When managing the pains of juvenile arthritis, it can be helpful to introduce various food items into your child’s nutrition regimen to help cut down on inflammation and boost their immune system.
After all, we are what we eat. So why not eat to help us feel better?
Fighting Arthritis with Food
Below are some easy items you can add into you or your child’s diet to help ease the symptoms of arthritis.
Packed with polyphenols, antioxidants that reduce inflammation, green tea is an easy food item to introduce into any diet.
Make some hot tea before bed, or brew a batch of iced green tea at home with some lemon and honey.
Not only does green tea fight inflammation, but it also helps protect the body against joint damage.
Full of fiber, beans help to lower the production of C-reactive proteins, a protein that is produced in response to inflammation.
Beans are also great sources of potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, which boost our immune system.
Substitute meat with beans for burger night or taco night (recipes below). With so many varieties of beans to choose from, everyone can find their favorite!
While everyone knows that eating your vegetables is good for you, new research suggests it may be better for us than we thought. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and other green cruciferous vegetables help boost the immune system by supporting the production and activity of proteins and receptors, namely IEL cells and AhRs, that are responsible for the smooth running of our bodies.
When our immune systems are functioning at their best, the body can more easily battle the daily aches and pains that arthritis can cause.
If you have trouble getting your child to eat their green veggies, throw some in a smoothie to mask their taste (recipe below).
A sweet treat perfect for anytime of the day, berries are loaded with antioxidants called anthocyanins that help the body fight inflammation.
Bursting with tons more vitamins and minerals, they make great additions to any meal.
Plus, who can resist a freshly baked berry pie?
These heart-healthy soybeans are not only easy to throw into any recipe, but they also pack a big punch. In just a half cup of edamame, you can find about 300 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids!
Omega-3s are great fighters of inflammation and high in protein.
Throw some in a salad, in a pasta dish, or simply snack on these delicious soybeans throughout the day to enjoy all of their benefits.
A yellow earthy spice that has been used for centuries in India to help ward off inflammatory diseases, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that does just that.
This spice is often found in curries and can be an easy way to spice up an otherwise dull dinner.
Try making your own curry at home, or sip on some golden turmeric milk before bed to help the body fight inflammation overnight (recipe below).
Lycopene, a phytonutrient found in the skin of tomatoes, has been linked not only to reducing inflammatory compounds, but also to boosting our mood!
The small size of cherry tomatoes means we ingest more of the skin, making them a perfect supplier of this inflammation-fighting nutrient.
While the jury is still out on the effects of nightshades (eggplant, potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes) on inflammation and arthritis pain, each case is individual. So, it is important to notice the effects of nightshades on your body. If you suspect a negative effect, try cutting them out of your diet for three weeks to see if symptoms improve.
- 2 cups almond or coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons honey (local honey to help manage allergies) or maple syrup
Heat milk of choice in saucepan until warm. Whisk in rest of ingredients. Pour into favorite mug and enjoy!
- 1/2- 3/4 cup almond milk (depending on desired consistency)
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup frozen berries (blueberries work best in this recipe)
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend for the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack!
Black Bean Tacos
- 1 tablespoon oil of your choice
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 small onion chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1 can of black beans (rinsed)
- 3 heaping tablespoons of favorite salsa
- 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce sliced into long strips
- 1 avocado sliced for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
- Corn or flour tortillas
Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté chopped peppers and onions for about 5 minutes, or until onions become translucent. Add in garlic, cumin, and chili powder and cook for another minute or two. Turn heat to low and add in beans, salsa, and salt. Let simmer over low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Turn off heat, squeeze in lime juice, and season to taste.
Meanwhile, toss iceberg lettuce with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of oil, a dash of salt, and freshly chopped cilantro. Serve black bean mixture and the lettuce along side sliced avocado and tortillas to build the perfect black bean taco!