Inflammation. It’s become a buzzword as one of the causes for a wide range of health problems—everything from joint pain to cancer.
These claims aren’t without merit. Research is increasingly demonstrating a connection between markers of inflammation in the body and disease activity.
Watch: Video: The Best-Tasting Anti-Inflammatory Cocktail You've Never Tried
In fact, inflammation is at the heart of most arthritis pain, whether you have osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis such as:
Luckily, there are ways you can combat inflammation, including taking medications, exercising, and following an anti-inflammatory diet.
These 7 items will put you on the right track to fighting inflammation.
1. Fatty fish
Fish such as salmon and tuna are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven inflammation fighters. If you don’t like the taste of fish, you can also take fish oil supplements to get the same benefits.
2. Colorful fruit
Intense colors are a sign that fruit contains lots of antioxidants. Look for dark blues and purples (like blackberries, plums, or grapes) and bright reds, oranges, and yellows (like apples, papaya, or pineapple).
3. Dark, leafy greens
Vegetables like kale, spinach, or swiss chard pack a high antioxidant punch.
4. Ginger and turmeric
These spices both have a lot of anti-inflammatory properties. Add them to dishes or take them in supplement form.
5. Oils and nuts
Olive, canola, and flaxseed oils—as well as almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts—are all high in “healthy” fats that fight inflammation and heart disease.
Green tea is the best for being high in antioxidants, but black and herbal teas are beneficial too.
7. Chia seeds and flaxseeds
Chia and flaxseeds are both high in omega-3 fatty acids. Add ground-up flaxseeds to cereal, or add chia seeds to baked goods or smoothies.
Beans, peas, and all the members of the legume family can decrease an inflammatory marker in the body known as C-reactive protein. They also are a food way to get protein in your diet without consuming inflammation-causing red meats.
In addition to seeking out anti-inflammatory foods, you can help your arthritis symptoms by making it a point to avoid the foods and drinks that trigger inflammation in the body.
And as always, it’s a good idea to discuss with your doctor or nutritionist before you change your diet or start taking supplements.