Can Foods Help Arthritis?

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Can certain foods help arthritis? An arthritis diet will help decrease pain and inflammation, and arthritis foods are simple to figure out.

Patients always ask me "Is there a relationship between diet and arthritis?

Of course there is! And with the right know how and a plan, you can use food to your advantage. The right foods can:

  • Decrease inflammation
  • Speed up healing
  • Help you rest easier at night
  • Have more energy
  • Look and feel younger
  • Decrease pain levels

In ancient times, food was the original medicine. And we've moved so far away from what we should be eating that chronic diseases like arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease are growing at an alarming rate. Luckily, eating for overall health makes it easy; because these foods help arthritis, too. I'm even going to go as far as to say that the right diet, implemented early enough, can help with osteoarthritis prevention. So if your loved ones eat this way, they'll benefit as well.

Back to nature: These foods help arthritis, naturally

Walk down any supermarket aisle and you will see brightly colored boxes, cans, pouches, and wrappers.

The sad truth is that most people eat dead food; food that was once alive and filled with nutrients that your body can use has been processed, heated, and canned or boxed to last a long time on the shelf. These foods don't contain nourishment. They contain preservatives and chemicals. Yes, some nutrients have been added back in (they were "enriched") but not in the same amounts and ratios that Mother Nature intended.

Prepared foods lead to:

  • Weight gain
  • Inflammation
  • Malnutrition
  • Skin problems
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Low energy
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Mid-afternoon slump

Whole foods help arthritis pain because they are naturally anti-inflammatory (click here for a discussion of inflammatory foods), and full of what you need to heal.

You've heard the phrase "You are what you eat?" Let me explain it in a new way.

Every second, your cells are dying and new ones are being formed. Every 2 years, you get an entirely new you. In two years' time, all of your cells will be replaced with new ones. The food you eat and the things you drink are absorbed and used to create those new cells.

Eat good food, get new good cells.

Eat bad food, get new bad cells.

It really is as simple as that.

So if you want to eat foods help your arthritis, you have to eat so your body can create new, healthy cells.

The eating plan that is further down the page is full of healthy, whole foods and will help you lose weight if you need to. If you want more information at home weight loss tips, follow this link to go to another page.

For a great book, filled with information about which foods help arthritis, I recommend Julie Daniluk's book Meals That Heal Inflammation. Don't underestimate the relationship between diet and arthritis. I had a patient recently tell me that he was a long term gout sufferer. It took him years, but he finally learned high fructose corn syrup caused it. He got rid of HFCS and it went away. He accidentally ate it again, and it came back.

Anyway, check out Julie's book, I think you'll like it. Note: As of late August, 2011, Julie's site is down for maintenance until the launch of her new book in December.

70% of your body is made up of water. You can live weeks without food but only days without water. It lubricates your joints (drink more water if you have arthritis!), helps your blood move well, and is one of the single most important things you can do for your body.

Drink half of your body weight in ounces per day. So if you weigh 200 lbs, drink 100 ounces of water each day.

For the health benefits of drinking water, click here.

What About Dessert? Can't I Have Dessert?

Let's talk briefly about sweets. I know as well as you do that if you don't allow yourself some treats when you are trying to eat healthy, you'll go crazy and eventually fall off the proverbial wagon. But I have good news.

1/2 ounce of dark chocolate a day can help with weight loss!

Dark chocolate is full of anti-oxidants and has chemical properties that can affect your mood (in a good way!). It can help you with your arthritis diet in two ways.

1) You don't feel deprived every day so you're less likely to rebel and eat a plate full of cookies.


2) The brain chemicals it releases can help you feel more even and steady which makes you less likely to run for a carbohydrate fix.

It also has been shown to reduce inflammation. So if you want to indulge, please do, with dark chocolate as your favorite sweet. 🙂

The other option to help you with sweets craving is juicing. Many people try juicing for weight loss and find that it completely eradicates their cravings for sweets. It's also chock-full of nutrition, and we already know that plants are super good for us. So if you find you can't get your sugar cravings under control, juicing may help.

Some definitions to help you evaluate which foods help arthritis

Carbohydrates - anything that originally grew in the ground. All your grains, fruits, beans, and vegetables fall in this category. So do most nuts, but because of their fat content, nuts are considered fats (but HEALTHY fats!)

Proteins - mostly animal products. Beef, chicken, pork, turkey, duck, shellfish, fish, eggs, and dairy products (which also count as carbohydrates, but dairy products tend to have low glycemic ratings).

Fats - Butter, oils, nuts, avocados (also a carbohydrate but it counts as a fat). Fats break down to saturated (are solid at room temperature) and unsaturated (liquid at room temperature). The unsaturated fats are ideal in an arthritis diet. I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil almost exclusively in my cooking, and the natural fats found in certain fish are excellent for joint health. You should eat fish twice a week.... it is an excellent protein source and very low in unhealthy fats. I like it broiled, with sauteed spinach and a little olive oil. And lucky me, these foods help arthritis, too!

Interested in using herbs for arthritis, too? Follow this link to learn about them.