Is controlling arthritis simpler than you think? 49



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In a search for relief from painful and potentially debilitating health conditions such as arthritis, people are often drawn to the radical, unusual or outright bizarre. It’s reassuring to think a great new solution is out there waiting to be tried. But in most cases, it’s actually the more basic, down-to-earth approaches, which can offer the most help – even though they don’t attract the shock headlines.

Arthritis is a disease that affects millions and to date has no obvious cure. Its symptoms, however, can be dramatically reduced with common sense lifestyle changes. Specifically, the biggest change arthritis sufferers can make (apart from regular exercise) is to their diet. And we are not talking about drastic fasting, eating like a caveman or eliminating everything you really like. Let’s not punish ourselves; it’s just about eating smarter. 

Evidence is steadily growing that shows the decisions you make on what to eat and drink may hold the secret to reducing symptoms of arthritis. By making informed food choices, people with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis can make a huge difference to their lives. Yes, you can literally cook yourself healthier!

At the heart of all forms of arthritis is inflammation and research now shows certain food groups encourage inflammation. Eating lots of these foods can accelerate arthritis, so they should be avoided. Thankfully, many foods are anti-inflammatory and can help reduce symptoms.

Almost everything we eat either encourages or discourages inflammation“ – Cleveland Clinic Academic Medical Center

While it has been common knowledge for a long time that inflammation is a major driver for rheumatoid arthritis, recent scientific evidence now also shows that osteoarthritis is not just ‘wear and tear’. Researchers at Stanford University found that, “development of osteoarthritis is in great part driven by low-grade inflammatory processes”. So, it does make sense to switch to an anti-inflammatory diet even for osteoarthritis.

Identifying the good guys from the bad is not easy, as every food type needs to be examined on its own merits. But multiple studies have been conducted across the globe, so a clearer picture is emerging. For example, trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils found in many processed foods) and refined sugars (again, found in processed foods) are clearly linked with causing inflammation. In contrast, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish, flaxseed and nuts) can reduce inflammatory processes in the body.


Based on all the evidence gathered so far, there are five tips every person with arthritis should know about and act upon:


  1. Eat lots and lots of different vegetables because each one has a different beneficial property (mix up the colours as an easy way to get variety).


  1. Eliminate added sugars, trans fats and saturated fats, as they are all linked with causing inflammation (if you cut out processed food, you’ll skip a lot of these).


  1. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids – proven to be anti-inflammatory – in the form of fish and certain nuts, like walnuts or seeds like flaxseed.


  1. Consume whole grains, such as oats, quinoa, spelt, brown & wild rice or buckwheat (whole grains are said to reduce inflammation whereas refined grains can increase it).


  1. Use spices, such as ginger and turmeric, which are known to have an anti-inflammatory effect.


  1. Swap coffee and black tea for green tea – studies suggest green tea may help ease symptoms of arthritis – and drink sufficient amounts of plain water throughout the day.


As you can see, there is no magic bullet in these tips. It’s plain old common sense, backed by a bit of science. By starting with these simple guidelines, you can take at least some control of your condition, on your own terms, from the comfort of your own kitchen. Best of all, you can still eat a lot of the things you love. No need to live of kale juice only just yet!


Do you have arthritis? How do you manage your symptoms? Have you tried any of these suggestions? Tell us below.

Sandra Witzel

Sandra Witzel is a certified Health Coach who has lived with arthritis for over a decade. She is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches and works to help people with arthritis through, an 8-week online program packed with meal plans, recipes, latest research on supplements, exercise tips and a forum to connect with others.

  1. My mum swore by emu oil for her arthritis pain relief

    3 REPLY
    • Guess it all in the mind as well then. My mum used it for several years and if it relieved her pain so be it.. Maybe only works by faith alone. Was worth a mention I thought.

    • Diane it probably did work for your mum. I use voltarin gel it helps so much . Yet my daughter who has really bed RA says it does nothing for her. Each person is different. What works for some does nothing for the other.

