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The 40 Best Foods That Fight Arthritis

Keep your joints healthy and pain-free by adding these arthritis-fighting foods to your diet today.
The 40 Best Foods That Fight Arthritis

It starts with an ache. You notice that your purse feels heavier than you remember it being, despite having virtually nothing in it. Your knees hurt when it rains. Your joints are slowly getting worse and you’ve been ignoring the signs for too long. There’s a chance you could be developing arthritis. But there is something you can do to help alleviate these symptoms and that’s by adding foods that fight arthritis to your diet.

Changing the way you eat—and, yes, the way you move, too—can make a world of difference when it comes to your joint health and potential for developing arthritis. When it comes to the biggest fight against arthritis and immobility, your plate and planning ability are your two biggest allies.

Start improving the health of your joints, slimming down, and building a stronger body today with these 40 best foods that fight arthritis.

1

Cauliflower

Cauliflower Shutterstock

Loading your diet with antioxidant-rich foods, like cauliflower, is one of the best ways to prevent joint inflammation and relieve arthritis symptoms if you’re already in pain. Researchers at the VU Medical University Centre in the Netherlands found that antioxidant supplementation significantly reduced arthritis symptoms among study participants, suggesting that the right foods can play a major role in your symptom relief. Luckily, cauliflower packs 85 percent of your RDA of antioxidant vitamin C in just one cup.

2

Ginger

Ginger root Shutterstock

Spicy, metabolism boosting ginger is more than just a great way to flavor your food. Ginger is potent medicine for anyone suffering from inflammatory conditions, like arthritis, thanks to its main component, gingerol, a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation throughout your body.

3

Lemon

lemon juice in bowl next to sliced lemons Shutterstock

Adding a squeeze of citrus to your salad or glass of water can put you on the path to healthier joints in no time. Naringin, a flavonoid compound found in lemons, can help reduce joint inflammation, decreasing the amount of joint pain you experience and making it easier to stay mobile.

4

Avocado

Pick avocado at grocery store Shutterstock

Avocado is so much more than a delicious addition to your favorite salad. In fact, when it comes to relieving arthritis symptoms, it’s pretty hard to beat. The results of a study even revealed that supplementation with an avocado-soybean fat blend significantly relieved arthritic inflammation.

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5

Basil

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Adding some fresh basil leaves to your salad or eggs, or spreading a bit of homemade pesto on your toast in the morning can make a major difference when it comes to your joint health. Basil is loaded with flavonoids, which research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has deemed effective at suppressing a wide variety of arthritis symptoms.

6

Olive Oil

Olive oil Shutterstock

Is there anything olive oil isn’t good for? Satisfying, heart healthy, good for your hair, skin, and nails, and loaded with arthritis-fighting antioxidants, there’s virtually no excuse for keeping this powerful oil out of your diet. Researchers in Japan have even discovered that monounsaturated fatty acid-rich foods, like olive oil, are correlated with a reduction in rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

7

Spinach

Saute frozen spinach Shutterstock

Spinach is not only one of the most antioxidant-rich foods out there, it’s also one of the easiest to incorporate into your diet, whether in a salad, stir-fry, or smoothie. Loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, and flavonoids, spinach can help reduce inflammation in your joints and get you back on your feet in no time.

8

Celery

Celery stalks Shutterstock

More than just the crunch in your favorite protein-based salads, celery can be a potent weapon in the war against arthritis. Researchers at the University of Aston in Birmingham have discovered that celery has a number of anti-inflammatory effects that may be able to help reduce the amount of pain and irritation in arthritic or pre-arthritic joints. Couple that with celery’s low calories and high satiety factor, and you’ve got yourself a pretty perfect food.

9

Black Pepper

Ground black pepper Shutterstock

Adding a bit of black pepper to your favorite dish can help relieve your arthritis pain in virtually no time at all. Black pepper is loaded with symptom alleviating antioxidants and has antibacterial properties, which can help reduce the risk of a secondary infection making your arthritis symptoms worse.

10

Peas

Frozen peas Shutterstock

Peas may be petite, but their inflammation-fighting powers are huge. In addition to being a rich source of anti-inflammatory vitamin C, peas also are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which researchers at the Arthritis and Metabolic Bone Disease Research Unit of the University of Leuven have found effective at managing arthritis symptoms.

11

Carrots

Carrots Shutterstock

Increasing your beta-carotene intake today is the first step toward healthier joints tomorrow. Fortunately, carrots can help you meet that goal. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered that individuals with arthritis are more likely to have insufficient levels of beta-carotene in their blood, so if you’re eager to keep those joints from giving out on you later in life, up your intake of orange fruits and veggies today.

