Health Department Services




What is Arthritis?


arthritic_joints

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States and the world. Currently about one in five U.S. adults report having arthritis.  Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects joints, surrounding muscles, tendons, and tissues. The condition may cause pain, discomfort, stiffness and swelling, not only in the joints, but in the surrounding muscles, tendons, and bones.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common arthritis type. OA is a degenerative joint cartilage condition that often affects the hands, hips, knees, and spine. Some types of arthritis are associated with abnormal immune responses in the body; an example is rheumatoid arthritis. Although most causes of arthritis are unknown, effective treatments and strategies are readily available.

12 Best Foods for Arthritis

(Source:  http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/best-foods-for-arthritis.php)

Although there is no diet cure for arthritis, certain foods have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones and boost the immune system. Adding these foods to your balanced diet may help ease the symptoms of your arthritis.

  1. Fish are packed with inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, experts recommend at least 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week. Omega-3-rich fish include salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring.
  2. Citrus fruits – like oranges, grapefruits and limes – are rich in vitamin C, helping in preventing inflammation and maintaining joints. 
  3. Beans are packed with fiber. Beans are also an excellent source of protein,rich in folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium which is important for muscle health.  Look for red beans, kidney beans and pinto beans.
  4. Foods from the allium family – such as garlic, onions and leeks
  5. Nuts are rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, protein, fiber and are  immune-boosting. They are heart-healthy and beneficial for weight loss. Try walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and almonds.
  6. Whole grains lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood, a marker of inflammation associated with heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.  Look for foods like oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereals. 
  7. Green tea is packed with polyphenols, antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. 
  8.  Foods rich in vitamins K and C, broccoli also contains a compound called sulforaphane, which could help prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis (OA).
  9. Low-fat dairy products, like milk, yogurt and cheese are packed with calcium and vitamin D, both found to increase bone strength. 
  10. Cherries help reduce the frequency of gout attacks. Anthocyanins found in cherries have an anti-inflammatory effect. Anthocyanins can also be found in other red and purple fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
  11. Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats, as well as oleocanthal, which has properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. Avocado and safflower oils have shown cholesterol-lowering properties, while walnut oil has 10 times the omega-3s that olive oil has.
  12. Soybeans (tofu or edamame). Soybeans are also low in fat, high in protein and fiber and an all-around good-for-you food.

Resources: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/arthritis/index.htm

Arthritis Foundation: http://www.arthritis.org/