Arthritis is a condition caused by an inflammatory response. The word arthritis means joint inflammation. According the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the most common cause of disability in the United States, with nearly 19 million affected.

The term arthritis refers to over 100 rheumatic diseases and
conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint and other connective tissue. There are two common types: Osteoarthritis(OA)and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

OA is the more common form of arthritis. It occurs due to the cartilage between the joints and bones wearing down, thus causing pain and stiffness. Risk factors include excess body weight (knees are particularly vulnerable), long term stress or injury, muscle weakness, structural malalignment. Women tend to be at greater risk than men for OA. Genetic predisposition, aging, osteoporosis,
estrogen deficiency, and elevated C-reactive protein
levels are additional factors.

Treatment for OA consists of weight management, physical
therapy, patient education, and the use of some medications.
Some dietary suggestions include adequate vitamin C, vitamin
D, calcium and some herbal supplements.

RA is a systemic inflammatory disease. It manifests itself in multiple joints of the body but can also affect other organs. RA can begin at any age, and symptoms include prolonged stiffness and fatigue. It is more common in women than men (two to three times higher), and incidence peaks in the 60s.

While no definitive causes are known, it is thought that RA may be due to a faulty immune response. Some researchers have looked at genetics and environmental factors (such as hormonal exposures, microbial exposures from bacteria or viruses and tobacco use) as risk factors
for RA.

Of the environmental factors, use of tobacco has been
shown to have a consistent association with the onset of RA.
Evidence shows a dietary component to RA. Some foods may be regarded as trigger points, and some foods may help alleviate symptoms.

Treatment of RA includes medication, surgery (in some cases), exercise and self management. There is still much research needed to be definitive for dietary treatment of both OA and RA. As the condition itself is inflammatory, individuals will likely need specific treatment in regards to their personal situation.

Some individuals with arthritis may experience an aggravation of their symptoms with such foods as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant,peppers and tobacco. These are a group of foods known as nightshades.

Natural anti-inflammatory remedies that have shown promise
in pain reduction include cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cherries, berries, green or black tea and omega-3 fatty acids. Bromelain is another compound found to be potentially beneficial in maintaining healthy joints and reducing pain. One source is pineapple.

Exercise has also been shown to help alleviate some of the
pain and symptoms of arthritis, while improving circulation and physical fitness.

Some individuals with OA have experienced
relief of pain and symptoms with supplements containing chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate, and others with omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Others have not. There are a number of studies to review at

Check with your healthcare practitioner regarding any use
of supplements and physical activity. For more information regarding Arthritis check out or

Below are some recipes containing ingredients shown with potential to reduce pain and symptoms of arthritis.

Recipe Acronyms: PRO = Protein; CHO = Carbohydrate;
FAT = Fat; Chol = Cholesterol; Gram = gm

Fish: Baked, Broiled or Grilled
Bake, broil or grill some delicious omega-3 loaded fish such as
Salmon, Tuna, Halibut or Mackerel. Season it with a sprinkle of
turmeric, black pepper and some citrus juice.
Accompany it with some Pineapple Mint Salsa.

Pineapple Mint Salsa
2 cups fresh or 1 can (20-ounces) pineapple chunks in their own
juice, drained
2 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice (or you can substitute with rice wine
1/4 cup chopped mint
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. You may want to use a lesser amount
of juice/vinegar and taste it before adding more. Cover and
refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for flavors to blend.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 60 Calories, 1 gm PRO, 15 gm CHO, 0 gm FAT,
0 mg Chol, 1 gm Fiber, 3 mg Sodium, 128 mg Potassium.

Salmon Salad
1 can (7-ounces) boneless, skinless salmon, drained
1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise*
1 stalk celery, preferably organic, chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp. dried, if desired
*You can substitute lower fat mayonnaise or yogurt if preferred, which will
reduce calories and fat.

Mix all ingredients in bowl. Refrigerate. Makes 2 servings.
Per serving : 170 Calories, 21 gm PRO, 1 gm CHO, 8 gm FAT,
36 mg Chol, 376 mg Sodium, 266 mg Potassium.

Author's Bio: 

Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Her background includes nutrition counseling, health promotion, public speaking, recipe makeovers, sales and marketing. She has authored the book Boomer Be Well! Rebel Against Aging through Food, Nutrition and Lifestyle which reviews the subjects of food, food safety, nutrition, conditions associated with aging and how to rebel from the process. Also included are the topics of nutritional genomics, nanotechnology, different types of healthcare practitioners, learning the difference between food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, and conditions ranging from eye care, insomnia, celiac disease, diabetes and many more. Recipes are inserted throughout the book. You can purchase through her website at