12

Artichoke

Artichokes in box Shutterstock

If you’re looking for an inflammation-fighting powerhouse, look no further than the trusty artichoke. One of the most antioxidant-rich foods out there, artichokes can help reduce inflammation in your joints and get you moving again. Even better, artichokes pair well with other antioxidant-packed inflammation fighters, like olive oil, black pepper, and lemon juice.

13

Lettuce

Head of iceberg lettuce Shutterstock

That salad you’ve prepared for dinner can do more than just fight hunger; lettuce is also a great way to reduce inflammation in your joints. Flavonoids, phenolic acids, and vitamin C all combine to help fight inflammation and keep arthritis symptoms at bay. If you’re looking for the most bang for your bite, reach for darker greens.

14

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts Shutterstock

Brussels sprouts pack a surprising amount of antioxidants in a little package. Brussels sprouts are low in calories, filling, a great source of immune-boosting fiber, and loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C, which can keep those joints healthy in the long run. And to think you wouldn’t eat these as a kid.

15

Sweet Potato

sweet potatoes Shutterstock

A powerhouse food for your gut and your joints, sweet potato should earn a spot on your “must eat” list. Loaded with antioxidants, like beta-carotene and vitamin C, sweet potatoes can fight inflammation in your joints and keep you moving even after an arthritis diagnosis.

16

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers Shutterstock

Another great source of beta-carotene, bell peppers are as tasty as they are good for you, fighting inflammation throughout your body and giving your painful joints a break. If you’re not a fan of eating them raw, try adding some pepper strips to your favorite salad or stuffing them with ingredients like quinoa and chickpeas for a healthy take on the traditional stuffed pepper.

17

Oregano

dried crushed oregano Shutterstock

This ubiquitous Italian spice does more than make your pasta sauce more flavorful; oregano can have some serious health benefits, too. Oregano is so loaded with antioxidants that it outperforms many of its peers, offering up to 20 times the antioxidant load of many other spices. It also packs more than 12 times the antioxidant count per gram of a vitamin C-packed orange and more than 42 times the antioxidant count of an average apple.

18

Figs

Figs in a pile Shutterstock

Whether dried or fresh, figs are a great way to increase your fiber intake and make joint inflammation a thing of the past. Figs are loaded with antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, as well as cramp-fighting potassium and bone health-promoting magnesium, all of which can keep you moving freely as you age. They also contain lupeol, which fights against arthritis and inflammation.

19

Almonds

Almonds Tetiana Bykovets/Unsplash

Fight high cholesterol, hunger, heart disease, and arthritis with a single food: the mighty almond. Almonds are a good source of antioxidant vitamin E, essential for joint health. Luckily, you can not only find almonds in virtually every grocery store, gas station, and pharmacy. They’re also easily added to soups, smoothies, and sauces.

RELATED: Your guide to the anti-inflammatory diet that heals your gut, slows the signs of aging, and helps you lose weight.

20

Garlic

Sprouted garlic Shutterstock

Your favorite food flavoring just got even better. Garlic is not only great for adding some serious flavor to your food, but it’s an amazing source of inflammation-fighting antioxidant compound allicin.

21

Kale

Kale Shutterstock

Make kale part of your diet today and enjoy healthier joints in the future. Kale is loaded with antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin A, and is easily incorporated into virtually any dish, from salads to wraps to smoothies. Kale also happens to be a good choice for anyone eager to improve their immune health, thanks to its wealth of prebiotic fiber, which can get your gut bacteria into shape in no time.

22

Asparagus

Asparagus on wooden board Shutterstock

Whether grilled, baked, sautéed, or steamed, asparagus is a versatile green vegetable that can easily improve your joint health with its high antioxidant supply. Packed with beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, asparagus can reduce inflammation in your body and keep your arthritis symptoms to a minimum.

23

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper Shutterstock

Keep your food spicy and your joints healthy in one fell swoop by making cayenne pepper part of your diet. Research conducted at the University of Toronto reveals that capsaicin, the compound that gives cayenne its spice, can reduce inflammation and pain in arthritic subjects, so don’t be afraid to heat things up!

24

Zucchini

Zucchini Shutterstock

If you’re looking for low-calorie, high-nutrient foods to add to your diet, look no further than the trusty zucchini. Zucchini is packed with antioxidant vitamins A and C and a whole zucchini packs just 33 calories, making it an easy way to make your food more filling without adding major calories to your plate.

25

Onions

Sliced red onions Shutterstock

They may not be friendly to your breath, but when it comes to your joints, onions are hard to beat. Onions are rich in flavonoids and vitamin C, making them a great way to boost your immune system and fight back against arthritis symptoms.

26

Eggplant

Eggplant Shutterstock

This opal nightshade is a brain-boosting, digestive health-improving, inflammation-reducing powerhouse. Eggplant is loaded with inflammation-fighting flavonoids and phenolic antioxidants, making it the perfect prescription for keeping arthritis pain to a minimum and keeping your joints healthy in the process.

