You’ve heard about the great foods you can add to your arthritis diet. But what if you’re on a budget? Here are some smart food swaps that are easy on your wallet.
Tea. Home-brewed tea is a good source of catechins, a type of antioxidant that benefits the heart by helping blood vessels relax. That’s especially helpful for people with rheumatoid arthritis, who are at increased risk of heart disease. Bottled teas don’t have catechins, which degrade in a few days. Drink home-brewed instead.
Savings: About 50 cents per 8-ounce serving.
Beans. A good source of protein, beans are practically fat-free and packed with fiber, which helps reduce inflammation as well as LDL (the “bad” cholesterol). Swap beans for half the ground beef in burritos, burgers or casseroles.
Savings: About $2 per 4-ounce serving (and you slash fat, too).
Oatmeal. Plain oatmeal is loaded with heart-healthy, fill-you-up fiber. Because it’s also low in fat and calories, it can help you lose weight to take pressure off your joints. Compared with ready-made granola, oatmeal will leave you change in your pocket.
Savings: About 15 cents per half-cup serving.
Fruits and veggies. Studies show that most frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh – and it keeps a lot longer. “Frozen vegetables might actually have a leg up on fresh veggies, depending on how they are handled, stored and prepared,” says registered dietitian Susan Moores, a nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn. Frozen produce are usually picked at the peak of ripeness, meaning they’re also at their nutritional peak. Fresh produce may be picked before they are fully ripe, especially if they have to travel long distances to your supermarket. Both these actions can affect nutrition quality.
Savings: About 45 cents per ²/³ cup by buying frozen green beans instead of fresh (and much less likely to have spoilage over time, but watch out for freezer burn).
Fish. Canned salmon is a great source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation and may even boost mental function. The American Heart Association recommends eating two fish servings per week. Lunch counts, so stuff a pita with salmon salad instead of high-salt, processed deli meat.
Savings: About 30 cents per 2-ounce serving
- Arthritis Diet Power Shopping: Breakfast Foods, Coffee Tea
- Arthritis Diet Power Shopping: Frozen Foods