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Cooking for Arthritis
ITGeye posted:
What foods can help minimize the effects of arthritis?

I would like to find recipes that are quick, easy, and taste great, as well as help reduce the pain and discomfort that comes with arthritis.

Thank you for all your help!
erice_ma responded:
Unfortunately, you ask a question for which there is no easy answer.

First, there are over 100 kinds of arthritis. Some types of arthritis may respond to certain foods while others do not. And there are individual variations. The Arthritis Foundation says that some people experience mild allergic reactions to certain foods which aggravate their arthritic condition, but those reactions do not happen to all people. In fact, the Arthritis Foundation answers your question as follows, "How can you tell if certain foods are influencing your arthritis? Stop eating them — for a while — and note whether symptoms improve."

But there are a few common themes to anti-inflammation and diet. Omega-3 fats such as from fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseed are generally considered anti-inflammatory. Since this type of fat is essential for health anyway, it can't hurt to try to add more of the fats to your diet.

There is considerable controversy over the role of Omega-6 fats and inflammation. Since most people generally get more omega-6 fat than recommended, it probably won't hurt to try to reduce your omega-6 fat intake to see if it helps. To reduce omega-6 fat in your diet, change high omega-6 oils like safflower, corn, and sunflower oils for lower omega-6 oils such as olive oil.

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, notably cherries and other foods with anthocyanins, appear to have some anti-inflammatory effects. Again, since these are generally healthy foods, it would not hurt to try to incoroparate more.

Another area of considerable controversy is whether white flour and sugar have a role in inflammation. Again, since these are foods for which there are already compelling reasons to limit, it wouldn't hurt to try. In particular, there is some evidence that changing from refined flour to whole grain intake reduces inflammation. However, many people feel that grains are inflammatory for them, whole or not. (Which returns you to the Arthritis Foundation advice of "try it and see what happens.")

Then, there are spices. Similar to brightly colored foods, some strongly flavored or colored spices such as ginger, cumin, and turmeric are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. There are varied levels of scientific support for using these spices to reduce inflammation. However, they do no harm and enhance your food, so they are worth trying.

Finally, probably the strongest evidence of food related reduction in inflammation comes from losing excess body fat. Reducing your body weight can often bring significant relief for some kinds of arthritic pain.

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