7 Fruits To Add To Your Arthritis Diet
Whilst there is no cure for arthritis, there are many ways to manage your pain and reduce symptoms so you can take back control over your life. In addition to exercise, pain management and gadgets designed to make daily tasks easier, adding healthy fruits to your diet may help you reduce pain in addition to getting the vitamins and antioxidants you need to maintain your physical health. Not only does fruit taste great, but many fruits are rich sources of the vitamins that you need, and many may also have anti-inflammatory properties which are good for when you have arthritis! Want to find out more? Read on for our 7 fruits to add to your diet.
There is some evidence to suggest that cherries, particularly when consumed as tart cherry juice, can be used as a beneficial, complementary treatment of arthritis and gout. In a 2013 study, researchers found that drinking two 8-ounce bottles of tart cherry juice daily for six weeks significantly improved physical function, pain and stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis. Cherries can also be helpful for gout. Eating at least 10 cherries a day can protect people with existing gout from recurrent attacks, according to a study of 633 participants by Boston University Medical Centre in 2012. So what’s so good about cherries? Well, cherries are a rich source of polyphenols, a natural plant-based compound that has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Both sweet and tart cherries contain polyphenols - an organic plant-based compound that is thought to boost digestion and brain health as well as protecting against several health conditions including cancer - but tart cherries are a richer source. Tart cherry juice also contains anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory compounds that may be able to help combat a variety of inflammatory conditions including arthritis.
Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, which has roles in preventing joint inflammation, fighting infection and the inflammation linked to infection (which may cause arthritis flare ups), while also helping the body make collagen, an important protein in joint cartilage. Like cherries, strawberries also contain anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory compounds. Research has also shown that women who ate just 16 strawberries a week had lower C-reactive proteins, which is a measure of inflammation linked to arthritis flares and heart disease. Another study in 2018 which focused on obese people with arthritis of the knee found that eating strawberries appeared to alleviate arthritis symptoms.
You may have heard that avocados are good for you, but why exactly is that? For starters, the creamy texture partly comes from avocado’s high concentration of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat, in addition to vitamin E which also has anti-inflammatory effects. Despite the fact that avocados have more calories than most other fruits, research suggests that people who regularly eat avocados tend to weigh less, perhaps because the high fibre and fat content helps you feel fuller for longer. All of these benefits are really helpful for arthritis, and so avocados could be a great addition to your diet.
No matter what colour they are, all fresh grapes are a good source of antioxidants and other polyphenols. In 2014, a clinical study in Texas suggested that regular grape consumption may help alleviate pain associated with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee, which was associated with polyphenols found in grapes. This study also found higher levels of cartilage growth in men (cartilage is the tough, flexible tissue which acts as shock absorber in between joints and bones) who were eating a grape-enriched diet. Fresh black and red grapes also contain resveratrol, the famous compound associated with heart health which prompts some people to suggest that red wine is healthy in moderation. In addition to its heart health benefits, resveratrol is also a strong anti-inflammatory. Research is currently being conducted to determine resveratrol’s potential as a treatment for arthritis symptoms.
Watermelons are more than 90% water, which is great if you have arthritis; aside from hydration and the regular benefits associated with drinking more water, it helps with the production of Synovial fluid which lubricates and cushions joints. Watermelon also contains an amino acid called citrulline which may be able to help relieve muscle soreness, and is also rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and lycopene, as well as a bunch of other antioxidants and amino acids. Lycopene in particular has anti-inflammatory properties, which is what you want when you’re living with arthritis.
Red raspberries have antioxidants as well as Vitamins C and K. The berries' bioactive compounds can also help lower inflammation around the body, which is important for arthritis as more inflammation can cause more pain. Like several other things on this list, raspberries also contain polyphenols, which alongside other health benefits may increase brain function to help you feel more alert and motivated.
Pineapples contain a compound called bromelain, which is essentially a group of enzymes found in the fruit and stem of pineapples. Bromelain is thought to have both anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) properties, which may be able to help lessen the pain of arthritis. Whilst not all studies have found bromelain to be effective, a 2016 Biomedical Reports paper stated that bromelain is a ‘safe and successful therapeutic agent’ for a number of aliments, including bronchitis, inflammation and arthritis. Eating extra pineapple may not give you enough bromelain to notice results, so if this is something you’re interested in it’s worth talking to your doctor about potential supplements. Want inspiration for adding pineapple to your diet? Check out our Pineapple & Turmeric Smoothie recipe.
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