Diet plays an important role in the management of inflammation in the body and there are many foods that you can eat to reduce inflammation and potentially improve arthritis symptoms. The Mediterranean diet is low in harmful and inflammatory saturated and trans fats and high in healthy anti-inflammatory fats and antioxidants. The Mediterranean diet also helps individuals maintain a healthy weight which may help to ease some joint pain.
Foods to Eat:
- Fruits and vegetables – Choose a variety of colours and types of fruits and vegetables to increase your intake of a variety of nutrients.
- Unsalted nuts and seeds – eat a small handful every day
- Legumes (beans, peas and lentils) – eat at least two times a week. (e.g., hummus with raw vegetables)
- Olive oil – Aim for 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) per day. Use to cook and drizzle on vegetables, salads, etc.
- Fish and seafood – Eat at least two servings/week. Good choices for fish are salmon, mackerel, cod, sardines and canned tuna. Good seafood choices are scallops, shrimp, mussels and clams.
- Whole grain foods – Choose a variety including whole grain bread & pasta, brown & wild rice, quinoa and oats or oatmeal daily.
- Low fat milk (skim, 1%, 2%), lower fat cheese (20% milk fat or less) and low fat (0%, 1%, 2%) fermented dairy foods such as yogurt and kefir. Aim for 2 servings daily.
Foods to Limit or Avoid:
- Red meat – goat, beef, pork and lamb. Limit to 2 servings or less a week.
- Processed meat (sausages, deli meats, bacon, hot dogs) Avoid or limit to no more than one serving per week.
- Highly processed foods like frozen entrees/frozen pizzas – Avoid completely or strictly limit these foods. Other highly processed foods (commercially prepared pies, cakes, cookies, etc.) and drinks (i.e., regular pop) are high in added sugar, sodium or saturated fat that are pro-inflammatory and are often low in the nutrients that keep us healthy.
- Candies, sugar, honey, jam, desserts, ice cream – Limit to no more than 2 times/week or less, or save them for special occasions.
For more information about healthy eating for arthritis, book an appointment with our registered dietitian to develop an eating plan that is based on your specific needs.