9 Common Foods That Help Arthritis Pain

By:    Published: December 5, 2012

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If you suffer from the pain and discomfort caused by arthritis, chances are you have relied on pain killers for relief at some point. You may be surprised to learn that there are natural ways to relieve the pain associated with arthritis. One such way is to eat certain foods that are believed to help significantly reduce arthritis pain. These foods contain properties that can reduce inflammation and help manage the disease. While no food can cure arthritis, you may see noticeable changes in your level of discomfort by simply adding these 9 common foods.

Vegetables Rich In Vitamin C

Many researchers now believe that individuals who consume a diet that is deficient in vitamin C are at a greater risk for developing certain types of arthritis. Eating vegetables that have high vitamin C content can help to build collagen. Collagen is a key component in cartilage, which helps to cushion your joints. Vegetables rich in vitamin C include:

  • Sweet peppers (green, yellow and red)
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Mustard greens
  • Red cabbage
  • White potatoes (skin intact)

Fruits Rich In Vitamin C

Vegetables are not the only type of produce that can offer pain relieving benefits for those suffering from arthritis. It is also beneficial to eat fruits that are high in vitamin C. Not only do fruits with plenty of vitamin C help to build collagen for healthy cartilage between joints, they also may help the body ward off other illness due to their high antioxidant levels. (To learn more about foods with antioxidants, read 10 Antioxidant-Rich Foods To Protect Your Body.)

Many have heard that vitamin C helps boost your immune system, but research shows that components in natural sources of vitamin C also help decrease inflammation in the body and protect against certain types of cancer. If you want to add extra vitamin C to your diet try and stick with food sources rather than supplements, as supplements may not contain the necessary plant nutrients needed to obtain optimal benefits from the vitamin. Fruits rich in vitamin C include:

  • Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Mango

Fruits And Vegetables Rich In Carotenoids

Carotenoids are a type of nutrient that is found in many fruits and vegetables. These powerful antioxidants come in many varieties, the most well know being beta-carotene. When referring to arthritis, the most beneficial carotenoid is beta-cryptoxanthin. Beta-cryptoxanthin may help to reduce the swelling and inflammation associated with certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Butternut squash
  • Kale
  • Pumpkin
  • Mustard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Cantaloupe
  • Apricots
  • Spinach
  • Sweet red peppers

Foods rich in the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin include:

  • Winter squash
  • Persimmons
  • Pumpkin
  • Papaya
  • Tangerines
  • Red peppers
  • Oranges
  • Corn
  • Apricots

Berries

Most berries contain an abundance of bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids such as quercetin and anthocyanidins are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects. Quercetin acts as a natural non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication similar to aspirin or ibuprofen. In addition, anthocyanidin helps to reduce inflammation as well. Both antioxidants have been proven to decrease the chemicals in our bodies that cause inflammation. The bioflavonoids, quercetin and anthocyanidins can be found in berries. Berries containing bioflavonoids include:

  • Blueberries
  • Black currants
  • Lingo berries
  • Blackberries
  • Elderberries
  • Raspberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Strawberries

Green Tea

Green tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. Many people are familiar with the fact that green tea contains antioxidants that can benefit their health. The antioxidants in green tea can also reduce the pain caused by inflammation due to arthritis. Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG, which can lower the body’s production of substances that cause inflammation in the joints and joint damage from arthritis. Choose caffeinated green tea over decaf, as decaffeinated green tea has less of the beneficial nutrients then the caffeinated version.

Fish High In Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as salmon and other fish can help to decrease the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can help arthritis sufferers by decreasing the production of cytokines, an enzyme that wears away cartilage. Fish rich in Omega-3 Fatty acids include:

  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Mackerel (with the exception of king mackerel)
  • Rainbow trout
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Pacific oysters

Aside from fish some other good sources of omeg-3 fatty acids include:

  • Omega-3 fortified eggs
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Walnuts
  • Soy beans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Canola oil
  • Tofu

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil contains antioxidants that can help safeguard the body against inflammation. Olive oil is a “good” monounsaturated fat that can decrease the body’s production of the enzymes that cause inflammation. It is important not to over use olive oil, as it is not a low calorie food. Consuming just one or two teaspoons per day is sufficient.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice from Asia, and like many other spices, has nutritional benefits. Research indicates that turmeric may help the body decrease inflammatory causing chemicals. The suppression of these chemical helps to manage the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Turmeric is commonly used in curry dishes.

Chili Peppers

Chili peppers contain capsaicin. Capsaicin has been associated with the reduction of pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Currently on the market, there are many creams containing capsaicin marketed for pain relief. Research shows that taking capsaicin supplements has reduced pain in people suffering from arthritis, although it is not yet clear if ingesting capsaicin through food has the same effect. Considering that it is a common spice that is relatively easy to find in a variety of foods, many natural health professionals recommend supplementing the diet with capsaicin-rich foods such as chili peppers and other hot peppers.

While eating certain foods cannot cure arthritis, many nutrients in foods can have a beneficial effect on the pain associated with arthritis. Many of the nutrients that are found naturally in food can help to decrease the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Changes in your diet can help make joints healthier and assist in managing your arthritis.

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