Anti Inflammatory Diet Plan For Arthritis

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Anti inflammatory diet plan for arthritis is designed to help you control the inflammation which is a major pain in suffers. There are all kinds of inflammatory diet plans for arthritis, but which one is the best? You should first know what your body requires before you decide, and it is important to the type of diet that would be helpful for your condition.

What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

The goal of an anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis is to reduce unnecessary inflammation and the joint degeneration and pain it causes.

Illustration of anti-inflammatory foods and foods that may cause inflammation

Following proper nutrition may help to reduce uneccessary inflammation.

Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

According to many experts, certain foods seem to promote inflammation and should be avoided.

  • Processed foods, such as commercial baked goods and bars and many prepackaged meals
  • Red meat
  • Refined grain products, such as white bread and white pasta
  • Refined sugar and refined sugar products, such as candy and soda
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Certain oils, including corn, safflower, soy, and peanut oils
  • Dry roasted nuts and beer nuts

Grocery stores are filled with processed foods and sugary drinks—too many to list here—so this list is merely a guideline. People are encouraged to read food labels and avoid foods that contain ingredients such as refined sugar, corn syrup, refined flour, and corn oils.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods Central to an Anti-inflammatory Diet

Chemical compounds found naturally in many foods, including most fruits and vegetables, seem to have anti-inflammatory properties. Certain anti-inflammatory foods, like the ones listed below, are highly recommended.

  • Cold water fish, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, bass, and anchovies
  • Fresh and (additive-free) frozen fruits, including apples, apricots, bananas, berries, cantaloupe, grapes, kiwi fruit, oranges, papaya, pineapple, and avocados
  • Certain oils, including flaxseed and olive oils
  • Nuts, including almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts
  • Deep green vegetables such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, collards, and broccoli
  • Other vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, onions, and sweet potatoes
  • Certain spices, including ginger and turmeric
  • Green tea and water, particularly mineral water
  • Whole grains, including wheat, rice, barley, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, millet, oats, quinoa, and spelt
  • Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and tofu

Fish, vegetable oils, walnuts, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and leafy vegetables are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids (sometimes called n-3 fatty acids). Evidence shows that a diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids can lead to a modest reduction in symptoms for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.1

Just because a food is not on the above list does not mean it cannot be part of an anti-inflammatory diet. There are many varieties of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, and lean fish, so people can take advantage of this diversity to enjoy a delicious and varied diet.

The Ultimate Arthritis Diet


One of the most common questions people with arthritis ask is, “Is there a special arthritis diet?” While there’s no miracle diet for arthritis, many foods can help fight inflammation and improve joint pain and other symptoms.

For starters, a diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and beans, but low processed foods and saturated fat, is not only great for overall health, but can also help manage disease activity. If this advice sounds familiar, it’s because these are the principles of the Mediterranean diet, which is frequently touted for its anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting powers.

Mediterranean Diet

Studies confirm that eating foods commonly part of the Mediterranean diet have the following benefits:
•    Lower blood pressure
•    Protect against chronic conditions, ranging from cancer to stroke
•    Help arthritis by curbing inflammation
•    Benefit your joints as well as your heart
•    Lead to weight loss, which can lessen joint pain  

Here are key foods from the Mediterranean diet and why they’re so good for joint health. Find more nutrition and other information to manage pain with the free Vim app.  

Fish

  • How much: Health authorities like the American Heart Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend three to four ounces of fish, twice a week. Arthritis experts claim more is better.
  • Why: Some types of fish are good sources of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. One study found those who had the highest consumption of omega-3s had lower levels of two inflammatory proteins: C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6. More recently, researchers have shown that taking fish oil supplements helps reduce joint swelling and pain, duration of morning stiffness and disease activity among people who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Best sources: Salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, anchovies, scallops and other cold-water fish. Hate fish? Take a supplement. Studies show that taking 600 to 1,000 mg of fish oil daily eases joint stiffness, tenderness, pain and swelling.

