Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis
As we age it seems that aches and pains accumulate unpleasantly. Most people by the time they are 65 have one form or another of arthritis, if only from regular wear and tear on joints. Two main forms of arthritis are common: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both cause swelling, pain, stiffness, and degeneration of joint surfaces. Their root causes are very different despite many shared symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, where the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy joint tissue. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential because permanent and painful damage can be inflicted on joints without appropriate intervention. While pain and stiffness are symptoms here, rheumatoid arthritis can affect joint mobility and stability over time.
Food As Part of a Treatment Plan
Though these two forms of arthritis are very different in origin, their end result is the same: out of control inflammation of joints. Avoiding some foods that increase systemic inflammation is an essential first step to achieving better joint health. Refined sugar, fried foods, alcohol, and excessive salt all increase the production of a substance called advanced glycation end product (AGE).
Most commonly found in processed foods or those prepared at extremely high heat, AGE molecules degrade proteins in the body, causing the release of inflammatory cytokines. When these toxins collect around joints, inflammatory processes result. Luckily, with a few dietary tweaks many of these inflammation precursors can be almost completely eliminated from the body. There is no cure for either form of arthritis, but symptoms can be brought to manageable levels- and these foods can help.
Food sources loaded with rich and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to managing arthritic symptoms. In particular, fish is an excellent source of dietary protein that helps to decrease systemic inflammation. Look to consume 3-4 oz weekly of such varieties as salmon, mackerel, or herring.
2.Beautiful, Brilliant Fruits and Veggies
Eating a diet featuring a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is a healthy option for anyone- but can be particularly important for easing arthritic pain. Deep green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach are fantastic vegetarian sources of vitamin D and calcium- both of which are essential for healthy bones and also bolster the immune system.
In particular, the presence of a compound called sulphoraphane in broccoli has been sown to slow the process of osteoarthritis. The vitamin C content of citrus fruits like oranges, red grapefruit, and limes is also beneficial to overall joint health. Rounding up the roster are tiny little powerhouses: berries and cherries.
Their deep reds and purples aren’t just pretty; they indicate the presence of anthrocyanins. These are doubly important because while lowering inflammation levels systemically, anthrocyanins help to stave off painful attacks of gout.
Not all protein has to come from animal sources– and there are some fantastic options. Easily available year round and inexpensive, they not only fill you up but also help with painful symptoms. Soy stands out here as a valuable addition to any diet. Whether you choose tofu, dried soybeans (crunchy yummy snack!), or edamame (steamed green soybeans), all forms are high in protein and fiber, while still being low in fat.
Look for star performers like pinto, red, and kidney beans either dried or canned. While no one diet is beneficial for everyone, some people have benefitted from embracing a vegan (entirely plant-based) diet to combat arthritic symptoms. High-quality plant proteins like these build the backbone of such a diet.
Also laden with CRP- busting fiber, whole grain foods are an important component in any joint-friendly diet plan. Steel cut oats are particularly beneficial with a dual load of soluble and insoluble fibers- sweetened instant oatmeal doesn’t cut it here. Other smart choices include brown rice, whole grain bread, and whole grain cereals. Watch for sugar content because of the irritating properties of refined sugar on the entire body.
Available in an infinite variety of blends, green tea is a versatile and relaxing dietary component to an anti-inflammatory program. The polyphenols and antioxidants in green tea have been proven to decrease inflammation and slow cartilage destruction.
In particular, green tea contains a compound that blocks the production of the damaging molecules that cause cartilage breakdown. Both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis sufferers can benefit from green tea daily and the incidental relaxation that often accompanies a cup or two shared with friends.