Nutritional Strategies for Arthritis


By STUART MORICK, Bachelor Health Science (Naturopathy), Member ANTA & AHA

Among the many treatments and therapies offered, nutrition plays a vital role
in the management of arthritis.

 At its most basic, arthritis is inflammation at the point where any two or more
bones meet, such as in your knee joints or hands. There are more than 100 arthritic and
related conditions, with the most common being osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

It can lead to pain, stiffness, joint weakness, inflammation and deformities. While most
common in adults over the age of 65, arthritis can develop in people of any age, with
symptoms appearing suddenly or over time. It is generally more common in women than
men and in those who are overweight.

Some anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers used to treat arthritis can cause side

Prevent flare ups

Diet is important for alleviating symptoms and preventing flare ups.

Fish: Certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation.
Look to eating salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring at least twice a week.

Oils: Good oils have a range of health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil has similar properties
to certain anti-inflammatory drugs thanks to the presence of oleocanthal. Cholesterol
lowering properties have been associated with avocado and sunflower oil and walnut
oil is packed with omega-3 fatty acids – more than 10 times that in olive oil.

Red and purple fruits: Cherries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
contain anthocyanins, all of which have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Dairy products: Milk, yoghurt, cheese and other unpasteurised and unhomogenised dairy
products contain calcium and vitamin D which can increase bone strength.

Leafy green vegetables: If you can’t eat dairy, go for the leafy green vegetables to increase
your calcium and vitamin D intake.

Broccoli: Source of calcium, vitamins K and C and sulforaphane, which is thought to help
prevent or slow the progress of OA.

Green tea: The antioxidants in green tea are believed to reduce inflammation and slow
cartilage destruction. It is also thought to assist with RA by blocking the molecules that cause
joint damage.

Citrus fruit: The vitamin C in citrus fruit may help prevent arthritis and maintain healthy
joints. Some clinical studies have associated the intake of vitamin C with a reduced risk for
contracting RA. Choose whole foods rather than supplements, as some supplements
have been associated with exacerbation of arthritis.

Whole grains: Oats and brown rice can lower the levels of inflammatory
markers that are seen in the blood in association with RA.

Including red, kidney and pinto, beans can also lower the levels of inflammatory
markers, while providing fibre, protein, folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium.

Garlic, onion, leek:
Studies show that regularly eating garlic, onion and leek can influence
the development of OA, thanks to a compound they contain that limits cartilage-damaging


Nuts and seeds: A good all-round food containing fibre, protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc,
vitamin E and immune-boosting alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Try snacking on walnuts,
pine nuts, pistachios or almonds. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium, so
regularly consuming Hommus or Tahini may be very beneficial.

Vitamin D: Shown to reduce the risk of both RA and OA. Other than sunshine,
sources include wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, milk, and egg yolks.
Ginger, turmeric: To spice up your food, add ginger or turmeric, both of which seem to have
an anti-inflammatory effect.

Foods to avoid
Certain food groups can increase inflammation and should be avoided:

Saturated fats: Found in feed lot fattened beef or pork, and poultry skin.
Choose only grass fed meat and avoid packaged, premade foods.

Trans fats: Created to prolong the shelf life of foods – look at the nutrition
label to see if they’re in foods you are considering.

Simple and refined carbohydrates: Found in ‘white’ foods: sugary products, white
flour baked goods, white rice and other refined carbohydrates .
Before embarking on any new treatment or dietary plan, it is always
recommended you consult your naturopath.

Stuart Morick

Further Information: Tel: 08 9378 2774

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