From granola bars to pasta, the flood of products touting high protein might have you wondering if you should be getting more protein. For most Americans, that’s probably not the case, and the packaged products filling grocery shelves may not be the best sources, because many high-protein packaged foods are also high in added sugars and calories.
When you have arthritis, you know that what you put in your body has a huge impact on your health and well being. Maybe you’ve seen foods in grocery stores marked “Non GMO” or heard the debate over genetically modified organisms, and you may be wondering if you should avoid them. Opponents say foods with GMOs may be harmful, and a law was passed in 2016 requiring labels on them. Some manufacturers are voluntarily labeling their products. But experts say safety concerns are overblown.
“There is a lot of confusion and fear surrounding GMO ingredients in foods,” says registered dietitian Kim Larson, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Let’s clear up the confusion.
Fiber packs a big punch when it comes to your health. Research shows it helps lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels and aid in weight loss, which can ease pressure on joints. Scientists also have discovered that nutrients in dietary fiber help promote beneficial gut bacteria, which may reduce inflammation. And new research found that eating a high-fiber diet is linked with a lower risk for knee osteoarthritis and pain.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends about 30 grams of dietary fiber a day for men and 25 grams for women – much more than the 18 and 15 grams, respectively, that Americans typically consume. The good news is that adding just one fruit, vegetable or whole grain to every meal or snack can help.
Not too long ago, you had two nut butter choices to spread on your toast: creamy or crunchy peanut butter. Now peanut butter has competition, each with its own additional nutritional benefits. Add these tasty spreads to your arthritis diet.
Research has shown that eating a lot of refined carbohydrates, especially white flour and having a low-fiber diet increases inflammation. Getting 25g or more of fiber in your diet may also reduce the risk of colon and other cancers, lower cholesterol and possibly help regulate blood sugar. Stocking up on whole-grains products are good for overall health as they naturally have plenty of vitamin B-6, vitamin E, magnesium, folic acid, copper, zinc, and manganese. And studies also show that people who eat three or more servings of whole grains a day lower their risk of heart disease. Because high-fiber foods can help you to feel full faster, eating the right amount may make it easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight which is important for people with arthritis.
Have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity? Try high-fiber gluten-free grains such as amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat and cornmeal.
Meats, soups, fruits or vegetables, the canned variety offers many benefits. You’ll still get the inflammation-fighting omega 3 fatty acids in canned salmon, sardines and tuna. Canned vegetables and fruits are often processed shortly after they are picked, and nutrient losses don’t occur during shipping, on the grocer’s shelf, or in your home. Their portability makes them great for an arthritis diet on the go. They last longer and can save you money.
And there are some veggies that may be more beneficial in canned form rather than fresh. Canned tomatoes, for example, are a better source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, because cooking makes them easier for the body to absorb. According to a comparative analysis of canned, fresh, and frozen fruits and vegetables by the University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, fiber content is as high in canned products as in their fresh counterparts and the canning process may actually increase calcium levels in fish as compared to its freshly cooked variety.
Looking for an easy, delicious way to improve your heath and arthritis? It’s all about filling your plate with the right combos. “Many nutrients have a synergistic effect. And what’s terrific is that the foods that contain these nutrients tend to taste great together,” says Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor at Boston University.
Here are five food duos that can supercharge your diet.
Wrapping gifts and baking cookies can be a real challenge with arthritis pain and fatigue. We asked some experts for ways to make these time-honored holiday traditions easier and healthier.
Good-for-you foods provide a vast spectrum of nutrients important to battling arthritis inflammation, strengthening bones, fighting disease and generally helping you feel your best. So why not load up on vitamin and mineral supplements to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients? Food trumps supplements for several important reasons:
“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.