There are several types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. But current evidence shows that all types can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet, paired with proper medical treatments when necessary. Board-certified rheumatologist, Dr. Robert Koval, offers quick tips to help you plan a healthy diet that may help to reduce arthritis symptoms and flare-ups.
Good Foods for Arthritis
Pile plenty of anti-inflammatory foods on your plate to help reduce chronic inflammation and better control arthritis symptoms. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids have strong anti-inflammatory properties, while omega-6 fatty acids can have the opposite effect.
Just a few great options include:
- Wild-caught salmon
- Flax seeds or flaxseed oil
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
Bad Foods for Arthritis
On the other hand, some foods can worsen arthritis symptoms and should, therefore, be avoided whenever possible. Some of the biggest culprits in this category are:
- Fried foods
- Processed foods, including processed meats and cheese and microwavable meals
- Sugary drinks and candy
- Dairy and gluten for individuals who have sensitivities
- Corn oil
How About Coffee and Alcohol?
While there aren’t any arthritis-related guidelines regarding coffee and alcohol intake, Dr. Koval recently noted in an interview with MarthaStewart.com that those who partake in a “western diet” (which includes coffee and alcohol) are more likely to exhibit arthritis symptoms.
Regarding coffee, the article notes that “high amounts of caffeine (more than two cups per day) has been shown to worsen pain and accelerate restless leg syndrome, amongst other ailments.”
Best to choose moderation when it comes to alcohol intake, too . “A good rule of thumb is to not exceed one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men to prevent worsening of the disease,” commented Dr. Koval.
Other Ways to Reduce Arthritis Symptoms
In addition to following an anti-inflammatory diet, there are other lifestyle changes you can make that can have a considerable impact on arthritis symptoms, says Dr. Koval.
He suggests maintaining a healthy weight, for example, can help to take unnecessary stress off your joints. Do regular low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming to help reduce stiffness and improve flexibility without straining your joints.
Finally, be sure to work with a medical professional to find the best balance of medical treatment and dietary changes and nutritional supplementation to minimize wear and tear on your joints and keep you active and comfortable. Managing arthritis typically requires a multimodal approach.