Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Additional body fat strains joints, but accumulated fat itself can also cause problems to joints that are already sensitive and partially damaged. Fat does more than just sit on your body — it’s also an active tissue that creates and releases hormones and chemicals. Some of these promote inflammation and can contribute to worsening arthritis all over your body.
The University of Michigan School of Public Health reports, “Adipose tissue, once considered a passive storage portal of energy, is now recognized as a highly metabolic endocrine organ with the capacity to secrete active agents including adipocytokines, such as leptin, resistin and adiponectin. Over the past decade, interest in these adipocytokines has quickly become an area of intense study with respect to osteoarthritis based on evidence that they may play an important role in cartilage homeostasis and because of their emerging potential as therapeutic targets.” (2)
Case in point: Some overweight or obese patients have arthritis in parts of their bodies such as their hands, which obviously don’t support much extra body weight but are still impacted by the negative effects of inflammation. An increase in stored fat cells can speed up the rate at which joints break down, especially in people who have other risk factors for arthritis. This means it’s important to try and maintain a healthy weight by eating an unprocessed, nutrient-dense diet, reducing stress and staying active.
Improve Your Diet
Foods for helping treat arthritis include:
Omega-3 foods: Omega-3s are powerful at lowering inflammation and also have other benefits. Wild-caught fish, including benefit-packed salmon, is your No. 1 food of choice. Other sources include grass-fed beef, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts, which are all great choices.
Foods high in sulfur: Sulfur contains a form of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) that reduces joint inflammation and helps rebuild your tissues. MSM has been shown in studies to lower pain and function impairment compared to placebo-controlled groups. Sources include onions, garlic, asparagus and cabbage.
Bone broth: Bone broth is one of the best natural sources of collagen, which contains the amino acids proline and glycine that help rebuild connective tissue and have many more benefits. Additionally, bone broth supples chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, antioxidants that help lower inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.
High-antioxidant foods (especially fruits and vegetables): Colorful fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, magnesium, potassium, digestive enzymes and anti-inflammatory compounds. Some of the best sources include leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, berries, melon, papaya, avocado and pineapple.
High-fiber foods: Fiber helps control your appetite, is beneficial for digestive health and lowers the risk for various other diseases and complications. The best high-fiber foods include vegetables, fruit, ancient grains, soaked legumes/beans and nuts and seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
To help keep inflammation levels low, try to avoid these foods as part of a healing arthritis diet: excess sugar; hydrogenated oils (soybean oil, cottonseed oil, even canola oil); refined conventional grains like gluten, flour products and wheat products; and if you have an autoimmune disease, then also nightshade vegetables like potatoes,