With March being National Nutrition Month, now is a great time to reflect on how healthy eating can help you better manage symptoms of arthritis. For example, did you know that following a Mediterranean diet helps reduce inflammation that can lead to arthritis pain and increase powerful antioxidants that your body needs each day? Here are some specific foods to eat on the Mediterranean diet:
· Berries to increase fiber intake and antioxidant production
· Nuts to increase fiber, take in more protein, reduce saturated fats and reduce cholesterol
· Olive oil to get Omega-3s and 6s
· Salmon and sardines to get Omega-3s
· Whole grains to increase fiber
Skip Microwave Dinners
Frozen meals that you just pop in the microwave and take out seconds or minutes later can be extremely convenient when you lead a busy lifestyle. Unfortunately, they can also be hazardous to your health. Microwaveable meals, fried foods and processed foods typically contain ingredients that lead to high inflammation markers that can make your arthritis pain worse.
Excluding these types of foods while also increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can make a huge difference in your pain levels and your overall health. Other types of food to avoid include bagels, soup, ravioli and beans, particularly when they come in microwaveable form.
Eat Smart When It Comes to Sweets
You don't have to give up every treat you love to help control your arthritis symptoms. However, reducing pain does require you to read labels closely and make smart choices. We recommend educating yourself as much as possible about sugar, so you know when it's included in your food. Because sugar comes in many forms, food manufacturers often use different names such as fructose or barley malt. Limiting sugar is important when you have arthritis because it often increases inflammation.
The good news about sweets is that not all of them are bad. Carrot cake cupcakes, dark chocolate and sweet potato brownies are just three examples. You should start to feel better if you choose these things over sweets like fruit juice, soda and chocolate with a low cocoa content.
Aim to Make Your Plate as Colorful as Possible
Are your meals primarily one color? If so, aim to make them as colorful as a rainbow. Strive to eat green food, like spinach and other colorful foods, such as grapes, peppers and ginger. It can even be fun if you think of it as a game and challenge yourself to incorporate as many colors as possible.
Arthritis Center of Lexington Can Help
Whether you’re a new or long-time patient, your rheumatologist can help by providing you with more nutrition tips and helping you tackle some of your greatest challenges. Please schedule an appointment with us today.