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Be arthritis smart this Thanksgiving

    image of a roasted turkeyImage courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thanksgiving is a time to thank the ones you love and of course, enjoy a big feast in the company of family and friends. Sadly, for people living with arthritis, the average Fall favourite food may come with a side of inflammation. Everyday Health provides a summary of good alternatives for healthier food options:

  1. Make your pecan pie an apple pie. Pecan pie and its filling is high in fat and sugar. A fruit-based dessert has nutritional benefits and contains fewer calories. Apple pie can have fewer than half the calories of pecan pie!
  2. Substitute gravy with cranberry sauce or a fruit puree. Traditional gravy is made from fatty turkey drippings that is high in saturated fat, which can cause increased joint inflammation and obesity. Cranberries are high in anti-oxidants and can help in the fight against inflammation.
  3. Consider roasting your sweet potatoes instead of making a sweet potato casserole loaded with brown sugar, marshmallows, and butter. On its own, sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber and inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Spice them up natural seasonings such as cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper.
  4. Traditional green bean casserole is made with cream of mushroom soup and fatty fried onion toppings. A healthy substitute would be to use redu
    ced-fat or fat-free soup and nuts as toppings. Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are a good source of heart-healthy fiber, unsaturated fats, and antioxidants. Some nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and fight inflammation.
  5. For turkey stuffings, use whole grains instead of white bread.
  6. Consider making macaroni and cheese with whole-grain pasta and reduced-fat cheese. Add some vegetables - such as carrots and cauliflower - in your mac and cheese.
  7. Skip the turkey and replace it with salmon. Fatty fishes like salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can fight against inflammation.

Keep in mind that maintaining a healthy weight is important for people living with arthritis. Excess weight puts added strain and stress on your joints. Losing 10 pounds (just under 5kg) decreases the risk of osteoarthritis by 50% and carrying an extra 22 pounds (10kgs) of weight almost doubles your risk of painful knee osteoarthritis. Furthermore, for every pound of extra weight a woman has, she is putting four pounds of pressure on her knees.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!