According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 40 million Americans are currently living with arthritis. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States; with the annual cost to the U.S. economy being estimated at more than $130 billion.
Studies have shown that people who suffer from arthritis can improve symptoms by changing their diet. The cause of arthritis can stem from various situations. Certainly, genetics plays a role in whether a person will develop arthritis. Other factors include age, weight, previous injuries, some high-level sports, and illness or infection.
Arthritis is oftentimes accompanied by inflammation. Inflammation is the body's natural defense to injury. It occurs when the body produces too many cytokines. Cytokines send signals to the brain, which are used to allow one cell to communicate with another. Certain foods are known to cause an over-production of cytokines. Eliminating these cytokine-producing foods can help arthritis sufferers better manage their symptoms by reducing inflammation within the body.
Colorful fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, which are helpful in fighting inflammation. Fruits which are high in vitamin C provide the most benefit for people with arthritis. These include blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi fruit, mango, cantaloupe melon and apples.
Choose vegetables that are high in vitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, collard greens, kale, spinach, squash, and sweet potatoes.
Consume foods or use dietary supplements that are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. These include certain types of fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout. Unfortunately much of the world's fish supply is contaminated with high levels of mercury. It is recommended that you limit fish consumption 4-ounce portions, consumed 2-3 times per week.
If you're lucky, you might be able to locate mercury-free fish. Try typing in "mercury-free fish resources" at your favorite search engine. Additionally, you can search for mercury-free fish oil supplements.
Nuts and seeds are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Choose unsalted nuts and seeds and avoid dry roasted altogether. Twelve almonds can provide you with the recommended daily allowance of Omega-3 EFAs. Brazil nuts and walnuts are good choices; as well as sunflower, linseeds and pumpkin seeds.
Include whole grains and lentils and avoid anything processed. Quinoa (keen-wah) is known as the Mother of all Grains and is an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids. Amaranth, lentils, chick peas (garbanzo beans), and brown rice are also good choices as part of your arthritis diet.
Gluten is a component of grains such as wheat, oats, barley and rye. Gluten is known to cause inflammation within the body and many individuals may be allergic to it without even realizing. Studies have shown that wheat and corn can irritate patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Celiac disease.
Other foods known to cause inflammation include milk and dairy products, red meat, dry roasted nuts, sugar, flour, artificial sweeteners, honey, alcohol, tea, coffee, chocolate, nightshade plants (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes, and tobacco), Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), and other food additives.