Foods can increase, decrease arthritis pain

October 12, 2011

For many, medication is not enough, so they turn to certain common foods for pain relief.

Arthritis happens when the body's immune cells turn against healthy tissue around joints.

"Most of the medications are either symptom reduction or actually, prevention of the progression of the disease, but there's no cure yet," said Dr. Richard Krieger, a physician at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.

Side effects from the medications have many patients watching what they eat to find relief.

However, what you cook could end up helping or hurting you.

Studies show saturated fats may increase inflammation in the body. That means bacon, steak, butter and cream may trigger arthritis pain. Omega-6 fatty acids found in vegetable oils may also increase inflammation and joint pain.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, trout, walnuts, tofu and canola oil may help decrease inflammation and decrease pain.

Selenium fights free radicals that cause damage to healthy tissue. One 3.5-ounce serving of tuna gives you a full day's requirement of selenium.

And you may want to add a little hot sauce to your meal. An Oxford study shows 40 percent of arthritis patients reduced their pain by half after using capsaicin for one month. It's found in chili peppers.

There's good news if you like to have a glass of wine with dinner. A study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found drinking alcohol may be linked to a significantly reduced chance of getting rheumatoid arthritis.

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