Foods for arthritis relief

Cauliflower.  Photo credit: OliBac via photopin cc

Cauliflower. Photo credit: OliBac via photopin cc

There are many different types of arthritis but all feature inflammation either as a causative agent or as a side effect. Inflammation causes the joint heat, pain and mobility problems. To avoid further joint deterioration it is extremely important to keep mobile, plus a balanced diet of fresh, seasonal foods can help alleviate your symptoms by tackling inflammation at its source.

There are lots of fabulous foods to choose from that will provide oodles of phytonutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, such
as pears, apples, berries, spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes. Two to three portions of oily fish a week such as salmon, mackerel or sardines will provide the necessary essential fat, omega-3, that will ensure any inflammatory response is appropriate. If you’re vegetarian, use ground flaxseed or chia seeds. Onions, garlic, turmeric and ginger will add depth and zing to each and every meal and pack a powerful anti-inflammatory punch.
You can also use ginger to flavour teas or just steep it in hot water with lemon for a refreshing alternative to regular tea. Consider increasing your consumption of green tea, to keep the anti-inflammatory nutrients coming between meals.

Adequate hydration is an absolute must to ensure that all the body’s tissues are exchanging waste products for nutrients efficiently, so always aim to consume 1.5 to 2 litres of water, herbal teas and/or dilute fruit juices per day. You also need to ensure you’re getting good levels of fibre: aim for five portions of vegetables and two of fruit per day. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, pack an extra bonus for your liver.

Foods to be avoided by everyone but especially those with an inflammatory condition such as arthritis are fried foods, refined carbohydrates and trans fats, which are found in many processed foods. These foods always have more calories than you think and extra weight puts extra strain on the joints. Refined carbohydrates can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar which in turn can cause the immune system to react inappropriately. Be kinder to your body – you’ve only got one!

By nutritional therapist Georgie O’Connor for the College of Naturopathic Medicine