Your mom’s arthritis is worsening, and she’s struggling to do things around her home that used to be easy. Her doctor has recommended several things to help with arthritis pain and inflammation, and one of them is her diet. How will dietary changes help her? Find out more about how nutrition affects arthritis, and how elder care can help.
The Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
The Arthritis Foundation recommends whole foods with minimal processing and healthy fats, especially extra virgin olive oil. For this reason, the Mediterranean Diet is ideal. The foods you focus on improve the gut biome that can help ease inflammation that triggers many common health issues, including arthritis flare-ups.
The foods to focus on in an anti-inflammatory diet include:
- Cold water fish like anchovies, herring, sardines, and tuna
- Heart-healthy oils, especially avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and walnut oil
- Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and pinto beans
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, pistachios, and walnuts
- Produce including a variety of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors, especially blueberries, broccoli, cherries, kale, and spinach. Nightshade vegetables like eggplant, red bell peppers, and tomatoes are also good
- Whole grains, especially those that have gone through minimal processing like farro, hulled barley, and quinoa
When your mom is planning her meals, she should aim for her plate to be half vegetables and fruit, a quarter grain, and a quarter protein. She wants to eat more vegetables than anything else.
It might help her to have someone sit down and plan suitable meals and snacks all week. Once she has the menu plan built and posted on a fridge, corkboard, or online spreadsheet, she can build a shopping list. If she needs help shopping, get someone to go with her and make sure she chooses the proper ingredients.
Exercise Is Also Important
In addition to dietary changes, your mom should be getting daily exercise. A brisk walk for at least 30 minutes per day is a good start. If she can mix up the types of exercise she does, it’s even better. A bit of cardio, strength training, and Yoga or Tai Chi are good ways to get a variety while also developing breathing skills that help with relaxation.
What if she hates going outside for walks on her own? Arrange for a caregiver to join her on walks. Exercise helps strengthen muscles and joints, but it’s also helpful for weight loss. If your mom is overweight, losing some weight may help her ease arthritis pain in the ankles, knees, and hips.
Elder care services can help with arthritis pain that isn’t easing. Instead of struggling to do things on her own, your mom can have a helping hand with things like laundry, housework, and meals. Learn more about elder care by making a call.