Richard Blau, MD, author of Too Young to Feel Old: The Arthritis Doctor’s 28-Day Formula for Pain-Free Living shares his top picks for foods that ease joint pain and explains why they work.
Research shows that different foods play a role in arthritis inflammation. Foods that are rich in nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants may help neutralize RA inflammation and alleviate symptoms. One of the foods most often recommended for symptom and inflammation reduction is pomegranate.
Pomegranate is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and it’s rich in nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. The antioxidants in the ruby seeds of this exotic fruit neutralize the free radicals that can trigger inflammation and worsen joint pain. In one study, scientists applied pomegranate extract to human cartilage aggravated by osteoarthritis and found that the extract protected the tissue against the proinflammatory protein interleukin-1b.
When shopping for pomegranate juice, read labels carefully. Products with added sugars aren’t healthy. Drinking 8 ounces of juice daily can be effective. You’ll want to look for juice that’s 100 percent pomegranate. Drink the juice in moderation if it’s still high in sugar.
Curcuminoids, the active ingredients in this Indian spice, turn off the inflammatory protein NF-kappaB in the joints. Animal studies have shown that turmeric has the ability to help prevent rheumatoid arthritis. Curcumin seems to target specific molecules or pathways that control the cell cycle. It also blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. That’s why studies have shown that it can be helpful for people with osteoarthritis.
Freshly crushed garlic releases the enzyme allicin (responsible for this herb?s characteristic odor), which works as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent in the body by inhibiting the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins (created by fatty acids).
Quick tip: Let chopped garlic sit for 15 minutes before adding it to your dish so its active enzymes can reach their full strength.
By Lindsey Galloway