While there’s no diet that can cure joint pain, some of the best foods for arthritis are also the best foods to lose weight. Certain arthritis-friendly foods can strengthen joints, reduce arthritis symptoms, and help with weight.
Losing weight is a good thing for people with arthritis, even if they’re not obese or considered overweight, since losing just a couple of pounds can take a significant burden off the weight-bearing joints.
In fact, studies show for every pound lost, the result is 4 pounds of strain taken off the knees. Plus, if you lose a few extra pounds (or more if you need it), you’re not only helping to reduce arthritis pain, you are also decreasing inflammation in the body since too much body fat increases inflammation.
Also, something to consider: if you take off excess weight, there may be other unexpected benefits—for instance, you may not need to take pain medications for your arthritis as often or you might begin to sleep better because you have less joint pain.
Best Foods for Arthritis
What are some of the best foods for arthritis? Here are tips for choosing foods that will strengthen and protect your joints as well as support weight loss.
1. Choose Calcium-Rich Foods: To maintain healthy bones and joints, you need calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. Choose foods that contain high levels of these nutrients such as:
- Lowfat milk, cheese and yogurt
- Milk alternatives enriched with calcium, such as soy and rice
- Canned salmon and sardines
- Chard and other leafy greens
2. Focus on Eating Plenty of Fruits and Veggies: Foods that reduce inflammation, like fruits and vegetables that include naturally occurring chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, are some of the best foods for arthritis. These fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber, which means they help you feel fuller faster—supporting your weight loss goals. The result? Less stress on your joints. Some low-calorie, anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables to add to your grocery list are:
3. Eat Moderate Portions of Fish High in Omega-3s: Studies show foods that contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can help some people with rheumatoid arthritis by reducing stiffness in joints. Omega-3s can be found in oily fish—a good choice if you don’t overindulge since some fatty fish are high in calories. Omega-3-rich fish that can help support your joint health include:
Foods to Avoid with Arthritis
It is also important to avoid foods that don’t nourish your joints. Foods to avoid with arthritis include highly processed foods, refined sugar and foods made with white flour, such as pasta or baked goods.
Wondering how to lose weight or the best way to lose weight? Although there are many diets for those who want to lose weight, and it can be tempting to look for ways to lose weight fast, don’t take the easy route. Fad diets that offer quick solutions are almost always unhealthy and won’t support your joint health. If you need help finding the best way to lose weight, talk to your doctor.