Juicing for Arthritis
I’ve been watching my mother suffer from arthritis for years. It’s been so painful to see her cringe, struggle and say goodbye to some of her favorite things. Seeing her made me take action and figure out how we could reduce or eliminate her symptoms so she could live the rest of her life happy and healthy.
I quickly found that juicing has provided amazing results for people all over the globe. While I’m no physician, I do know pain relief when I see it. After introducing my mom to juicing, she said she feels better than ever and that her pain has alleviated slightly. So today I’d love to share with you the potential benefits of juicing for arthritis.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis currently affects over 50 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is a very common condition that’s unfortunately not well understood. Arthritis is actually a very general term. It refers to over 100 different types of arthritic conditions.
Arthritis isn’t picky, it can affect any age, gender and race. It can be more common among women and of course becomes more prominent as you age. The Arthritis Foundation states that main symptoms of the condition include:
- Decreased range of motion
Symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. They might stay the same for a while but often progressively worsen over time. Severe arthritis can cause chronic pain, difficulty doing normal daily activities or even affect your ability to walk or climb stairs. My mother’s symptoms recently went from mild to moderate which has been nothing short of difficult to watch.
Different types of arthritis include:
- Degenerative arthritis
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Infectious arthritis
- Metabolic arthritis
Today I’m going to focus on inflammatory arthritis because that’s the type my mother is dealing with. According to the Arthritis Foundation, inflammatory arthritis can occur when your immune system “goes awry.” Your body naturally creates inflammation in order to fight infection and get rid of disease, however sometimes people’s immune systems get confused and start “mistakenly attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint erosion and may damage internal organs, eyes and other parts of the body.” Two very common types of inflammatory arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
This type of arthritis requires immediate and aggressive treatment. Attacking the condition before it has time to get worse can help you prevent permanent joint damage. Mostly remission is achieved through disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These treatments are supposed to help “reduce pain, improve function, and prevent further joint damage.”
While there is no cure for arthritis, there are certain lifestyle changes that can drastically reduce your symptoms and help manage pain and inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation suggests an “Anti-Inflammatory Diet.”
What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet includes what is known as a “Mediterranean diet.” This diet places special emphasis on eating fish, vegetables and healthy fats like olive oil.
While the Arthritis Foundation states that there’s no specific diet that people with arthritis have to follow, “researchers have identified certain foods that can help control inflammation.” Those foods happen to include lots of fruits and vegetables, which is exactly what you juice with!
Why Juice for Arthritis?
As mentioned, arthritis symptoms are caused by inflammation in your joints. Luckily many fruits and vegetables have amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Flooding your body via fruit and veggie juice can be a great way to quickly and efficiently gain all those benefits in just a few simple swigs.
The problem with buying fruit juices at the store is that you’ll often find added sugars, coloring, and chemicals. Juicing at home guarantees that you’re getting your nutrients straight from the source without anything added.
You also get to experiment with an unlimited variety of recipes. Just think about the plethora of fruits and vegetables available in the produce aisle. If you were to buy fruit juice at the store, you’d likely reach for apple juice or maybe cranberry or orange juice.
When you’re juicing you’ll notice yourself becoming more adventurous in your choices and therefore increasing the chance that you’ll be flooding yourself with even more vitamins and minerals than you could ever imagine.
Juicing is also simple. You can have a quality, easy-to-use juicer on your doorstep within the next 2 days. I bought my juicer from Amazon and haven’t looked back since. If you don’t want to take the plunge quite yet, you could always try to borrow one from a friend or a family member for a few days and see how you like it.
If you are more of a visual person, check out this YouTube video a woman created on how she juiced to help her arthritis pain and symptoms.
What are the Best Vegetables and Fruits to Juice for Arthritis?
Vegetables should be your best friend when it comes to juicing for arthritis. Vegetables are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals; all things that help protect your body from cellular damage, lower inflammation and prevent disease.
Dr. Mladen Golubic, medical director of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic, states that “Vegetables have the most potent antioxidants and more nutrients than any other food.” So which veggies are most important for arthritis?
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are impressive when it comes to fighting free radicals. Health Check Systems explains that free radicals are are the harmful byproducts produced by our body’s metabolism and environmental toxins.
Our body can handle a normal amount of free radicals but if antioxidants become unavailable or if the amount of free radicals in your body becomes excessive, damage can occur. They also state that “free radical damage accumulates with age.”
