“Clean eating means different things to different people, and the “eat clean” catchphrase can be misinterpreted. “It implies that anything but the most pristine food is bad for us,” says registered dietitian Kim Larson, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “but none of us eats a perfect diet.” But while the trend and the catchphrase are fairly new, the philosophy is not, and experts generally agree on the basics: Eating a diet of mostly whole, unprocessed foods and avoiding their highly refined, processed counterparts promotes health and well-being and is a good foundation for an arthritis diet. Some interpretations emphasize organic foods, avoiding genetically modified ingredients, eating more frequent, smaller meals, or “detoxing” with so-called “cleanses.” Here are some clean-eating principles dietitians say you can get behind – or skip.
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.
Vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables contain high levels of phytonutrients – which lend plants a rich hue and protect your health by reducing susceptibility to disease. For optimal nutrition, combine them in one meal. “The more colors you eat at once, the more powerful the phytonutrients are, because of the synergy that happens,” says Steven Pratt, MD, a California-based nutrition expert and author of Super Health: 10 Simple Steps, 6 Easy Weeks, 1 Longer, Healthier Life.
Many of these brightly colored fruits boast anti-inflammatory properties which make them a great addition to your arthritis diet. So splurge on color at the produce department and reap the benefits of different types of phytonutrients.