Aches and pains are something we’ve come to expect as we get older. But if you’re constantly suffering, there are ways to mitigate the pain. While we can’t control whether we’ll get a condition like arthritis, changing your diet can help lessen the symptoms. According to the experts, the Mediterranean style of eating might just be the best diet for arthritis.
The Mediterranean Diet and Arthritis
According to organizations like The Arthritis Foundation, the Mediterranean diet is ideal for those with the condition because it directly targets a major cause of arthritis pain — inflammation.
In a healthy body, inflammation is our natural immune response to foreign invaders. On the other hand, chronic inflammation happens when your immune system mistakes your own tissues as harmful and attacks them, leading to certain health conditions. Inflammatory arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, for example, are conditions related to chronic inflammation.
The Mediterranean diet is touted by health experts as one of the best diets for inflammatory conditions including arthritis. Foods on the Mediterranean diet contain nutrients that have shown to lower inflammation, while limiting foods that cause inflammation. For example, the diet includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, herring, tuna, walnuts and seeds. Research shows that omega-3s reduce inflammation and even treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Antioxidants are also known to treat inflammation, and they’re found in Med diet foods like olive oil, fresh fruits, vegetables, and red wine. Last but not least, the Mediterranean diet also includes whole grains that rich in anti-inflammatory fiber.
Research into the Mediterranean diet for arthritis backs this up. A 2017 review of studies demonstrated that the eating plan had beneficial effects in reducing pain and increasing physical function in people living with rheumatoid arthritis. Another study in the journal Arthritis found that when subjects suffering with arthritis pain switched to a whole food plant-based diet similar to the Mediterranean diet for just two weeks, they experienced improvements in symptoms and had less inflammatory markers in their blood!
How to Eat a Mediterranean Diet
Eating a Mediterranean diet can be pretty simple. Focus mainly on fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, fish and other seafood, lean poultry, eggs, whole grains, some dairy products like Greek yogurt, herbs and spices, moderate amounts of red wine, and healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and nut butters. On the other hand, avoid or limit red meats, processed foods, added sugar, refined grains (typically any “white” carbohydrates), and refined oils like soybean, canola, or vegetable oil.
Here’s to delicious meals and a pain-free life!