Morning stiffness, hot and swollen joints, and sudden flare-ups of immobility are all symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which may make it difficult to enjoy life and get back to the things that you once enjoyed doing. Your doctors may have recommended different medications with various levels of success, but many RA drugs have negative side effects. While natural remedies are no replacement for medication and physical therapy provided by a health professional, certain foods and drinks (like smoothies) may contain anti-inflammatory benefits that can help ease pain and stiffness.
Here are some of the best smoothie ingredients for RA sufferers:
1. Coconut oil smoothie
Multiple studies have shown that coconut oil is a surprisingly effective treatment for reducing swelling and inflammation caused by arthritis. Coconut oil is a natural source of medium-chain fatty acids, which contain disease-fighting properties that kill off viruses and bacteria. It won’t cure your arthritis, but adding coconut oil to your smoothie can reduce your pain and swelling and help you get back to enjoying life again.
2. Pea protein powder smoothie
Typically used by fitness buffs, pea protein powder can also boost your immune system and give you the extra protein you need to ease the symptoms of arthritis. Studies have shown that a combination of protein and exercise can help arthritis patients reduce their suffering and build the muscle mass that they’ve lost due to the disease. Pea protein is sold in health food stores across the country, so pick up a jar and sprinkle some into your next smoothie.
3. Chia seed smoothie
In recent years, chia seeds have been hailed as the latest “superfood” to hit the market. You might be skeptical, but chia seeds are actually loaded with omega-3s that reduce inflammation. Chia seeds are also packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, so you can ease your arthritis symptoms and improve your general health at the same time. Your body doesn’t naturally create omega-3s, so once you start consuming chia seeds, you might start noticing a rapid improvement.
4. Orange juice smoothie
Like omega-3s, your body does not store or produce vitamin C, so it’s important to get lots of vitamin C-rich foods in your diet. Eating oranges and other citrus fruits help you build a strong immune system, which is vital in fighting off inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. You can peel and eat an orange by itself, or, if you don’t like citrus, drop it in a smoothie and blend it up so you don’t notice the taste.
5. Fresh berry smoothie
Tart, sweet, and delicious, berries are packed with antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and joint swelling. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are most commonly recommended for RA patients. Each type of berry comes with its own set of ingredients, with some offering more antioxidants than others, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see which berries work best for you. Fresh berries and frozen berries have been shown to be equally effective, so if you don’t normally consume berries, consider buying a frozen bag so they’ll be edible longer.