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Monday, September 14, 2015

Foods that Reduce Inflammation

By  Dr. Jon Thomas D.C PSc.D, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician.

Arthritis, also known as inflammation of the joints, is a painful and serious problem for many. While most people rely on anti-inflammatory drugs and pain pills to combat arthritis, research indicates that some foods may be helpful in reducing it while others may cause inflammation. That’s right, what you eat may influence the progression and symptoms of certain types of arthritis and related conditions. Although there are lots of articles on these topics, they are not all in agreement.

In an Arthritis Foundation article about eating the right foods to fight arthritis, Michele Andwele writes, “When you have arthritis or a related condition, getting the right nutrients can help to alleviate pain and inflammation and positively affect overall health. A diet high in sugary, high-fat and processed food fuels inflammation and sets the stage for developing other chronic diseases as well as arthritis. Also, poor nutrition habits can cause you to become overweight or even obese. And excess weight puts added stress on already swollen and painful joints.” 

Foods to Fight Gout

Courtesy Wikimedia
Of all the forms of arthritis, gout has the clearest link to diet. When the body breaks down purine, a substance found in many foods, uric acid forms. People who have gout either have trouble eliminating uric acid, or they produce too much uric acid. This causes inflammation and severe pain in the joints.

A Mediterranean diet decreases uric acid levels and reduces the risk of getting gout. Also cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries have an anti-inflammatory effect that may help reduce the frequency and severity of gout flare-ups. Moderate consumption of and low-fat dairy product are also associated with lower uric acid levels.

Reducing consumption of foods that contain high levels of purines (beef, pork, lamb, and most seafood) is one of the keys to managing gout. Alcohol, especially in the form of beer, can increase the risk of gout attacks. Also, sweetened soft drinks and food with fructose appear to increase uric acid levels.

Calcium-rich foods, including low-fat dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and calcium-fortified foods can promote bone health. Vitamin D-rich foods, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, cheese and egg yolks, are also important since Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from food. 

Can certain foods ease your arthritis symptoms and improve your joint health?

Courtesy Wikimedia
Fruits, veggies and whole grains help to fight inflammation and also help control your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight obviously eases stress on the joints. Although, there’s no “magic” food, growing evidence suggests that following a healthy diet and adding specific foods and spices can help fight inflammation and joint pain. Here are some of the foods that can help:

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Try adding these items to your salad or stir-fry.
Fatty fish. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation and boost heart health. Try adding fish to your diet a couple of times a week.

Garlic, onions, and leeks. These items contain a compound called diallyl disulfide that may help with a number of diseases, including arthritis.

Tart cherries. Some people with arthritis have found relief from products made from tart cherries.

Vitamin C. Antioxidants and food rich in vitamin C may slow the progression of Osteoarthritis.

When it comes to your diet, eat what works for you. If you think a particular food is aggravating your arthritis, try eliminating it from your diet and see how you feel. After you discover which foods have a negative effect and which ones have a positive effect, you’ll be motivated to make sensible adjustments to your diet.

Foods that are part of a Mediterranean-style diet supply the body with anti-inflammatory nutrients. A diet that includes salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, and beans can help to reduce inflammation.

WebMD suggests the following for an anti-inflammatory diet:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Minimize saturated and Trans fats.
  • Eat a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish or fish oil supplements and walnuts.
  • Watch your intake of refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white rice.
  • Eat plenty of whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat.
  • Eat lean protein sources such as chicken; cut back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods.
  • Avoid refined foods and processed foods.
  • Spice it up. Ginger, curry, and other spices can have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Andrew Weil’s Diet Suggestions 

Courtesy Wikimedia
In an interview with Prevention Magazine, Andrew Weil asserts that eating foods known to fight inflammation, a symptom of both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis, may ease pain.

“Eat several servings each week of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids such as wild Alaskan salmon and other cold-water fish, freshly ground flax-seed, omega-3-fortified eggs, and walnuts,”  he says. “Season meals with ginger and turmeric as often as possible; these spices have anti-inflammatory properties. Eating five to nine daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables from across the color spectrum can ease arthritis discomfort.

“You may have heard that certain vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant, can worsen arthritis pain. However, I've seen little good scientific evidence to support this theory. You'll also want to limit foods that cause inflammation. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as corn and soy oils) and the partially hydrogenated oils found in many margarines, vegetable shortenings, and processed foods contain fats that promote inflammation.”

In this article, I have discussed the relationship between arthritis and diet. I’ve suggested that a Mediterranean diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and fish can help to alleviate symptoms of arthritis.

At Vibrant Life, we address all of the key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. If you have a comment about this article, please leave it in the comments section of this blog.

Dr. Jon Thomas is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician, his interest in health started at an early age resulting from an athletic life, including BMX racing, Professional Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Weight Lifting, and Martial Arts. After learning from top health experts in the world, Dr. Thomas’s life is dedicated to reaching people of all ages to begin their life transformation. The goal is to start the body healing resulting in a body that is functioning at its optimal.  In addition to serving his community in his Mandarin Based Practice, Dr. Thomas is seen regularly on TV’s First Coast Living talking about his patient’s transformations, speaking at events throughout the community, and writing articles to re-shape the health of the Jacksonville Community.


  1. It's amazing that what we put into our body can affect our body. Thanks for the info. We all need to be more concious of what we eat. Just some small changes in our eating habits can have big results in our health

  2. There are also herbs that reduce inflammation including turmeric. So put a little mustard on your food to reduce swelling.

  3. It's true what they say!!! We are what we eat!! Good to know some of the types of food that help eliminate inflammation, as well as the foods that increase it! Very pertinent information as more and more people are developing inflammation issues.

  4. I recently had a bout with gout and it was a pain in the foot. I can attest to the fact that making a few changes in diet is well worth the effort.

  5. This is great advice for anyone who wants to live a healthy and vibrant life. I have learned to love the health benefit that these food provide. An easy way to get their benefits is to make health smoothies with a NutriBullet or other smoothie maker. I have been drinking one every day for the last 15 years. you will love how you feel.

  6. Arthritis is an issue that runs in my family. Even at my young age, I'm showing early signs. Thanks for the helpful tips.