arthritis 300 x 200Most people don’t think about food when they think about treating arthritis, but it can be a powerful tool to help manage the chronic condition.

Arthritis, affecting 50 million Americans, is a degenerative disease that causes the deterioration of cartilage in joints. In addition to controlling one’s weight and increasing low-impact exercise, there are a number of foods that can help manage symptoms and pain.

Embassy Healthcare recommends arthritis patients get plenty of food with the following vitamins and nutrients to treat arthritic pain:

  1. Vitamin C: Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, kiwi, strawberries, sweet potatoes and vegetables like red and green bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and leafy greens such as kale. All of these increase the production of collagen, which helps promote healthy cartilage.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids: Fight inflammation with fatty fish including tuna, salmon, mackerel and trout – all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. If you can’t stomach fish two times a week, ask your doctor if taking an omega-3 supplement would be a good choice.
  3. Ginger: This spice can serve as a natural way of treating inflammation – it contains many of the same chemicals typically found in medications for the condition. Try mixing it into baked goods, with a cup of hot tea or sprinkle it over chicken.
  4. Garlic: The allium family – which includes garlic, leeks and onions – contain diallyl disulfide, believed to help lessen the symptoms of arthritis by limiting enzymes that damage cartilage.
  5. Bright red-orange and purple foods: Foods such as beets, tart cherries, raspberries, grapes, pomegranate, and plums contain anthocyanins. These antioxidants are known to encourage the growth of connective tissue.
  6. Green tea: An antioxidant known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) helps fight inflammation. Luckily, you don’t need to be able to pronounce it to benefit from EGCG’s ability to block the production of some inflammation-causing chemicals. Don’t like green tea? Try it in smoothies or salad dressings.
  7. Turmeric: This spice has a lot of research behind it showing it to be an effective inflammation fighter. It contains the compound, curcumin. The yellow spice is a popular ingredient in Indian dishes such as curries.