7 Best Summer Fruits for Rheumatoid Arthritis

There’s no time like summer to start incorporating these fresh fruits into your RA-friendly diet. They’re packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can help fight inflammation.

Medically Reviewed
fruits rheumatoid arthritis
Take in the antioxidants and nutrients found in peaches, watermelons, and pomegranates.Canva (3); Everyday Health

Summer is the time for fresh fruits. If you’ve got rheumatoid arthritis (RA), take advantage of the seasonal abundance and increase your consumption — fruits are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and polyphenols (organic compounds found in plants) that help reduce oxidative stress and fight inflammation.

Don’t Worry Too Much About the Sugar

Many people think that they should avoid fruits because of the sugar in them. “But there’s a huge difference between a piece of chocolate and a fruit. Yes, every carbohydrate breaks down into sugar. However, fruits have different qualities, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients, that can reduce your risk of inflammation, whereas a piece of chocolate is just added sugar with a lot of calories but fewer nutrients,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Ruth Frechman, author of The Easy Arthritis Diet Cookbook: 75 Anti-Inflammatory Recipes to Manage Symptoms.

RELATED: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Your Diet: What to Consider

Small-Batch Blueberry Jam Crumble Breakfast Bars

Breakfast rotations have a way of turning into?breakfast ruts. Smoothie, oatmeal, eggs —?rinse and repeat. To mix it up, you could always treat yourself?with a?trip to your?local cafe, but make a habit of it and that little splurge starts to add up. Instead, shake?up your morning ritual with a treat you can?enjoy?any day of the week.

One part muffin, one part crumble, these oatmeal-inspired, maple-sweetened blueberry jam bars are going to be your new?favorite! Paired with an iced coffee (or hey, treat yourself to one from the local coffee shop), a small batch of these bars are the perfect weekday breakfast treat or midmorning snack.

Oats are blitzed into a fine flour, then combined with almond butter, maple syrup, and cardamom. This dough acts as both the base and crumble topping. They're not too sweet, packed with toasty oat and nut flavor, and freeze like a dream!

contains? Eggs, Tree Nuts
4.9 out of 7 reviews

SERVES

9

CALORIES PER SERVING

326

AUTHOR

The Feedfeed

PREP TIME

30 min

COOK TIME

50 min

TOTAL TIME

1 hr 20 min

Ingredients

2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
3 tbsp lemon juice, from about 1 large lemon
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp lemon zest, from about 1 large lemon
2 cups old-fashioned oats, divided
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup natural almond butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 egg
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sliced almonds
Flaky sea salt, to taste

Directions

1

Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.

2

For the blueberry jam: In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries, maple syrup, lemon juice, chia seeds, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil over high heat;?reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently and using the back of a spoon to smash the berries to release their juices. The mixture will look thin. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. This step can be done ahead of time, refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three?days until ready to assemble.

3

For the crumble: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, combine 1 3/4 cups oats (reserve remaining ? cup for later), baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Blitz to a fine flour, about 1 minute. Alternately, blitz oats in a high-speed blender and then mix the dough by hand.

4

In a medium bowl, whisk almond butter, maple syrup, egg, olive oil, and vanilla. Add mixture to food processor and pulse until a thick dough forms. Scoop out about ? cup dough for the topping. Add remaining ? cup oats. Use a fork to combine, and set aside.

5

Press remaining dough into the bottom of prepared baking dish in an even layer with a greased spatula. The dough will be sticky.

6

Pour cooled blueberry jam onto crust into an even layer. Scatter with oat crumble, using your fingers to break it up into small lumps. Sprinkle with almonds and a little flaky salt.

7

Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes until crumble top is firm and golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing into bars. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to five?days, or freeze for up to three?months.

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving

calories

326

total fat

15g

saturated fat

1.7g

protein

9g

carbohydrates

42g

fiber

6.7g

sugar

15.7g

added sugar

11.3g

sodium

217mg

TAGS:

Eggs, Tree Nuts, Heart-Healthy, Mediterranean, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, High-Fiber, Family-Friendly, Breakfast

7 Yummy Fruits That Help With RA

1.?Cherries

A review published in?Nutrients in 2018 on the health benefits of cherries stated that they’re a good source of polyphenols and vitamin C, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The team reported that eating cherries “decreased markers for oxidative stress in 8/10 studies; inflammation in 11/16; exercise-induced muscle soreness and loss of strength in 8/9; blood pressure in 5/7; arthritis in 5/5; and improved sleep in 4/4.” The other good news is that although it used to be thought that only tart cherries would produce these effects, the research reviewers found that sweet cherries were also effective.

