HealWithFood.org's Guide to Fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis   ( Home | Diet | Foods | Recipes )

14 Best Foods for Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief


best foods for arthritis

What are the best foods to eat if you want to relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain attacking your joints? Here's a list of some of the best rheumatoid arthritis fighting foods there is. As you'll see, many of these arthritis fighting super-foods can be found at your local grocery store.


#1:  Rosemary

Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, a plant polyphenol that may help alleviate symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The rosmarinic acid in rosemary has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce inflammation of joints. The antioxidant activity of rosmarinic acid is believed to be superior to that of vitamin E. Rosemary can be used to flavor fish, roast meats, and tomato sauces, but also fruits, especially oranges.


#2:  Carrots

Mothers have long encouraged their children to eat their carrots — and for good reason. Carrots, which are supercharged with important nutrients, are an excellent way to give yourself a real health boost. Because of their high concentration of beta-carotene, carrots may also be helpful if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (research has shown beta-carotene to fight inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis). Carrots with the most intense orange color usually contain the highest levels of beta-carotene. In addition to their high beta-carotene content, carrots are a good source of vitamin C, another antioxidant nutrient that has been shown to be beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis.


Ginger
Ginger can reduce pain, stiffness and swelling in RA patients.

#3:  Ginger

Ginger, one of the oldest spices in the world, is well known for its cold treating powers, but people with rheumatoid arthritis may also benefit from adding ginger to their daily diet. Research shows that when people with rheumatoid arthritis eat ginger regularly they experience relief of pain, stiffness, and swelling. These beneficial effects are largely attributable to gingerols which are strong anti-inflammatory substances that also give ginger its distinctive flavor. Some rheumatoid arthritis patients have found relief by consuming as little as a 1/4-inch slice of ginger, although more ginger has been found to bring more relief. Fresh ginger, which is considered the most effective form of this extraordinary root plant, is available year round in the produce section of most supermarkets.


#4:  Green Tea

Green tea has long been part of weight loss diets, but few people are aware that green tea may also be effective at preventing rheumatoid arthritis. Preliminary laboratory tests suggest that catechins, the same compounds that are responsible for green tea's weight loss promoting properties, may reduce inflammation and joint damage associated with rheumatoid arthritis. To maximize the release of catechins, choose loose tea leaves instead of tea bags and let the tea steep for five minutes. Furthermore, research suggests that complementing green tea with a substance high in vitamin C, such as lemon juice, can increase the amount of catechins available for the body.


Nettle
Both folk medicine and scientific research confirm the rheumatoid arthritis fight powers of nettle.

#5:  Nettle

Nettle with its earthy, yet refreshing flavor and aroma, is a great food to add to your food repertoire if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. In traditional folk medicine, nettle has been used to treat symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis for years, and scientific research is beginning to bear out nettle's age-old reputation. German researchers have discovered that nettle can inhibit TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta, substances that cause the inflammatory cascade in rheumatoid arthritis. The young leaves of nettle can be used in stews and soups and in many other dishes in lieu of spinach.


#6:  Kale

Although kale is still a fairly unknown superfood, the nutritional and health benefits of kale are well documented. The beautiful green leaves of kale are chock-full of vitamins and other phytochemicals that have been shown to alleviate symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Not only is kale a great source of vitamin C, it is also one of the most concentrated dietary sources of beta-carotene (kale contains 10 times the beta-carotene of broccoli). As a result of its high content of vitamin C and beta-carotene as well as a number of other antioxidant phytochemicals, kale is at the top of the list of vegetables with the highest ORAC rating. ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, measures foods' ability to disarm free radicals, unstable molecules that are responsible for the inflammation that occurs in rheumatoid arthritis.


#7:  Prunes

Prunes are a superhero food for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers as these little goodies are packed with copper, zinc, and vitamin B6 — a key nutrient combo for fighting this inflammatory disease. Our bodies use copper and zinc to make superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that is able to fight inflammation by neutralizing free radicals. Copper also helps the body manufacture ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue which surround the joints. Furthermore, zinc is also involved in building enzymes that repair joints. (Note: If you are interesting in learning about the benefits of prunes on your overall wellbeing, check out the page Health Benefits of Prunes.


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