Managing Your Pain

Best and Worst Foods for Pain

Some research suggests that certain foods may affect rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
olive-oil-pain

Credit: Corbis

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Olive oil

Best

Olive oil works much the same way as omega-3s do—by potentially reducing painful joint inflammation, says Dr. Choi. It's also a staple of the famed Mediterranean diet, which was shown in a 2003 study not only to reduce inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients, but also to enhance physical function and vitality. A compound called oleocanthal, which gives olive oil its taste, may have the same effect in the body as aspirin, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Keep in mind, though, that olive oil has as many calories as other types of fat so don't overdo it.

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