If you’re looking for inflammation-fighting foods to bolster your health and help your arthritis symptoms, hit the produce section of the grocery store.
“Vegetables have the most potent antioxidants and more nutrients than any other food,” says Mladen Golubic, MD, PhD, medical director of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at The Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.
“Each antioxidant works slightly differently but they all work in synergy to give you the best bang for your buck,” says registered dietitian Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “Eating a variety of vegetables will assure that you’re getting some of everything.”
Broccoli is high in vitamins A and C and is a good source of vitamin K, which research shows may reduce inflammatory markers in the blood. It also contains sulforaphane, a compound in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli that may block enzymes linked to cartilage breakdown and joint destruction, according to a 2013 study in Arthritis & Rheumatism.
These tubers contain vitamin C as well as beta-carotene. Low levels of antioxidants – especially beta-carotene – increased the risk of spinal degeneration in a 2011 study in the journal Spine.
Onions contain the flavonoid quercetin, an antioxidant that blocks the production of chemicals in the body that promote inflammation. What’s more, a 2010 study in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders showed a lower incidence of hip arthritis in women who regularly ate vegetables in the allium family, including onions, garlic and leeks.
Kale has an abundance of vitamin K, contains high levels of vitamins A and C, and is rich in flavonoids. A 2010 review of flavonoid studies in the journal Planta Medica notes that there’s considerable evidence to support a link between flavonoids and a lower risk of inflammation-regulated chronic diseases.
Peas contain phenolic acids, a type of antioxidant that may help protect against inflammatory-related diseases, according to a 2012 review in the British Journal of Nutrition. Peas contain a variety of phenolic compounds and are also good sources of flavonoi