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7 Best Breakfast Habits for Treating Arthritis

Start off your day right to help relieve arthritis symptoms with the help of these expert-approved tips.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

If you are experiencing swelling, pain, stiffness, and/or limited range of motion, chances are you could be dealing with arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are more than 100 types of arthritis out there, with the most common ones being osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout.

Although there is no cure, the good news is that you can lessen the blow of arthritis by changing your lifestyle and diet. Watching what you eat can help to reduce inflammation, which in turn can reduce your pains and stiffness. We spoke with two of our dietitians from our Medical Expert Board to find out how to start the morning right with these breakfast habits for treating arthritis. After reading these, be sure to take a look at Best Supplements for Arthritis, Says Dietitian.

Add nuts or nut butter to your breakfast. 

mixed nuts

Nuts are good sources of unsaturated fats, which is good news for those who have arthritis symptoms. "These unsaturated fats contain anti-inflammatory properties," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and The Portion Teller Plan.

The Arthritis Foundation notes that body-wide inflammation is a root cause of most chronic diseases; therefore, relieving some inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods may help to lessen your arthritis symptoms.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was reported that greater nut consumption was associated with lower levels of inflammation biomarkers, showing a link between eating nuts and lower inflammation levels.

Get your protein in.

protein smoothies

"Focus on protein including eggs, Greek yogurt, protein smoothies with fresh fruit, and berries," says registered dietitian Amy Shapiro, MS, RD.

The Arthritis Foundation suggests that getting enough protein in your diet is important when focusing on muscle mass and muscle function, especially if your arthritis symptoms are preventing you from any physical activity.

 The 7 Best Proteins To Eat Every Day, Say Dietitians

Eat your whole grains.

whole grain foods

Dr. Young and Shapiro agree that getting whole grains in the morning is an important routine.

"Choose whole grains like oatmeal or whole wheat toast instead of refined grains like bagels," says Dr. Young. "The whole grains contain fiber and anti-inflammatory properties which are good to alleviate arthritis symptoms."

When it comes to oatmeal, Shapiro suggests mixing it with seeds, nuts, and fresh fruit.

Furthermore, Shapiro takes it a step further and advises decreasing any sugar and inflammatory ingredients. This includes white flour, processed foods, most cereals, sugary yogurts, and granola.

Add colorful fruit to your breakfast. 

mixed fruit

According to both dietitians, incorporating fruits into your breakfast will both give you antioxidants to help maintain arthritis, and vitamins to help reduce inflammation.

Dr. Young suggests eating blueberries, oranges, and strawberries, which all contain antioxidants and other nutrients to help manage arthritis.

Meanwhile, Shapiro suggests enjoying whole fruits rich in vitamin C such as grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, and kiwi.

In a study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine, it was found that foods in vitamin C were effective for pain tied to rheumatoid arthritis.

Enjoy healthy fats.

protein breakfast

Healthy fats are also known as "good" unsaturated fats and include both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which help to lower the risk of disease.

According to research published in the Mediterranean Journal of Rheumatology, consuming omega-3 fatty acids—a type of healthy fat—could potentially have a positive effect on treating rheumatoid arthritis. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids may lessen the number of swollen and tender joints.

To get your healthy fats in, Shapiro suggests enjoying nut butter on gluten-free toast, avocado, and eggs.

Add vegetables. 

bag of vegetables

Vegetables are important for any diet, so it makes sense to add them to your breakfast habits for arthritis.

"Add vegetables to your breakfast when possible to boost antioxidants and fiber," says Shapiro.

The Arthritis Foundation suggests eating a diet high in fiber may be beneficial in lowering markers of inflammation.

Shapiro suggests making a vegetable omelet with whole pasture-raised eggs or having sliced tomato on your avocado toast.

 6 Best Vegetables To Reduce Inflammation, Say Dietitians

Don't skip breakfast. 

eating breakfast

"It's helpful to start your day with healthy foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties," says Dr. Young. "Breakfast also helps get your metabolism going."

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society discovered that adults who skip breakfast are more likely to miss out on several key nutrients including vitamin C, which is what Shapiro mentioned eating to help alieve arthritis pain.

The study further mentioned that those who skipped breakfast may make unhealthier choices throughout the day. This may lead to eating foods that can worsen arthritis symptoms.

Kayla Garritano
Kayla Garritano graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and double minored in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more about Kayla