March is Nutrition Month. The focus of Nutrition Month is to encourage people to make positive food choices and to aid them in developing good eating habits. While arthritis is not categorized as a food-related condition, what you eat can impact it either positively or negatively. We are going to provide you with information on foods that benefit those with arthritis and foods that should be avoided as well.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammation triggers arthritis. There are certain foods that are anti-inflammatory in nature and will therefore benefit arthritis patients.

The Mediterranean diet contains many inflammation controlling staples. This heart healthy diet emphasizes eating fish, fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, and olive oil, all of which are anti-inflammatory.

Salmon, tuna, sardines, and other cold water fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids which help fight inflammation. The recommendation is consumption of three to four ounces of these types of fish weekly.

Bright colored fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, kale, broccoli, and spinach are all loaded with antioxidants, which not only give your immune system a boost, but may also eliminate or reduce inflammation in your body.

Beans contain the same antioxidant and inflammation controlling properties as the fruits and vegetables. Some beans you might want to include in your weekly menu. These include: black beans, cannellini beans, and pinto beans.

Whole grains are those with their seed left intact. Eating more whole grains results in lowered levels of c-reactive protein (CRP). This protein indicates inflammation in the body. Another benefit of eating whole grains versus processed grains is that they contain fiber. Fiber is filling, aiding you in maintaining a healthy weight. Less weight equals less pressure on your joints, which means less arthritic pain. Whole grains that you can incorporate in your diet are: whole wheat breads and pastas, and brown rice.

Olive oil is excellent for people with arthritis. One of its ingredients is a natural chemical that stops other inflammation-causing chemicals from being produced. Extra-virgin (EVOO) is recommended, as it is derived from the first pressing of the olives and therefore contains the highest content of healthy nutrients. ( (

Foods Arthritis Patients Should Avoid

Processed foods are on the arthritis patients' nemesis list. Snacks such as cookies and chips contain large amounts of unhealthy fats, which contribute to inflammation. Snack on fresh fruit instead to help avoid this problem. Canned vegetables and soups are high in inflammation producing sodium. To alleviate this issue, opt for fresh or frozen vegetables and homemade soup instead. Peeling fresh fruits and vegetables can be challenging for arthritis patients, but there are some adaptive knives and utensils that can make it easier for you.

Cutting down on or eliminating dairy products, may be helpful to many arthritis patients. The type of protein contained in these products causes the tissue surrounding the joints to get irritated in some people.

Corn oil containing baked goods or snacks should be avoided because they contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids trigger inflammation.

Although diet does not cause arthritis, the right diet can help alleviate the inflammation that contributes to arthritis joint pain. We hope these suggestions of foods to eat and avoid help you in minimizing your or your loved one's arthritis symptoms.

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