The Arthritis Foundation states that “Free radicals have been implicated in the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and in the inflammation that attacks joints.” Green leafy vegetables are packed with antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and K. These ingredients help protect your cells from free radical damage.
Adding green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, swiss chard, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and bok choy to your diet may help decrease inflammation.
Certain cruciferous vegetables also have a natural compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane “blocks the inflammatory process and might slow cartilage damage in osteoarthritis (OA).” Cruciferous vegetables include things like cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy.
Carrots are mainly well known for containing high amounts of beta-carotene. When beta-carotene is inside of your body it converts into Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps support good eye health, a strong immune system and healthy skin.
Beta carotene is also an antioxidant, which of course helps fight the damaging effects of free radicals. An extended amount of free radical damage over time can increase your risk of chronic illness. Eating foods high in antioxidants will protect you and lower your risk of disease.
The Arthritis Foundation states that bright orange or red-hued vegetables get their bright colors from beta-cryptoxanthin. This is a carotenoid that gives food its color but also has antioxidants.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Some research suggests eating more foods rich in beta-cryptoxanthin could reduce your risk of developing RA and other anti-inflammatory conditions.”
According to Nutrition Research, “Carotenoids represent the most abundant lipid-soluble phytochemicals, and in vitro and in vivo studies have suggested that they have antioxidant, antiapoptotic, and anti-inflammatory properties.”
You can also check our spicy carrot soup recipe right here!
3. Green and Red Peppers
The Arthritis Foundation names green and red peppers as a great vegetable to have around when you’re battling arthritis. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, “which preserves bone, and may protect cells in the cartilage.”
If you don’t get enough vitamin C in your diet, you may increase your risk of osteoarthritis in the knee. It’s recommended that women have at least 75 mg and men have 90 mg. Surprisingly, just a half cup of red bell pepper can give you your daily recommended intake!
Vegetables are amazing, but let’s not forget the importance of fruits as well. Aside from being naturally sweet, fruits also offer an incredible amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Some have components that may help lower the inflammation that affects people with arthritis and is linked to serious conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.” So which fruits are most helpful when juicing for arthritis?
Berries have an amazing variety of antioxidants such as ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C, along with many carotenoids and anthocyanins. These compounds help fight off free radicals, reducing your risk of inflammation and disease.
There are some great juicing recipes out there that include berries and since they are so sweet you really can’t go wrong no matter which you choose.
As mentioned above, picking a variety is your best bet for the fullest nutritional boost. Tossing a medley of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries together will really give you the best bang for your buck.
Watermelon is another amazing fruit to use when juicing for arthritis. Watermelon not only has plenty of H2O to help you stay hydrated but has anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, watermelon is “high in carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin, which can reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to studies that followed people’s dietary habits over time.”
Everyday Health also names watermelon as a great fruit to fight arthritis noting that its antioxidant, vitamin C, and high water content “can help ease muscle stiffness and achiness.” They suggest trying a variety of melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew.
According UK’s The Times, “eating grapes regularly can help mobility and reduce pain from arthritis.” Grapes are also another great source of antioxidants and polyphenols. According to the Arthritis Foundation, grapes contain a compound called resveratrol, which has been known to help with cardiovascular health.
Resveratrol doesn’t just help with heart health, it also been found to be a highly powerful anti-inflammatory. Studies have found that this compound can act on the same cellular targets as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are normally used for treating certain types of arthritis.
Arthritis aside, grapes are beneficial for other areas of your health. Antioxidants and polyphenols not only help with inflammation but can also help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Juicing for Arthritis: 3 Effective Recipes
Having my mother plagued with arthritis has given me motivation to experiment and come up with some of the best juicing for arthritis recipes out there. I’ve listed some of my favorites below. As always, feel free to share your favorites with me as well!
Final Thoughts on Juicing for Arthritis
Have you ever used juicing to help relieve arthritis symptoms? Did it work? My mom has definitely found relief after adding more fruits and vegetables to her diet through juicing. No matter what type of arthritis or condition you have, juicing can be an amazing addition to your current routine.
Today we learned that juicing for arthritis is beneficial because it’s an easy way to flush your body with essential vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that can help you reduce inflammation and prevent disease. Do you have any tips or advice when juicing for arthritis? Please share them in the comments below!