      1 REPLY
      • I absolutely agree with that – everyone is different and can react differently so it’s always worth trying something out yourself, like adjusting diet or supplementation (within reasonable limits) 🙂

  2. We all know about eating healthy, we are not morons! If it was so simple, drug companies would close down over night. I have tried many “cures”in over 40years of getting R. A. Then secondary osteoarthritis, joint replacements. Manage your weight, drink plenty of water and if you let inflammation go on for to long it will do damage to your joints, so swallow your pride and see your Doc sooner than latter (My biggest mistake).

    1 REPLY
    • I agree, healthy diet is key but certainly not a cure-all 🙂

  3. I have osteoarthritis in my neck and shoulders, fingers, knees, feet and hips. Nearly two years ago I had a total knee replacement in my right knee. I take Mobic everyday and I also take Red Krill Oil tablets. I also use Deep Heat Arthritis on my knee with the replacement when playing bowls as it gets a bit sore. I also use it when I’m ironing because it gets stiff and sore. I eat plenty of fresh vegetables everyday.

    5 REPLY
    • ONE can only try and do what one can do to ease the pain.. what works for one might not work for others but it is all wortth a try…. NO SUGAR AND NOT WHITE PRODUCTS might help too

    • Same here. I find there’s no need to iron. The fabric they use nowadays for clothing dose not need ironing. I fold my clothes from the wash line.

    • Luckily my partner does the ironing 😉 I found turmeric helps me with pain reduction during the day so household chores are a little easier. Anyone else tried it?

  4. I amost might be convinced that this article was published to assist those with arthritis (me). However when I see an ad at the end of the article for an arthrits medication I become very cynical.
    Do you really think we are that gullible?

    3 REPLY
  5. No ad appears at the end of mine, Deborah. At any rate, it wouldn’t be a bother as I am 99.99% most unlikely to read any ads on facebook!

    1 REPLY
    • Yes the ad is there. I didn’t see it until I went looking for it. It’s our marvelous brain that can focus on what we’re looking for and discard anything else. I think we are so accustomed to ads that we automatically discount them and like you, I must have skimmed over it.

  6. I was pretty much doing all of that BEFORE my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis about six weeks ago.

    6 REPLY
    • Remembering of course lauren..that rhumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease..its slightly different to the other arthritis’s..its the immune system thats the problem..but you prob already know

    • Thankyou for your comments Robyn.. and yes, I’ve got to know quite a bit about it in the last few weeks and am still adjusting and learning to cope with changes to my life that have come with it 🙂

    • Lauren Lindus I also have just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and am learning to live with it…its a nasty illness isn’t it!

    • So, Anne.. Please tell me about your experience so far and if the doctors have been able to tell you how you came to get it?

    • Sorry to hear that Lauren. I was the same over ten years ago – reasonably healthy lifestyle, but still got RA. Seems quite unfair. I hope you’ll be able to continue your healthy lifestyle though and have a good team of practitioners to support you.

  7. I’m riddled with arthritis, but I’m still walking upright with a stick whereas my father was in a wheelchair at my age with it. We are all VERY tall in my family and don’t seem to make good old bones. Only thing that helps is Osteo Panadol which I only take on a very bad day and a glass of wine at the end of each day. The wine relaxes the muscles which have tightened up around the problem sites all day. Can’t take anything else as it clashes with Warfarin. Taking my little dog for short 10-15 minute walks/hobbles keeps me from seizing up.

    2 REPLY
    • Sorry to hear that Linda. Good on you for still taking your dog for a walk 🙂 Have you tried turmeric before? Not sure if that goes with Warfarin but some people report relief with it.

  8. My husband was in pain for years from motorbike shoulder & wrist injuries. He could only sleep on one side until he started taking fish oil capsules. He took them for years with fantastic results (I didn’t miss the moaning) then when Krill Oil came out he took them instead and with them, his cholesterol levels dropped as well. The only diff from one medical till the next was the Krill Oil. I don’t take Krill Oil it makes me feel sick.

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