Arthritis affects over 10 million people in the UK. The most common types are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The condition causes pain, stiffness and inflammation of the joints, which in severe cases can make it difficult to complete daily tasks. While the condition is lifelong and has no direct cure, symptoms can be relieved by including certain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories into your diet. According to the Arthritis Foundation, walnuts and almonds could be particularly beneficial for reducing inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.
Walnuts are high in alpha linoleic acid (ALA) – a type of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid.
Omega 3 has been shown to help some people with inflammatory types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The nutrient is known as an ‘essential fatty acid’. It’s a type of fatty acid that cannot be produced in the body and therefore must be obtained from food.
The Arthritis Foundation notes some studies have found walnuts can lower C-reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of inflammation linked to arthritis.
Eating walnuts regularly can also help to lower cholesterol, relax blood vessels to lessen stress on the heart and reduce blood pressure.
Almonds, meanwhile, contain monounsaturated fats which have been shown in some research to lower some markers of inflammation, including CRP.
They are also a good source of vitamin E – an antioxidant which has been shown to help treat arthritis by preventing damage in the cells of the bones and joints.
Vitamin E might also have anti-inflammatory properties and help to keep swelling under control.
“Studies have shown that people who eat a diet high in these nutrients tend to have lower levels of some inflammation-causing molecules that circulate in the bloodstream and higher levels of the anti-inflammatory protein adiponectin compared with those who consumed less,” said the Arthritis Foundation.
“Whether you snack on a handful, slip them into a stir-fry or sprinkle them on a salad, nuts are versatile additions to your diet and cooking repertoire.
“Most also offer a variety of health benefits for people with arthritis.”
The NHS advises people with arthritis eat a healthy, balanced diet to get all the nutrients they need.
A healthy, balanced diet consists of a variety of foods from the main five food groups.
These include fruit and vegetables; starchy foods like bread, rice potatoes and pasta; meat, fish, eggs and beans; milk and dairy foods; and foods containing healthy fats.
If you’re overweight, losing weight can also help you to cope with arthritis as too much weight places excess pressure on the joints.
This can lead to increased pain and problems with mobility.