Suzi Grant is an author, broadcaster and blogger at alternativeaging.net. Her passion for healthy living started twenty years ago when she decided to change her career from being a presenter and become a nutritionist. Since then she has written three books and became an ageing expert. Read on for Suzi’s guide on inflammatory foods which are an important part of a diet, especially for people experiencing chronic pain.
When I was practising as a nutritionist I successfully treated many clients who suffered from arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and general wear and tear of their joints. A decade on and I too now suffer from wear and tear and inflammation in the rotator cuffs of my shoulders, knees and occasionally my thumbs. So, apart from applying To Better Days patches, I incorporate as many anti-inflammatory foods into my diet as I can, and it really helps. But first, the bad guys…
A build-up of uric acid from our diets can cause joint pain so look at cutting down on these foods:
- fried foods
- processed foods
- refined carbs such as white bread and pastries
- saturated fats such as red meat, alcohol, and even tomatoes and tea in some cases!
Some experts, including me, would also suggest avoiding excess dairy as it causes mucus in the joints (as well as our noses!) although yoghurt, kefir and cottage cheese are fine.
The good guys, the anti-inflammatory foods
Top of my list are foods high in Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) – and NO they do not mean you put on weight! They are so essential to the body’s health that they aren’t laid down as fat.
The Omega 3 fatty acids in EFA’s help to produce the prostaglandin 3 series (PG3) which has been shown to reduce inflammation, as well as improving heart and brain health. (And plumped up, younger looking skin!) It’s the single most important fatty acid and your joints will thank you for it!
High in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as being a great source of vitamin D. Multiple studies have found that rheumatoid arthritis may be associated with low levels of vitamin D, hence its important inclusion in To Better Days patches.
In order of omega-3 levels:
- anchovies (silver ones)
- Atlantic halibut
- yellowfin tuna
- tinned tuna
My fave has got to be walnuts because they are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids, for your joints, heart and brain. They even look like a brain!
- brazil nuts
- pine nuts
Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are my top seed because they are the richest plant source of anti-inflammatory omega-3.
- chia seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
- hemp seeds
- sesame seeds
- poppy seeds
Your joints need oiling regularly to function properly! These are my favourite anti-inflammatory oils:
- olive oil
- avocado oil
- walnut oil
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, are associated with decreased inflammation in the body. Spinach is another veg to add to your shopping list as it’s high in the antioxidant kaempferol, shown to reduce the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. So munch more on these:
- bok choy
- brussels sprouts
- collard greens
Red onions are also one of my favourites as they are full of quercetin, a potent antioxidant associated with lowering arthritis-related inflammation.
Berries and fruits
Swap sugary desserts for these delicious powerhouses of antioxidants to help reduce inflammation:
Pineapples also contain bromelain which is another anti-inflammatory.
Turmeric, cayenne, ginger and garlic have also helped many people. If you love your spices, these are the best containing anti-inflammatory properties.
Much like plants, there are two more essentials we need for healthier bodies!
It’s not just food that will help your joints. In between the eats, don’t forget to water your joints regularly! Water helps dilute acids, making your blood more alkaline and lubricating every joint and bone in your body. I always suggest a small glass an hour rather than 1 to 2 Litres a day, as everyone is different in size and height.
To Better Days patches contain Vitamin D because it helps reduce pain, but it is also essential for your general health to get out in the sun each day. Most doctors and scientists now agree on the benefits of spending around 15 minutes a day in the sunlight, without sunscreen before 11.00 a.m. and after 3.00 pm in the summer. Just legs and arms will do. And don’t forget to slap on the sunscreen after getting your Vitamin D!