A Chinese proverb warns that “he who takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skill of the physician.” That’s good advice for everyone but for persons with Arthritis, it’s even more important. So what are the foods good for Arthritis? A healthy, balanced diet, but how many people in our busy world even know what that means? Let’s look at specific foods good for Arthritis.
Antioxidants build up the immune system which is crucial for Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder. The best source of antioxidants is fresh foods. A USDA study in the June 20015 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry ranked the top 20 antioxidant foods by the typical serving size. Red beans led the list followed by wild blueberries, red kidney beans, pinto beans, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, dried prunes, and raspberries. The last ten were strawberries, red delicious apples, Granny Smith apples, pecans, sweet cherries, black plums, Russet potatoes, black beans, plums and Gala apples.
The USDA study also identified nuts and spices that are rich in antioxidants such as cinnamon, oregano, cloves, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Since these items are often consumed in small amounts or as a seasoning, the benefit is less. Making an effort to add these nuts and spices to recipes is a great way to enhance foods in the arthritis diet. Some studies show benefits to drinking three to four cups of freshly brewed green tea daily because of its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are powerful weapons in overcoming oxidative stress which compromises the immune system.
Looking at the high antioxidant food list suggests that the produce counter and the fresh fruit stand may be the ideal place to find foods good for Arthritis. Another option is a vegetarian diet. Some patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis experience improvement in symptoms on this diet. It’s not certain whether the improvement is because of the vegetarian diet or whether the elimination of excess red meats and fatty foods makes the difference. A balanced diet is so important for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients that if they choose the vegetarian diet they must follow it properly with protein replacements such as tofu.
To make foods good for arthritis, fat choices must change. Research shows that too many Omega-6 fatty acids increase inflammation while more Omega-3 fatty acids actually help reduce inflammation. That means eating more cold water fish like salmon, trout, and mackerel while eating less red meats and poultry. Salads are good but what’s put on the salad can be a trap. Throw away the bad fats such as corn oil, safflower or sunflower oils. Use the friendly fats found in canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, and flaxseed oil.
As far back as ancient Rome, Lucretius knew that “what is food to one man may be fierce poison to others.” Persons with Arthritis, particularly Rheumatoid Arthritis or Gout, need to replace foods known to aggravate painful symptoms with seasoned, tasty alternatives. With this approach, foods good for Arthritis are good for the entire family.
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