Nuts & Seeds

  • How much: Eat 1.5 ounces of nuts daily (one ounce is about a handful).
  • Why: “Multiple studies confirm the role of nuts in an anti-inflammatory diet,” explains José M. Ordovás, PhD, director of nutrition and genomics at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. One study found that over a 15-year period, men and women who consumed the most nuts had a 51% lower risk of dying from an inflammatory disease (like RA) compared with those who ate the fewest nuts. Another study found that subjects with lower levels of vitamin B6 — found in most nuts — had higher levels of inflammatory markers.
  • More good news: Nuts are jam-packed with inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fat. And though they’re relatively high in fat and calories, studies show noshing on nuts promotes weight loss because their protein, fiber and monounsaturated fats are satiating. “Just keep in mind that more is not always better,” says Ordovás.
  • Best sources: Walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds.

Fruits & Vegetables

  • How much: Aim for nine or more servings daily (one serving equals one cup of most veggies or fruit or two cups of raw leafy greens).
  • Why: Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants. These potent chemicals act as the body’s natural defense system, helping to neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can damage cells. Research has shown that anthocyanins found in cherries and other red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • More good news: Citrus fruits — like oranges, grapefruits and limes — are rich in vitamin C. Research shows getting the right amount of that vitamin aids in preventing inflammatory arthritis and maintaining healthy joints. Other research suggests eating vitamin K-rich veggies like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale and cabbage dramatically reduces inflammatory markers in the blood.
  • Best sources: Colorful fruits and veggies — the darker or more brilliant the color, the more antioxidants it has. Good ones include blueberries, cherries, spinach, kale and broccoli.

Olive Oil

  • How much: Two to three tablespoons daily.
  • Why: Olive oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats, as well as oleocanthal, which has properties similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). “Oleocanthal inhibits activity of COX enzymes, with a pharmacological action similar to ibuprofen,” says Ordovás. Inhibiting these enzymes dampens the body’s inflammatory processes and reduces pain sensitivity.
  • Best sources: Extra virgin olive oil goes through less refining and processing, so it retains more nutrients than standard varieties. And it’s not the only oil with health benefits. Avocado and safflower oils have shown cholesterol-lowering properties, while walnut oil has 10 times the omega-3s that olive oil has.

Beans

  • How much: About one cup, twice a week (or more).
  • Why: Beans are loaded with fiber and phytonutrients, which help lower CRP, an indicator of inflammation found in the blood. At high levels, CRP could indicate anything from an infection to RA. In a study scientists analyzed the nutrient content of 10 common bean varieties and identified a host of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. Beans are also an excellent and inexpensive source of protein and have about 15 grams per cup, which is important for muscle health.
  • Best sources: Small red beans, red kidney beans and pinto beans rank among the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s top four antioxidant-containing foods (wild blueberries take the number 2 spot).

Whole Grains

  • How much: Eat a total of six ounces of grains per day; at least three of which should come from whole grains. One ounce of whole grain would be equal to ½ cup cooked brown rice or one slice of whole-wheat bread.
  • Why: Whole grains contain plenty of filling fiber — which can help you maintain a healthy weight. Some studies have also shown that fiber and fiber-rich foods can lower blood levels of CRP, an inflammatory marker. 
  • Best sources: Eat foods made with the entire grain kernel, like whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, bulgur, brown rice and quinoa. Some people may need to be careful about which whole grains they eat. Gluten — a protein found in wheat and other grains — has been linked to inflammation for people with celiac disease (CD) or gluten sensitivity. 

Nightshade Vegetables

  • Why: Nightshade vegetables, including eggplant, tomatoes, red bell peppers and potatoes, are disease-fighting powerhouses that boast maximum nutrition for minimal calories.
  • Why not: They also contain solanine, a chemical that has been branded the culprit in arthritis pain. There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that nightshades trigger arthritis flares.
  • Test it: Some experts believe these vegetables contain a potent nutrient mix that helps inhibit arthritis pain. However, many people do report symptom relief when they avoid nightshade vegetables. So, if you notice that your arthritis pain flares after eating them, consider eliminating all nightshade vegetables from your diet for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference. Then slowly add them back into your diet to see if symptoms worsen or stay the same.

7-day meal plan

This simple, 7-day meal plan features 28 easy-to-prepare meals and snacks. Use it as a jump-off point to provide some inspiration and ideas for your anti-inflammatory diet.

