8 Foods to Help Tame Arthritis Pain

Of all the effects aging has on the body, joint pain is one of the worst. Swollen, aching joints are no joke, but there are dietary tweaks that can help. Here are the 8 best foods for arthritis. Bon appétit!

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Healthy Oils

Not all fat is bad. In fact, healthy fats can have a profound effect on your health. Extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal—a compound that mimics certain anti-inflammatory drugs. Avocado and walnut oils are also good choices; both can lower cholesterol and contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Just remember that these oils are for drizzling, not for frying! High heat damages the oils, making them less beneficial.

Dairy

Mmm, cheese. Dairy products are rich with both calcium and vitamin D. You already know that calcium is important for bone health, especially as you get older, but without vitamin D, you won’t be able to absorb and use it! Luckily for the lactose-intolerant, the same combo can be found in leafy green veggies such as spinach and kale.

Green Tea

Green tea is chock full of good stuff. In addition to being deeply relaxing—no caffeine here!—a cup of green tea contains several powerful antioxidants. Polyphenols can help reduce inflammation and even slow down the wear and tear on your cartilage.

Another antioxidant, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), has been shown to help people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Broccoli

Broccoli is an incredibly nutritionally rich food. It contains multiple vitamins and minerals, including vitamins K and C, as well as calcium. But it also boasts sulforaphane, which researchers believe can help ward off osteoarthritis.

Cherries

Anthocyanins—found in cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries—has a major effect on inflammation. And research shows that cherries can ease the symptoms of gout, too! Dig in to these delicious fruits while they’re in season, and buy frozen for smoothies throughout the year.

Fish

It’s no secret that omega-3 fatty acids are good for you. By fighting inflammation—the key culprit in many cases of joint pain—omega-3s can help you feel better and more mobile. The best natural sources are salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna. Aim for about 4 ounces of fish twice a week.

Garlic

While it may not lead to the most fragrant breath, garlic (along with other alliums such as leeks and onions) can help prevent osteoarthritis. It seems that a compound called diallyl disulphine is the likely culprit; this compound helps block enzymes that damage cartilage.

Don’t throw your minced garlic in hot oil at the beginning of your cook time. Wait to add it until near the end so that it doesn’t burn and become bitter.

Nuts

Unless you’re allergic—in which case you have our sympathies—reach for the mixed nuts when you want a healthy snack. Nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. They also contain alpha linolenic acid, which can help boost your immune system. Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and pine nuts are your best choices.