Foods and Strategies To Support Joint Health:
Omega-3 fats are considered essential because you must get them from food or supplements. They've been shown to help maintain a normal inflammatory response, which is crucial for someone suffering from chronic inflammation. Try boosting your intake with fatty fish (tuna, salmon, etc.), walnuts, and flax. If you can’t get it through food, then supplement with 1-3g of EPA/DHA per day from fish oil, krill oil or cod liver oil. Find out more about the two most beneficial omega 3’s, backed by extensive research.
Drink More Water
Water helps to lubricate the joints. Try to drink ½ oz. to 1 oz. of water per pound body weight each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds that would be 75-150 oz. of water each day. Too complicated? Then just strive for at least 20 oz. (typical water bottle size) of water every time you eat (~5-6/day). Check out these Klean Kanteens.
Spice It Up
Certain spices, like curry, cinnamon and ginger have been shown to have some anti-inflammatory properties. Try curry with rice dishes, cinnamon with your oatmeal, and ginger with your sushi and salad dressing. For more information, visit 5 Foods to Naturally Fight Inflammation.
Eat from a Rainbow
Increasing the number of colorful fruits and vegetables you eat throughout the day, as well as overall amount, can help reduce inflammation in your joints. Replace your sugary and salty snacks with fruits and vegetables for better joint health. The red, blue and purple foods are especially beneficial.
Decrease Red Meat
Certain foods increase inflammation inside your body. Decrease the amount of 4-legged animals you eat, and increase weekly consumption of creatures with gills or feathers. This will decrease the amount of inflammatory proteins you consume that may lead to joint pain.
They help fight free radicals, which may be damaging to the joints. Aim for a diet high in antioxidants, especially vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and selenium. I like this Mega Antioxidant supplement for days I want extra support.
Remember to eat from the rainbow often and to get vitamin A, choose yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, and dark leafy greens.
Good sources of vitamin C include red bell peppers, broccoli, citrus, papaya and raspberries.
Good sources of vitamin E include avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter and whole grain breads.
Good sources of selenium are brazil nuts, salmon, and brown rice.
This active enzyme in pineapple has been shown to demonstrate anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Several studies have examined the effects of bromelain and other enzymes like papain in patients with osteoarthritis.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying extra weight means more stress on your joints. If you are overweight and want to decrease joint pain, it may be time to take a look at your diet as a whole.
Eat Natural, Real Foods
Processed foods do not contain natural combinations of nutrients. Make sure 80% of the food you eat is in its most natural form possible. Build your diet around lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lean proteins and whole grains.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
1. Natural Products Foundation: Bromelain
2. Natural Products Foundation: Vitamin E