Arthritis doesn’t play favorites. It can strike anyone regardless of age, ethnicity or background.
And no matter whether its osteoarthritis that’s developed in your joints from overuse, or rheumatoid arthritis an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your joints, the result is arthritis pain that keeps you sidelined.
But fortunately inflammation-easing arthritis superfoods can help ease your arthritis pain and get you back into the game again.
Put these on your plate to slash inflammation and arthritis pain
If you’re battling arthritis inflammation and pain, try putting more of these three arthritis superfoods on your menu.
1. Fatty fish:
Fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines deliver a one two punch of arthritis pain relief with plenty of inflammation slashing omega-3 fatty acids plus vital vitamin D.
The omega-3s in fish are natural anti-inflammatories, which target the inflammation receptors in your body.1 That means they can help ease both the joint and (often-overlooked) muscle pain of arthritis.
A meta-analysis of 17 different randomized controlled trials in volunteers with rheumatoid arthritis confirmed their pain-relieving power.2 According to researchers the omega-3s were able to ease …
- stiffness in the morning
- overall intensity of pain
- number of joints that hurt
- use of pain relievers
And a study published in the BMJ’s Annals of Rheumatology found that a fish oil supplement significantly improved the effectiveness of standard arthritis treatment in folks with rheumatoid arthritis.3 The omega-3 rich oil helped guide more people into remission than the traditional drug treatment alone.
In fact, omega-3-rich fish oil works so well that in a study on back and neck pain 59 percent of the volunteers were able to give up their NSAID pain relievers completely!4
But omega-3s aren’t the only arthritis fighting nutrient wild-caught fatty fish bring to the table. They’re also a great source of vitamin D.
Researchers are still working to understand the connections between vitamin D deficiency and arthritis. But multiple studies have already found that folks with rheumatoid arthritis often have low levels of the vitamin.5,6
To raise your own omega-3 and vitamin D levels aim for two servings of wild caught fatty fish a week. And try walnuts too, for plant-based omega-3s which can also help turn down inflammation levels.
You may also want to consider a fish oil and vitamin D3 supplement to assure you’re getting enough of both of these vital nutrients to reverse your arthritis pain.
Ginger is delicious in everything from teas to desserts. And everyone knows it’s terrific for settling turbulent tummies. But it turns out the bitey but sweet spice is also tops when it comes to fighting arthritis pain.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that targets the inflammation and pain of arthritis in much the same way NSAIDs or cox-2 inhibiting drugs so.7,8 But without the dangerous side effects, of course.
In a study published in the journal Osteoarthritis Cartilage researchers found that 170 mg of ginger extract significantly slashed arthritis pain.9 In fact, many of the volunteers for the trial ended up taking less pain killers.
In another study, folks battling arthritis pain who took a 250 mg ginger supplement for three months had their knee pain plummet.10 And according to another study published in Osteoarthritis Cartilage 63 percent of volunteers had significant pain relief when taking a 255 mg ginger extract.11
Eating more fresh ginger could help reduce the inflammation behind your own arthritis pain. Add ginger to soups, stir fries and side dishes. Or make fresh-brewed ginger tea a part of your regular routine.
Grate one and one half teaspoons of fresh ginger into a tall glass measuring cup. Pour one and one half cups of boiling water over the top and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and stir in one to two teaspoons of honey to taste.
3. Berries and cherries:
Berries and cherries may be small, but there’s a ton of important vitamins, mineral and antioxidants packed into those small packages. And many of those same nutrients are behind their anti-inflammatory benefits.
For example, studies have shown that both quercetin and rutin can short-circuit the type of inflammation that’s associated with arthritis pain. A lab study published in the journal Inflammation Research found that quercetin helps mute the inflammation behind arthritis.12 And in an animal study, both rutin and quercetin cooled off arthritis related inflammation.13
Just two servings of delicious strawberries a week could help relieve your arthritis pain according to a large study.14 Researchers found strawberry fans were 14 percent less likely to have signs of inflammation in their blood
And anthocyanin-rich cherries are natural inflammation fighters too. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition a serving of berries can slash inflammation markers up to 25 percent. Plus the antioxidants help build a wall against the enzymes that trigger your arthritis pain.
Load up on berries and cherries while they are in season, and try frozen in the off season. Tart cherry juice is another great year-round option. Studies show it can significantly reduce inflammation and arthritis pain.15,16
Don’t let joint pain put you on the sidelines. Eat more of these arthritis battling superfoods to slash inflammation and your arthritis pain and get you back in the game.
1. “Fatty fish intake decreases lipids related to inflammation and insulin signaling–a lipidomics approach,” PLoS One. 2009;4(4):e5258
2. 16. “A meta-analysis of the analgesic effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for inflammatory joint pain,” Pain. 2007 May;129(1-2):210-23
3. “Fish oil in recent onset rheumatoid arthritis: a randomised, double-blind controlled trial within algorithm-based drug use,” Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2015;74:89-95
4. “Serum Vitamin D Level and Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity: Review and Meta-Analysis,” PLoS One. 2016; 11(1): e0146351
5. “Vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis,” Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Dec; 3(6): 181–187
6. “Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain,” Surg Neurol. 2006 Apr;65(4):326-31
7. “Effect of ginger constituents and synthetic analogues on cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme in intact cells” Bioorg Chem. 2001 Jun;29(3):156-63
8. “Ginger extract (Zingiber officinale) has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects on ethionine-induced hepatoma rats,” Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2008 Dec;63(6):807-13
9. “A randomised, placebo-controlled, cross-over study of ginger extracts and ibuprofen in osteoarthritis,” Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2000; 8(1):9–12
10. “Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in participants with osteoarthritis,” Arthritis & Rheumatology 2001; 44(11):2531–8
11. “The effects of Zintona EC (a ginger extract) on symptomatic gonarthritis,” Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2003; 11(11):783–9
12. “The antioxidants curcumin and quercetin inhibit inflammatory processes associated with arthritis,” Macrothink Institute Jurnal of Food Studies, Inflamm Res. 2006 Apr;55(4):168-75
13. “Anti-inflammatory properties of plant flavonoids. Effects of rutin, quercetin and hesperidin on adjuvant arthritis in rat,” Farmaco. 2001 Sep;56(9):683-7
14. “Strawberry intake, lipids, C-reactive protein, and the risk of cardiovascular disease in women,” J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Aug;26(4):303-10
15. “Randomized double-blind crossover study of the efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee,” Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Aug;21(8):1035-41
16. “Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice to Reduce Inflammation Biomarkers among Women with Inflammatory Osteoarthritis (OA), Vol 1, No 1 (2012)