Making Smart Food Choices When You Have Arthritis

  • January 22, 2020

The spotlight has recently been shining brightly on the role inflammation plays in preventing—or contributing to—various diseases. It's an issue without a clear answer.

For some health conditions, inflammation is a valuable part of the body's defense. It helps counter the harmful effects of nutritional toxicity. The bad news, however, is this protective response also causes pain for people with illnesses such as osteoarthritis, Raynaud’s Syndrome, and lupus.

By making lifestyle modifications, you may be able to reduce some inflammation. One of the most effective changes you can make is adopting an anti-inflammatory diet.

Food Choices That Impact Inflammation in the Body

Why do so many physicians recommend anti-inflammatory diets for patients who have chronic illnesses? Because they work.

While medications can reduce inflammation in the body, many cause side effects seniors aren’t willing to overlook. Digestive issues, bone loss, and increased appetite are just a few. An anti-inflammatory diet is a more holistic option for managing chronic pain.

What constitutes an inflammation-fighting diet?

A few factors you should be aware of as you plan menus include:

  • Limiting saturated fat consumption: Unhealthy saturated fats increase inflammation in the body. By restricting how much of these you consume, you may be able to keep inflammation in check. Avoid red meat and processed, fast, and fried foods.
  • Focusing on fruits and vegetables: Eating seven to nine servings of vegetables and fruits every day can also help reduce inflammation. Berries, cherries, and oranges are helpful fruits. Cruciferous vegetables are especially good choices. Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts are some examples.
  • Eating plenty of fiber-rich foods: Foods high in fiber generally contain phytonutrients, which are natural anti-inflammatory agents. Most fruits and vegetables contain fiber, as do barley, oatmeal, lentils, and kidney beans.
  • Incorporating fish in your diet: Some types of fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, sole, and flounder, contain healthy protein and inflammation-fighting Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Cooking with herbs and spices: Using herbs and spices in your cooking is another way to beat inflammation naturally. Turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon are known to have anti-inflammatory benefits.

In addition to diet, exercise may also reduce the pain and symptoms of arthritis.

Exercise and Arthritis Benefits

While it seems counterintuitive when your joints are swollen and painful, exercising does help. Research shows even a 20-minute workout can reduce inflammation. Walking, swimming, chair yoga, and cycling are a few low-impact exercises to discuss with your physician.

At Five Star Senior Living communities, we make it easier to stay on track with healthy nutrition and physical fitness. Call us today at (617) 796-8387 to learn more!


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