Did you know that arthritis affects an estimated 54.4 million (doctor-diagnosed) adults in the United States alone?
This number will continue to grow as the population ages and experiences more age-related illnesses and conditions. There are medications on the market that target the pain from this all-too-common issue, but many times, the side effects can outweigh the benefits.
Luckily, if you suffer from arthritis, you can take a proactive approach to managing the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
Many of the foods you already have in your kitchen may help you fight your arthritis, one meal at a time. Nature offers a bounty of foods bearing anti-inflammatories that can help ease the swelling and discomfort caused by osteoarthritis.
Here are the top five foods that offer incredibly effective benefits (aside from tasting great).
This spice has been used for centuries in India, Nepal and other areas in the region as both a flavoring agent and a medicine. In more recent times, it has become a popular addition in other cuisines throughout the world. Turmeric has numerous health benefits, not the least of which is its incredible anti-inflammatory properties.
You may be wondering what sets turmeric apart from other spices when it comes to helping ease inflammation, and the answer is its high curcumin content. Curcumin is a naturally occurring chemical found in large amounts in turmeric and is what gives it that distinctive yellow color. Many people have found that adding a small amount of this vibrant spice to their daily diet has produced favorable effects in their day-to-day pain levels.
Not a fan of spicy curries?
There are a couple ways you can still take advantage of the healing properties of both turmeric and curcumin.
Capsules containing a concentrated form can be found at most health food stores and even some pharmacies.
You can even deliver turmeric and other natural ingredients through the skin using a transdermal cream. This can be very effective since you're able to deliver the healing substance directly to the area in pain.
You Plus Relief is a 100% natural pain relief cream that contains turmeric and other natural substances like arnica, aloe, yerba mate, and much more.
Ginger is another spice that pulls double-duty as a flavoring and a medicine in many parts of the world. Often found in baked goods and sweets in the United States and much of Europe, ginger isn't always given the credit it deserves. In many parts of Asia, however, it is an essential part of any natural medicinal pantry. This thinking in Western medicine is starting to change as more and more studies are revealing the benefits of ginger.
While many know ginger can soothe a nauseous stomach or help clear stuffy sinuses, it is an unsung hero for those suffering from inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. The active element, gingerol, has been found to have some highly effective anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent option if you are looking for a natural alternative. It's advised that if you choose to go this route, you seek out ginger in capsule form. This offers a carefully standardized delivery system that will keep your gingerol intake at optimum levels.
Don't you love cherry season? There's nothing like a handful of plump cherries to satisfy that summer sweet tooth. They may also be a key in helping you battle your arthritis. You read that right -- these sweet little stone fruits actually carry a powerful anti-inflammatory punch. A multitude of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, make cherries one of the best foods you can consume for their anti-inflammatory properties.
The best part is, you can receive the benefits year round -- you don't have to wait for the fruit to pop up on market shelves. Concentrates, standardized capsules and juices allow you to take advantage of the healing power of cherries anytime of the year.
Once believed to ward off vampires in Eastern Europe, garlic has been favored by people for millennia for numerous reasons. If you love garlic, you may be excited to learn that it is another potent anti-inflammatory powerhouse. This bulb yields some incredible healing properties, including the ability to fight inflammation. A member of the allium family (think onions and shallots), garlic boasts numerous compounds that work to reduce the body's misguided inflammatory responses, making it a powerful tool against arthritis.
Garlic is helpful in moderate amounts as a food but offers even greater benefits in carefully concentrated and standardized pills. The added bonus is that it is considered a strong immune booster and can help you ward off common colds and other viruses when taken regularly.
5. Olive Oil
This list wouldn't be complete without giving a much-deserved nod to olive oil. This humble little fruit's oil has an illustrious history in the progression of mankind -- a highly sought trade item, it has stood the test of time. Olive oil vessels have been found in ancient digs throughout the Mediterranean, a testament to its value in the human diet long before modern analysis could further prove its worth.
More than just a heart-healthy cooking option, this incredible oil is also a powerhouse of phenolic compounds -- the component that is responsible for helping to stop inflammation in its tracks. Consuming olive oil on a regular basis can be enough to bring about some pretty impressive changes if you suffer from inflammatory osteoarthritis.
If you're looking for a way to reduce your dependency on pharmaceuticals that carry scary side effects, you may not need to look any further than your own kitchen. While the foods named above are some of the most effective against the inflammation that causes arthritis pain and discomfort, it is by no means an exhaustive list. With a healthy, well-balanced diet containing a wide variety of anti-inflammatory foods, you may just find that your arthritis symptoms will begin to dissipate. Nature holds a treasure trove of remedies -- you just have to be open to trying them to start receiving results!