Day 1

  • Breakfast: mashed avocado on whole grain toast
  • Lunch: tuna salad sandwich with a side salad
  • Dinner: chickpea spaghetti with no-sugar-added pasta sauce, ground turkey meatballs, and roasted broccoli
  • Snack: Greek yogurt with mixed berries

How to make tuna salad

Combine canned, flaked tuna with avocado oil mayonnaise, whole grain mustard, diced pickles, salt, and pepper.

Day 2

  • Breakfast: overnight oats with cherries
  • Lunch: shrimp, avocado, and lettuce wrap with fresh herbs and lemon juice
  • Dinner: grilled salmon with asparagus and sweet potato
  • Snack: turmeric latte and a handful of nuts

How to make overnight oats

Mix one part old-fashioned oats, one part yogurt, and one part plant-based milk. Refrigerate overnight, then add fresh lemon or lime juice and cherries before eating.

Day 3

  • Breakfast: chia pudding with orange slices and blueberries
  • Lunch: chicken and pesto flatbread pizza with asparagus
  • Dinner: tempeh, bok choy, and mushroom stir-fry with rice, ginger, and soy sauce
  • Snack: sliced pears and Gouda cheese

How to make chia pudding

Combine 2 tablespoons (20 grams) of chia seeds with 1/2 cup (120 mL) of plant-based milk, a sweetener, and flavors of your choice (like stevia and vanilla). Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or overnight, then add fresh fruit and/or nut butter.

Day 4

  • Breakfast: yogurt parfait with blueberries and walnuts
  • Lunch: Cobb salad with hard-boiled eggs
  • Dinner: fish tacos with red cabbage slaw
  • Snack: matcha latte and nut butter on whole grain toast

How to make red cabbage slaw

Make a dressing from 1/2 cup (115 grams) of mayo, juice from 1 lime, 1 teaspoon (2 grams) of chili powder, and 1–2 tablespoons (20–40 grams) of honey. Mix the dressing through 1 head of finely shredded red cabbage.

Day 5

  • Breakfast: protein berry and avocado smoothie
  • Lunch: pasta salad with chicken and spinach
  • Dinner: grilled steak with roasted butternut squash and a side salad
  • Snack: bottled kefir and a pomegranate

How to make protein smoothies and pasta salad with tuna and spinach

Protein smoothie: Blend 1 cup (240 mL) of plant-based milk, 1 scoop of protein powder, half an avocado, half a banana, 1/2 cup (95 grams) of frozen berries, and a handful of ice.

Pasta salad with chicken and spinach: Toss cooked whole wheat pasta, shredded or diced rotisserie chicken, and baby spinach with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Day 6

  • Breakfast: spinach and mushroom egg scramble
  • Lunch: hummus, turkey breast, and veggie sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • Dinner: turmeric-spiced baked chicken thighs with roasted cauliflower and a baked sweet potato
  • Snack: hibiscus tea and seed crackers with nut butter

How to make spinach and mushroom egg scramble

Sauté mushrooms and spinach in a little oil, then add two beaten eggs, salt, and pepper, and stir continuously until the eggs are fully cooked.

Day 7

  • Breakfast: banana pancakes
  • Lunch: sushi bowl with rice, avocado, crab meat, sesame seeds, seaweed strips, and soy sauce
  • Dinner: roasted chickpea salad with whole grain pita bread triangles, lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, and Greek dressing
  • Snack: lacto-fermented pickles and fresh fruit

3 Controversial Foods in an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Some foods that are normally considered part of a healthy diet may cause inflammation in some people. Common examples of these foods are nightshade plants, dairy products, and wheat gluten.

  1. Nightshade plants
    Eggplant, pepper, white potatoes and tomatoes are collectively called “nightshade” plants. These plants contain a chemical called solanine, which some people believe promotes arthritis inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation does not support the position that nightshade plants cause arthritis inflammation but does acknowledge that some people may be sensitive to certain vegetables.
  2. Dairy products
    Over the years researchers have found that dairy products are associated with many benefits, such as reducing the risk of gout in men and slowing down the progression of osteoarthritis in women. Low-fat yogurt, cheese and milk can be particularly beneficial. However, in certain people, dairy products may produce inflammation that affects the joints.See Gout Prevention and Osteoarthritis Symptoms and Signs
  3. Wheat gluten
    Like dairy products, whole-wheat products can be part of a healthy diet. However, a protein found in wheat, called gluten, is associated with inflammation and joint pain in certain individuals.

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