Arthritis is a common condition that is experienced by up to one in five Australians, says ACH Group nutrition consultant Mel Haynes.
Mel says what we eat can play an important role in relieving or preventing symptoms of this health condition that affects the joints.
“Thankfully there are a few things you can do when it comes to your diet that can make a difference by reducing inflammation.”
“Start the day with a bowl of oatmeal and cherries, topped with some ground linseed,” she says. “Tuck into a nice veggie curry with lots of beans and turmeric for lunch and have a few sardines on salad for dinner. End the day with a cup of green tea before bed and you’re giving yourself the best chance to feel great.”
- Eat veggies. Studies have shown that certain types of bacteria increase autoimmune responses that are common in rheumatoid arthritis. By changing to a diet higher in fibre, you’ll increase ‘good’ bacteria and reduce the bacteria that trigger the inflammation and cause the pain.
- Add lignans. Lignans are compounds found in linseed or flaxseed. These magical seeds help your body to heal, favour good gut bacteria and are high in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 oils. They also have antimicrobial properties that can tackle a type of urinary tract infection that is linked with arthritis.
- Try turmeric. Much loved in India, this spice can help reduce inflammation. Add it to curries, soups and stews with a little bit of black pepper to help increase the absorption of its active ingredient, cucurmin.
- Enjoy cherries. Who can say no to cherries, especially as we approach cherry season? These little beauties can reduce gout. When they are out of season you can substitute them with frozen cherries, juice or concentrate.
- Choose oily fish. Sardines and mackerel have large amounts of Omega 3 oils which help reduce inflammation and are a good source of calcium and Vitamin D.
- Drink green tea. Green tea is a great antioxidant and contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an extract that helps protect joints.
- Switch to whole grains. By choosing whole grains including oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa, you can lower your CRP (reactive protein) levels which will help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Find out more about living with arthritis at www.arthritissa.org.au
Try Mel’s cherry porridge recipe, which is high in fibre and antioxidant-rich cherries.
1.5 cups of water
½ cup of quick oats
2 tbsp of trail mix or seed mix
1 tbsp honey
2/3 cup chopped fresh, frozen or canned cherries
1 tbsp linseed, ground
Milk, to taste
In a small saucepan, bring the water to the boil and add the trail mix and oats. Stir for three to five minutes. When it starts to thicken add the honey, linseed and cherries.
Divide into two bowls and top with extra cherries and milk to taste.