27

Cabbage

Shredded cabbage Shutterstock

Cabbage is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods out there and an essential part of any arthritis-fighting meal plan. Fortunately, cabbage also happens to be low in calories and high in flavor, making it an easy addition to meals and an easy replacement for high-carb, high-fat foods. Try adding some to bulk up your soup or salad or even in place of bread in your sandwich.

28

Pumpkin

Raw pumpkin Shutterstock

Another good source of beta-carotene, pumpkins could pave the path toward better joint health for you. Fortunately, their adaptable flavor, which works in both sweet and savory dishes, makes it easy to add this antioxidant-rich typically-fall treat to your menu more often.

29

Beets

Beets Shutterstock

Improve your digestive health, fill up with few calories, and reduce your arthritis symptoms all in one fell swoop by adding some beets to your menu. Beets are a great source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, resveratrol, quercetain, and betalain, antioxidants that can significantly reduce inflammation in your joints. Beets have also been shown to improve exercise endurance, increase the efficacy of your oxygen use, and boost performance on physical tasks.

30

Honey

Raw honey Shutterstock

Getting your joints healthier can be pretty sweet—literally. Adding some honey to your favorite foods will load your diet with powerful antioxidants polyphenols, which can help reduce inflammation in your joints. Honey also has an antibacterial effect in the body, keeping inflammation from other infections and diseases at bay.

31

Cucumbers

Cucumber slices Shutterstock

Tossing a bit of cucumber on your salad can help fend off those arthritis symptoms in no time. Cucumbers are a rich source of antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a host of flavonoids, which can reduce inflammation and keep you moving and grooving, pain-free.

32

Limes

Lime Shutterstock

Limes are more than just a garnish: it turns out that, when it comes to your joints, they’re pretty powerful medicine, too. Limes are a good source of the flavonoid naringin, which have been found to be effective at reducing joint inflammation. Fortunately, limes have also been shown to be an effective addition to weight loss plans, helping increase metabolic rate, improve immune health, and fill in for less healthy flavors, like salt and high-calorie condiments.

33

Alfalfa Sprouts

alfalfa-in-bowl Shutterstock

Improve your joint health the easy way by adding a handful of alfalfa sprouts to your favorite sandwich or salad. These potassium-rich sprouts can help reduce your risk of muscle cramps, improve your immune system and digestive health, and cut inflammation in your joints to a minimum, thanks to their wealth of antioxidants.

34

Turnips

Turnips Shutterstock

Whether you’re tossing them in olive oil, baking them to make oven fries, or turning them into a mashed potato-like puree, there’s no wrong way to add turnips to your diet. Luckily, these tasty root vegetables are also loaded with joint health-promoting antioxidants, making them a great addition to any arthritis-fighting arsenal.

35

Squash

butternut squash on cutting board Shutterstock

Nothing says fall like the scent and flavor of rich butternut squash, and fortunately, adding it to your menu is also a great way to improve the health of your joints. Whether you’re adding some to your stir-fry or blending it into a rich soup, this beta-carotene-rich fruit is a great way to reduce your pain and keep those joints strong.

36

Cinnamon

Ground cinnamon Shutterstock

Cinnamon’s antioxidant properties have long made it a part of traditional medicine, and those very properties can make it a good part of your joint health routine. Even if you’re not ready to start dousing everything in the stuff, a little bit added to your morning coffee or favorite curry recipe can help improve your joint health in no time.

37

Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar Shutterstock

Apple cider vinegar is often said to be the cure for virtually everything that ails the human body. While some of those claims seem dubious, ACV’s inflammation-fighting properties are well-established. Apple cider vinegar’s anti-inflammatory properties have made it the go-to for many arthritis sufferers, many of whom claim remarkable results by adding ACV to their diet.

38

Cherries

Cherries in bowl Shutterstock

Making resveratrol-rich cherries part of your regular diet may be able to help reduce your arthritis symptoms in a hurry. In addition to being a good source of vitamin C, cherries are loaded with resveratrol, which researchers at Inonu University in Malatya, Turkey, have deemed an effective means of treating inflammatory arthritis.

39

Shallots

shallots in a bowl Shutterstock

A tasty member of the onion family, shallots add a delicate, slightly sweet flavor to foods that makes them complex and delicious. Fortunately, for arthritis sufferers, shallots can also make a big difference in the health of your joint. Shallots are loaded with flavonoids, potent anti-inflammatory substances that reduce your pain. and help protect your joints against further damage.

40

Turmeric

Turmeric Shutterstock

Widely used as a treatment for everything from skin conditions to stomach ulcers, it comes as little surprise to fans of turmeric that this powerful anti-inflammatory spice can help treat arthritis symptoms, too. Research suggests that antioxidant-packed turmeric can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, making it a great addition to your arthritis-fighting diet.

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