Try It?Freeze them and just eat them as a snack. Or, says Frechman, make a chia pudding (1 cup of cashew milk, a quarter of a cup of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder) and throw in half a cup of cherries. You’ll also get fiber from the chia seeds.

2.?Peaches, Stone Fruits, and Citrus

Fruits with stones (peaches, apricots, plums) and citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, limes) are packed full of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory vitamin C. And, according to the?Arthritis Foundation, canned peaches in light syrup actually contain more vitamin C than fresh ones.

Try It?Whip up a hazelnut milk smoothie using a variety of these fruits, and add some of the canned peach juice. Or just enjoy a fresh fruit salad, with a hint of mint. Don’t forget to zest the citrus rinds; they’re also full of antioxidants. Sprinkle them on a salad, in salad dressing, or in the dough of a blueberry crumble.

3. Pomegranates

A review published in The International Journal of Clinical Practice?in 2021 reported that 12 different papers have found that pomegranates can “manage RA complications by reducing the inflammation and oxidative stress.” Why? Pomegranates are a healthy source of polyphenols, which act as powerful antioxidants. They also contain vitamin K, which is good for reducing joint swelling and building cartilage and bone.

Try It?Pomegranates can be a mess to deseed, but stores now sell the seeds already taken out. Throw them onto a fresh spinach and feta cheese salad, or incorporate them into a salad dressing. Or blend them with some fizzy water and make a pomegranate spritzer.

4. Berries and Currants

Berries are not only high in antioxidants but also rich in several polyphenols, such as anthocyanins (pigments founds in certain plants that produce the red, blue, or purple color) and quercetin, and various types of phenolic acids that reduce inflammation, according to a review published in Food and Function?in 2018.

Try It?Mix them into yogurt with a granola topping for a satisfying treat. Or, Frechman recommends, sauté them into a sauce to use over fish or chicken. In a pan, combine the fruits with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and thyme, and simmer on low heat until the mixture thickens ?— about 3 to 4 minutes. Keep a bag of frozen berries on hand, and you will always be ready to go.

RELATED:?These Farmers Market Favorites Help Fight Inflammation

5. Pineapple

Pineapples are a great source of vitamin C, but you also have the protease enzyme, bromelain. It has the potential of reducing inflammation, supporting the immune system, and as a bonus, it aids in digestion,” says Frechman.

Try It?Cut the pineapple into chunks and skewer them. Add a little olive oil and grill them until lightly charred. The sugar caramelizes for a really delicious experience. Or make a pineapple salsa for chips or to put on chicken or fish. Chop together pineapple, red pepper, and cilantro, then add lime juice and a tiny bit of jalape?o to give it a little heat, says Frechman.

6. Watermelon

This thirst-quenching fruit is exploding with citrulline, lycopene, polyphenols, and vitamins A and C, all of which have strong antioxidant properties and may help promote joint health, says Frechman. An article published in Molecules in 2020 suggested that watermelons also can help with other diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

Try It?No need to get fancy. Just cut it up and enjoy. Or blend it, add a bit of lime, and make refreshing (and healthy) frozen pops.

RELATED: 7 Arthritis-Friendly Foods (and 1 Drink) for Barbecue Season

7. Grapes

According to the Arthritis Foundation, white and darker-colored grapes are both good sources of antioxidants and polyphenols. Fresh red and black ones also contain resveratrol, a natural polyphenol that is known to possess anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

Try It?Keep them frozen for a filling treat. Skewer them along with chicken or fish, let sit in a marinade, then grill. Or layer them with yogurt and almonds for a fun parfait.

Go for a Variety

Mix it up: “Fruits and vegetable have hundreds of different phytonutrients, so eat a variety to get all the benefits from the different ones,” says Frechman.

Bon appétit!