There are many different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is one type, which develops in joints with overuse. Another type is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your joints.
Fortunately, there are many foods that can ease inflammation.one survey found that 24% of those with rheumatoid arthritis reported that their diet had an impact on the severity of their symptoms.
1. Fatty Fish
In one small study, 33 participants were fed either fatty fish, lean fish or lean meat four times each week. After eight weeks, the fatty fish group had decreased levels of specific compounds related to inflammation.
An analysis of 17 studies found that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements decreased joint pain intensity, morning stiffness, the number of painful joints and use of pain relievers in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Fish is also a good source of vitamin D, which can help prevent deficiency. Multiple studies have found that rheumatoid arthritis may be associated with low levels of vitamin D, which could contribute to symptoms.
Garlic has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect that may help decrease symptoms of arthritis. some research has shown that garlic may enhance the function of certain immune cells to help strengthen the immune system.
In one study, researchers analyzed the diets of 1,082 twins. They found that those who ate more garlic had a reduced risk of hip osteoarthritis, likely thanks to garlic’s strong anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2001 study assessed the effects of ginger extract in 261 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. After six weeks, 63% of participants experienced improvements in knee pain.
One test-tube study also found that ginger and its components blocked the production of substances that promote inflammation in the body. Another study found that treating rats with ginger extract decreased levels of a specific inflammatory marker involved in arthritis.
One study that looked at the diets of 1,005 women found that the intake of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli was associated with decreased levels of inflammatory markers.
Broccoli also contains important components that could help reduce symptoms of arthritis.For example, sulforaphane is a compound found in broccoli. Test-tube studies have shown that it blocks the formation of a type of cell involved in rheumatoid arthritis development.
Walnuts are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids. In one study, 90 patients with rheumatoid arthritis took supplements of either omega-3 fatty acids or olive oil. Compared to the olive oil group, those who received omega-3 fatty acids experienced lower levels of pain and were able to reduce their use of arthritis medications.
Tons of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are crammed into each serving of berries, which may partially account for their unique ability to decrease inflammation.
In one study of 38,176 women, those who ate at least two servings of strawberries per week were 14% less likely to have an elevated level of inflammatory markers in the blood .
Additionally, berries are rich in quercetin and rutin, two plant compounds that boast a huge number of benefits for your health.
In one test-tube study, quercetin was found to block some of the inflammatory processes associated with arthritis .
Another study gave rats quercetin and rutin supplements, both of which decreased arthritis-related inflammation.
Leafy greens like spinach are full of nutrients, and some of their components may actually be able to help decrease inflammation caused by arthritis.
Several studies have found that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables is linked to lower levels of inflammation.
Spinach, in particular, contains plenty of antioxidants as well as plant compounds that can relieve inflammation and help fight disease.
Spinach is especially high in the antioxidant kaempferol, which has been shown to decrease the effects of the inflammatory agents associated with rheumatoid arthritis .
A 2017 test-tube study treated arthritic cartilage cells with kaempferol, and found it reduced inflammation and prevented the progression of osteoarthritis.
Grapes are nutrient-dense, high in antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties.
In one study, 24 men were given either a concentrated grape powder that was equivalent to about 1.5 cups (252 grams) of fresh grapes, or a placebo daily for three weeks. The grape powder effectively decreased levels of inflammatory markers in the blood .
Additionally, grapes contain several compounds that have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis. For example, resveratrol is an antioxidant present in the skin of grapes.
In one test-tube study, resveratrol showed potential for helping prevent the thickening of the joints associated with arthritis by blocking the formation of rheumatoid arthritis cells.
Grapes also contain a plant compound called proanthocyanidin, which may have promising effects on arthritis. For example, one test-tube study showed that grape seed proanthocyanidin extract reduced inflammation related to the disease.
Keep in mind that these are test-tube studies using concentrated doses of antioxidants far greater than the amount you would consume in a typical serving.
Further research is needed to determine how these results may translate to humans.
9. Olive Oil
In one study, mice were fed extra-virgin olive oil for six weeks. This helped stop the development of arthritis, reduce joint swelling, slow cartilage destruction and decrease inflammation.
In another study, 49 participants with rheumatoid arthritis consumed either fish oil or an olive oil capsule each day for 24 weeks.
At the end of the study, levels of a specific inflammatory marker had decreased in both groups — by 38.5% in the olive oil group and between 40–55% in the fish oil group.
Another study analyzed the diets of 333 participants with and without rheumatoid arthritis, finding that olive oil consumption was associated with a lower risk of the disease.
10. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is an increasingly popular beverage derived from the fruit of the Prunus cerasus tree.
This potent juice offers a wide array of nutrients and health benefits, and may even help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
In one study, 58 participants received either two 8-ounce (237-ml) bottles of tart cherry juice or a placebo every day for six weeks.
Compared to the placebo, tart cherry juice significantly decreased symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduced inflammation.
In another study, drinking tart cherry juice for three weeks reduced the levels of inflammatory markers in 20 women with osteoarthritis.