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Although I regularly bike, walk dogs, and swim; after sitting down for awhile, I feel stiff and achy. I have inherited arthritis so I am taking Glucosamine Chondroiton tablets twice a day with orange juice. Any dietary advice to help me remain active and pain free?

Food can’t cure arthritis but it can make the disease less painful and more manageable. You mentioned that you have not been diagnosed and that you think your condition is hereditary. Osteoarthris is not inherited. We will all get it eventually. Dinosaurs that lived long enough got OA. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and can be inherited. Please see your primary care giver to see just what you do have, if anything. Here is a list of just a few foods that will help to maintain the health of the cartilage that is between the bone and control inflammation.

1.       Any  foods that contain omega-3’s such as wild salmon, sardines, wild trout and herring. Other foods that are rich sources of omega-3’s are walnuts, soy beans flax seeds, canola oil and pumpkin seeds.  These fish contain vitamin D, which helps prevent swelling and soreness. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids decrease the production of chemicals that spread support inflammation.

2.       Extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which blocks enzymes involved in inflammation. Oleocanthal is similar to classical NSAID’s such as aspirin.

3.       Foods rich in vitamin-C s such as sweet bell peppers and citrus fruits. The cartilage between the bones is made up of collagen and foods rich in vitamin C help collagen maintain it’s integrity. However, if you have OA, too much vitamin C will make some joint pain worse so remember that moderation is the key.

4.       Dark colored fruits such as cherries, black grapes, raspberries, blueberries, eggplant. (yes eggplant is a fruit!) These fruits get their pigment from anthocyanin, an antioxidant which is found in the skin of these fruits and inhibits inflammation.

5.       Onions garlic, apples, berries and leeks. These foods contain quercetin, an antioxidant that appears to inhibit inflammation. 

6.       Green tea and red wine. Both of these drinks contain quercetin and other antioxidants. Green tea seems to be especially beneficial for people who have rheumatoid arthritis.