7 Foods for Feeling Better When You Have Arthritis
One in six Canadian adults has arthritis. Although most are 75 or older, many are much younger.
The two most common forms of the disease — osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis — tend to cause painful joints. No wonder your grandmother had so many home remedies for the condition. That doesn’t mean they’re all effective. Copper bracelets? Debunked. Magnet therapy? Doesn’t work. Diet? Now we’re on to something!
Certain foods can fight inflammation, boost the immune system or promote a healthy weight — all factors in alleviating the symptoms of arthritis. Because arthritis takes so many different forms, individual results with these foods will, of course, vary. But you can’t say it isn’t fun experimenting.
Cabbage and its cousins, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, all contain sulforaphane, a compound common to cruciferous vegetables. Promising research has shown that sulforaphane may slow down damage to cartilage and reduce joint inflammation. A 2016 study in the Clinical Journal of Pain even suggests that wrapping raw cabbage leaves around sore arthritic knees may help ease the pain!
Cherries, specifically the tart or sour variety, are rich in a flavonoid known as anthocyanin. This antioxidant also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that may help osteoarthritis. Research using components of tart cherries, such as concentrated juice, show a range of benefits including decreased pain. The cherry juice may also reduce flare-ups in people with a form of arthritis called gout. And if those aren’t enough benefits for you, consider the findings of researchers at Northumbria University: People who drank concentrated tart cherry juice had higher levels of melatonin and enjoyed a longer and better sleep compared to those on placebos.
Omega-3 fatty acids are well proven to help with inflammation, which makes an omega-3 supplement a reliable arthritis remedy. But why take your omega-3s in pill form, when there are so many delicious food sources? Exhibit A: tofu, a versatile fermented soybean product that’s high in ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), one of the three types of omega-3 fats. Tofu is also high in fibre and low in fat, and it packs a protein punch. Plus it’s rich in important minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc. (Oily fish like salmon, of course, is another excellent source of omega-3 fats.)
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