Sticking to the perimeter of the store, where healthier whole foods are displayed, is your best bet when shopping for an anti-inflammatory diet. But it’s hard to avoid packaged foods altogether – especially when many labels promise everything from a slimmer figure to better health. Here are some common health claims you’ll see on labels, and the truth behind them. Continue reading Misleading Food Labels
You’re aiming to cook healthful, anti-inflammatory meals, but you’re in need of some wholesome side dishes. You want your plate full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats to pack a nutritious, anti-inflammatory, and arthritis-friendly punch.
You may be tempted to reach into the cabinet for a convenient box of seasoned pasta or even a rice mix to make your life easier, but Heather Bainbridge, a registered dietitian at the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, says it’s almost as quick – and a lot healthier – to make easy sides yourself.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will help you fight the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Fruit is low in fat, sodium and calories. It can help you maintain a healthy weight – thereby reducing the pressure on your joints — and it’s rich in nutrients that help fight inflammation. Plus, it tastes great.
Here are tips for finding the freshest fruit and storage tips to increase shelf life.
Continue reading Choosing the Freshest Fruit to Fight Inflammation
Step aside, salmon. Scoot over kale. Make room for flaxseed, a rightful member of the healthiest foods club. It has even been shown to ease arthritis, especially in rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Raynaud’s phenomenon.
“Although flaxseed has been used for a long time – Hippocrates ate and wrote about it in 500 B.C. – it’s only been in the past 10 years that researchers have focused on flaxseed’s health benefits,” says Jocelyn Mathern, a registered dietitian and member of the Flax Lignan Information Bureau Advisory Board, a consumer education organization in Minneapolis.
Continue reading Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Flaxseed
Summer warmth can bring relief to achy joints, and so might summer fruits and vegetables. Indulge in the flavors of the season with these fresh picks, all packed with healthful, inflammation-fighting nutrients.
Strawberries contain anthocyanins, which help keep inflammation at bay, says registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen. Plus, strawberries are rich in vitamin C, which has been linked with building collagen and connective tissue.
Continue reading Summer Fruits and Veggies to Relieve Inflammation
Whoever first said “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was onto something. Research suggests that eating some apple on a daily basis might lower levels of cholesterol as well as C-reactive protein (CRP), a key marker of inflammation in the blood.
In a 2012 study of 160 women ages 45 to 65, half of the participants ate three-quarters of a cup of dried apples every day for a year, and the other half ate a cup of prunes – each 240 calories. Within six months, the apple eaters’ LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased 23 percent, their HDL (good) cholesterol increased 4 percent and their CRP fell 32 percent.
“Lower CRP is better for people with many inflammatory-related diseases, such as [rheumatoid arthritis] and atherosclerosis,” says study author Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, chair of Florida State University’s department of nutrition, food and exercise science in Tallahassee.
Continue reading Research Shows Apples Can Cut Cholesterol and Inflammation
While tasting extra-virgin olive oils in Sicily, Gary Beauchamp, PhD, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, noticed a ticklish, peppery sensation in the back of his throat. It was nearly identical to the “sting” he’d felt when swallowing a liquid form of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, during previous sensory studies. Beauchamp detected a connection between the olive oil and inflammation.
Further studies revealed that a compound in the oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes – the same way ibuprofen works.
“By inhibiting these enzymes, inflammation and the increase in pain sensitivity associated with them is dampened,” says Paul Breslin, PhD, co-author of the 2011 study. Researchers found the intensity of the “throaty bite” in oil is directly related to the amount of oleocanthal it contains. “Virgin olive oils from Tuscany, or other regions that have the same variety of olives, have the highest oleocanthal levels,” says Breslin.
Continue reading Olive Oil Reduces Arthritis Inflammation
It’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Research has shown that breakfast skippers tend to overeat at other meals and snack excessively throughout the day. That can make it hard to maintain a healthy weight as you manage your arthritis.
But what you eat for breakfast is important. Hot and cold cereals are good options. They are quick ways to get a serving of fiber-full whole grains that can help reduce inflammation. While oatmeal may be your go-to grain, there are several nutritious cereals made from corn, brown rice, quinoa, hemp, buckwheat and kamut. Keep in mind that whole grain choices are not calorie-free and portion control is important.
Want to eat right for your arthritis? Limit sugar, processed foods and saturated fat (the kind in red meat and butter). Get plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean protein (like fish, nuts, seeds and beans). And try adding more of these three arthritis-friendly foods to your diet. Each has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help squelch pain.
Think beyond salmon if you want to reel in the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. A 3-ounce serving of canned sardines contains about 1.4 grams of omega-3 fats and is a good source of vitamin D, which helps our bodies absorb calcium to build and maintain strong bones. To save calories, look for sardines packed in water instead of oil.