries, kiwi, green pepper, cauliflower, papaya, oranges and clementine are all rich in vitamin C. They also help promote the production of collagen. Healthy cartilage requires collagen.
  • Anthocyanins – These are found in foods that are red, blue and purple. A member of the flavonoid family, anthocyanins block production of some of the inflammation causing chemicals in your body. Foods that contain anthocyanins include cherries, plums, grapes and strawberries.

To learn more about natural ways to manage osteoarthritis, visit the Alternative Treatments page of the Arthritis Foundation website.

Do you have Osteoarthritis?

What tips can you offer others living with OA?

We’re here to answer questions and help you make the best decision for care for you or your loved one. We invite you to reach out and talk with one of our care specialists at Fall River Jewish Home today! CALL 1.508.679.6172, where assistance is just a phone call away.

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