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Best Foods for Arthritis

By Sarah Mahoney
6/28/2013 10:08:21 AM

Tasty pain relief

As evidence emerges about inflammation's role in osteoarthritis, Victoria Maizes, MD, executive director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, is confident that researchers will find relationships between what we eat and joint health. "Meantime, there's no question that certain foods and supplements are worth trying," she says. Catch up on the latest treatments for osteoarthritis, and then check out six eating strategies worth trying.

More from Prevention: Latest Treatments for Osteoarthritis

Credit: Prevention

Eat like a Mediterranean

"While studies are rather limited, the best odds so far are on a Mediterranean-style diet," says Joy Dubost, PhD, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This eating plan is full of foods that tame inflammation-fish, olives and olive oil, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. (New to this diet? Here are four ways to eat Mediterranean-style.)

Try tart cherry juice

Drinking it twice a day has been shown to reduce muscle soreness, and one small study of 20 women found that taking about 10.5 ounces twice daily reduced biomarkers of inflammation significantly. That's probably due to the high levels of anthocyanins, say Oregon Health & Science University researchers. Find the healthiest cherry juice option-plus 19 more good-for-you sips-with The 20 Healthiest Drinks.

Heal with spices

Dr. Maizes recommends cooking with plenty of turmeric and ginger, both shown to be useful in soothing inflammation.

Give up wheat

"Some people seem to have a sensitivity to wheat that's different from true celiac disease," says Dr. Maizes. "Many people report that their joints do feel better when wheat's eliminated."

More from Prevention: Should You Go Gluten-Free?

Experiment with omega-3s

Doctors have known for some time that a diet high in fish helps people with rheumatoid arthritis, because omega-3 fatty acids soothe inflammation throughout the body, and one osteoarthritis-related study has found that fish oil supplements helped both cartilage and bone in guinea pigs. "I wouldn't say the evidence is robust, but fish oil may help," Dr. Maizes says. (Just make sure your omega-3 supplements aren't fake.)

Ask your doc about this supplement

Some researchers say that SAMe (S-adenosyl-methionine) may help OA symptoms and even promote cartilage repair. Learn more about SAMe with the 100 Best Supplements For Women.

By Sarah Mahoney

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