Best food for arthritis, gout and other chronic conditions.
1 – Healthy ‘Oils’. We have been told that fat is bad for us but the truth is that only ‘bad’ fat is bad for us. There is a number of ‘good fat’ which is essential for our health in many ways.
Among the very best food for arthritis are these great oils: extra virgin olive oil and fish oil; the former you can add to your salad in any quantity you wish (raw extra virgin olive oil is very healthy, has no side effects and will help you with your bowel movements too!) or cook with it (extra virgin olive oil is very stable and does not break into ‘bad fats’ in high temperature, unlike most other types of oils);
Fish oils are best taken in supplement form, making sure you buy the ‘distilled’ type to eliminate contaminants. Both types of aforementioned ‘good’ oils lower cholesterol levels in your arteries and improve your cardiovascular health (heart and veins); they also increase your mental health (by improving circulation) and contribute to eliminate many types of inflammatory states; inflammation in your body is actually a precursor to a number of diseases, such as arthritis and including (in the long run), certain forms of cancer.
The third ‘good’ oil, which is emerging in most ‘health news’ today, is coconut oil (one teaspoon a day is enough, even added to your dessert or healthy cereals): it supposedly regulates your cholesterol levels, strengthens your immune system and thyroid function; it also increases fatty acid oxidization (namely it increases the ‘burning’ of your fat). This latter property, though, means that you need to accompany coconut oil with a healthy dose of antioxidants throughout the day: oxidization is what makes us grow old, so minimizing it or counteracting its production of free radicals is absolutely essential. Just a note if you suffer from gout: these days there are excellent supplements which work long-term, such as black cherry extract.
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2 – Natural Pineapple Juice or Raw Pineapple. Pineapple, in its natural form, is a very important ingredient to add to your meals if you suffer from any form of indigestion or if you wish to help your body process the food you are eating much faster. Pineapple contains an enzyme (bromelain) which is particularly useful in the digestion of meat but also useful in the case of any ‘heavy’ food. I always drink freshly squeezed pineapple juice before, during or after my meal. I have noticed a huge difference in how quickly and pain-freely I can digest almost anything now. Of course, I have another great ally to help me with my digestion:
3 – Probiotics (‘good’ bacteria). Beneficial bacteria are important in your body for various reasons: they help your body keep the ‘bad’ bacteria (those that can make us sick) quantity low, they create a ‘gentler’ environment inside your stomach (they sooth the lining of the stomach when you have eaten spicy foods, coffee or sodas, for example) and they make your intestinal tract healthy (thus improving your bowel movements). I used to suffer from a pre-ulcerative condition in my stomach (the symptoms were worse than those of acid reflux or heartburn) and now, to avoid the problem from reoccurring, I drink or eat probiotics (live active cultures in yogurt form or yogurt drink) with every meal. You can also take probiotics in pill form. On a foot note, if you ‘cook’ any ingredient containing live active cultures or probiotics, you will ‘kill’ the ‘good bacteria’, so it’ll be pointless.
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‘Spices’ and Natural Seasoning. Did you know that adding spices to your food can significantly improve your health? Recent studies show that, by incorporating spices into our meals, we can significantly reduce the levels of certain ‘bad fats’ (triglycerides) in our blood; these ‘bad fats’ are largely caused by eating red meats, fatty meats and other types of fats (such as fatty cheeses) and are detrimental to your health. An example of beneficial spices are cayenne pepper, black pepper, coriander, basil, cumin, turmeric, mustard seeds/powder, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, paprika. Another great benefit of such spices is that they make you feel ‘full’ much earlier on, living your mind a sense of feeling truly ‘satisfied’ thus eliminating food cravings later on.
Make sure your spices are all natural and not ‘artificial’ or ‘chemical-based’.
Vinegar: this natural ingredient is very helpful if you need to stabilize your blood sugar levels and, for this reason, it can help you against sugar cravings. Vinegar also stimulates our digestive system and even our metabolism, thus very useful first thing in the morning. I personally prefer white wine vinegar and I add it to my green salad (with extra virgin olive oil and a touch of lemon and salt); however, if you prefer, you can opt for apple cider vinegar and just take it straight up (one spoonful will be enough).
Cinnamon. If you wish to prevent diabetes or contribute to lower your cholesterol levels in your blood, adding cinnamon to your coffee, lattes, yogurt or cereals may help. Cinnamon seems to reduce blood sugar levels (and somewhat help to regulate cholesterol levels) in general; it also seems to decrease the level of absorption of carbohydrates, thus balancing the levels of insulin in our body. If diabetes-related issues are a concern for you (if you are interested in preventing this disease), you may also find my page on green tea and matcha useful.
There’s much more to say about the best food for Arthritis improvement. We recommend you read our page on Food & Chronic Diseases.