World Arthritis Day: Arthritis is a common problem affecting 9.6% of Indian men and 18% of Indian women over the age of 60. Our joints are cushioned by cartilage that prevents the bones from rubbing against each other. With the loss of cartilage, symptoms of stiffness, pain, and impaired movement may be experienced in joints such as knees, hands, hips, feet and spine. Itis - a suffix used in medical terminology - refers to inflammation because of swelling, tenderness etc. Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of the cartilage, and rheumatoid arthritis is our immune system dysfunction that results in the loss of the lining of the joints.
The key to preventing and managing arthritis is controlling inflammation. This is a normal response of our body to any foreign body, microbe or chemical. Inflammation signals the immune system to overcome and destroy the body, and then the reaction settles down. This is called acute response. When the body remains in a constant state of chronic inflammation because of bad lifestyle habits including smoking, wrong food choices, and abdominal obesity; we need to take extra care. For this fight, our food gives us all the ammunition we need.
Pro-Inflammatory Foods | What Food Causes Inflammation In The Body?
Intake of foods like red meat, processed meat, and organ meat; refined carbohydrates such as white bread, and white rice, excessive sugar intake from desserts; and sweetened beverages including colas and sports drinks, are found to increase markers of inflammation in our body.
World Arthritis Day: Anti-Inflammatory Foods For Arthritis
Anti-inflammatory meals and eating patterns help prevent, control and alleviate symptoms related to arthritis. Meals made with whole grains, lots of vegetables and whole fruits, nuts and seeds, healthy oils and most fish have been proven to be the best for controlling inflammation.
Here Are Some Specific Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients You Can Add To The Diet:
Innumerable studies have shown an inverse relationship between the intake of fibre and markers of inflammation. High-fibre diets rich in whole grains are effective for controlling chronic inflammation. So, replacing refined processed cereals with whole grains and millet helps. Choose high-fibre snacks like whole fruits, and nuts instead of fried, high-sugar snacks. Fill up half your plate with vegetables.
Plants have thousands of phytonutrients that help fight inflammation. The more colour you add to your plate, you add more phytonutrients. Vegetables and fruits, nuts and spices are laden with anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like carotenoids, ellagic acid, resveratrol, flavonoids, glucosinolates and more. Load up! Try to not peel fruits and vegetables, the colour pigments are where the compounds are. Use spices like turmeric, curcumin, peppers, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and onions, and don't forget green tea and black coffee.
3. Healthy Fats
Healthy monounsaturated fats and omega -3 fats are anti-inflammatory. Choosing olive oil, peanut oil, oily fish, flax seeds, almonds, peanuts and walnuts is a good strategy for overall health and keeping inflammation under control.
Here Are 7 Anti-Inflammatory Foods That Are Beneficial For Arthritis:
1. Coconut oil
While saturated fat is pro-inflammatory, the medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil have shown anti-inflammatory properties in some animal studies. However it is still a saturated fat, but virgin coconut oil in small quantities can be considered if your LDL is within the normal range.
2. Fatty fish
Salmon, mackerel and tuna have excellent amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Replacing the meal protein with fish twice a week is recommended.
Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios and pecan nuts are all excellent sources of omega-3 and fiber, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin E. All these nutrients support the lowering of inflammation in our body. Have a handful at least 3-4 times a week
4. Leafy Greens
Green leafy vegetables are a source of Vitamin C, E and carotenoids. These strong anti-inflammatory nutrients add protection. Further, Vitamin C is crucial for collagen production which intron is a part of the cartilage makeup.
Amongst the fruits, berries are number one for arthritis specifically because of the phytonutrient anthocyanin, which is potent against inflammation. Eat up black and blueberries, and add strawberries and raspberries.
6. Onion and Garlic
Garlic and onion have been used traditionally to alleviate pain. They contain quercetin which is an anti-inflammatory compound in addition to sulphur compounds that help control the cartilage damage.
7. Green Tea
Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) - which is connected with the reduction of pro-inflammatory compound production. In fact, some recent studies have also suggested its role in preventing cartilage breakdown.
All the above nutrients and foods have health benefits for the whole body and overall health. The fact that they will help with arthritis is an added bonus.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.