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Foods that fight arthritis

Patients ask me all the time, “What can I do to make sure I don’t get arthritis?” Sadly there is nothing you can do to definitively prevent arthritis from setting in, especially if you have a family history of it – can’t fight genetics. But I recently came across an article which discusses how a few foods seem to help fight arthritis (as well as a few that are bad), so I thought I’d share.

 

Here are 7 foods that will ease your aching joints.

 

Good Food #1: Fatty fish (salmon, herring sardines) or any other food with omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, soy beans, flax seeds, canola oil and pumpkin seeds. Omega-3s decrease the production of chemicals that spread inflammation. Get at least one gram of omega-3s a day.

 

Good Food #2: Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which blocks enzymes involved in inflammation. Believe it or not, about 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil acts like one-tenth of a dose of ibuprofen. Try and get 1 tablespoon per day.

 

Good Food #3: Sweet peppers, citrus fruits and other vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C protects collagen, a major component of cartilage. Like anything else moderation is key. Try for 200-500 milligrams a day. An orange and a cup of broccoli will net you about 200. And do it with foods, not supplements. Foods that are high in Vitamin C have other plant nutrients, which supplements don’t have. For example, broccoli and cauliflower have a chemical – indole-3-carbinol – that may protect us from certain cancers, including breast cancer.

 

Good Food #4: Brazil Nuts. Brazil nuts contain huge amounts of selenium – 272 micrograms in just three or four nuts, compared to 63 micrograms in 3 ounces of tuna. Low selenium may be linked to rheumatoid arthritis. The mineral helps antioxidants clear out cell-damaging free radicals. Eat 55-200 micrograms a day. If you don’t like Brazil nuts, 1 cup of cooked oatmeal has 12 micrograms.

 

Good Food #5: Onions & Leeks. These have quercetin, an antioxidant that may inhibit inflammatory chemicals, like ibuprofen, but more research is needed here. Kale, cherry tomatoes and apples are all high in quercetin. Eat One-half cup of a high-quercetin food a day.

 

Good Food #6: Tart Cherries. The magic ingredient is anthocyanins, the pigments that give cherries – and grapes, black raspberries and eggplant – their color. They’re also powerful antioxidants that cut inflammation. Try to get ½ cup or 8 ounces of juice per day.

 

Good Food #7: Green Tea. Studies show that certain antioxidant compounds in the brew lessen the incidence and severity of arthritis. How much? Believe it or not, 3-4 cups/day.

 

And now on to the bad…

Bad Food #1: Shellfish, red meat (if you have gout). Shellfish is high in purines, which are converted to uric acid in the body. When blood levels of uric acid build up, their crystals settle into joints, which can be very painful.

 

Bad Food #2: Sunflower, Safflower, Corn, & Soybean Oils. They're high in omega-6 fatty acids, which increase inflammation. Watch out: These oils are prevalent in U.S.-made baked goods and snacks.

 

Bad Food #3: Sugar. Some studies suggest that sugar may increase inflammation. Certainly sugar is high in calories, which leads to weight gain and added pressure on your joints.

Hope this is helpful. Courtesy of Lifescript.com.

 

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